NFL Leads the Way in Working with Millennials


The San Francisco 49ers get it.

The average age of players last year was 25.2 years old. This means the locker room is filled with Millennials. To learn how to relate to this group and talk their language, the team consulted with university professors, advertisers and researchers to adapt to the Millennial way of working.

First up was shortening meetings from at least 2 hours to 30 minute segments with a 10 minute break. Not only does this help with focus and attention spans, it gives players a chance to check their phone and all their social media updates.

Recognizing Millennials get all their information from their phone and other mobile devices, the team enhanced their digital playbook by adding video clips next to existing drawings, and making practice tapes available to players to download to any device for review before a meeting.

The biggest challenge for all the coaches, based on their new understanding, is how fast you need to get to the point. With some attention spans as short as 8 seconds, there isn’t much time to cut to the chase. This means adapting new ways of teaching and coaching.

The NFL knows it needs to focus its style and coaching delivery to how its players will respond best. According to a recent PEW report, more than 1 in 3 employees are Millennials, and this year, Millennials outnumber Generation X, comprising the largest segment of the American workforce.

With this overwhelming infiltration of a changing workforce, it’s time to listen to their needs and make adjustments in how we work and do business.

Shorter meetings will benefit everyone. With as little as 8 seconds to grab someone’s interest and attention, a more targeted and direct presentation will shorten meetings, and a little down time may make attendees more likely to interact, having time to regroup and process new information.

Finally, what better way is there to reinforce the message of any meeting? Make it immediately available on mobile devices in short bite size chunks that can be checked during the 10 minute break.

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