How IBM Is Cracking the Millennial Code

By Samantha Klein

Sam KleinIf there’s anything I’ve learned from watching the news, reading blogs, attending conferences, and speaking to other individuals over the last few years, it’s that everyone is trying to crack the millennial code.

Prepare yourself for a shock: a company’s millennial employees are its most valuable and accessible asset when it comes to successfully capturing the hearts, minds, and, yes, even the wallets, of the millennial generation.

Senior leaders at IBM uncovered this secret a year and a half ago when they realized that no one knows what the millennial generation desires or responds to more than actual millennials. That realization catalyzed the creation of IBM’s Millennial Corps.

Couple of years back, myself and three other colleagues made an attempt to find out the factors that are important to engaging younger employees. This led to the formation of this strong and dynamic group of IBMers spread across the globe.

Millennials at FF2020
Image credit: Spencer Knapp (IBM Millennials at FF2020)

In an article on Fastcompany.com called “These Millennials have become the top decision makers at IBM”, author Cale Guthrie Weissman wrote, “The Millennial Corps is IBM’s first and only community of millennial and millennial-minded employees dedicated to short-term, iterative, collaborative processes that drive real business value.”

As the newest innovators and game-changers to enter the professional world, millennials play an essential role in every company’s future. IBM’s Millennial Corps community is a perfect platform for young professionals to communicate their forward-thinking ideas, feedback and suggestions to the people who can turn them into a reality.

With over 4,000 members in more than 60 countries and across all industries, Millennial Corps is an IBM channel for its own digital natives to spark innovation and provide feedback to senior leaders on company-wide topics such as recruitment, digitization, client experience, transformation, and partnership opportunities among others.

In the FastCompany.com interview, Matthew Graham, a UK-based technical consultant and one of the Millennial Corps ambassadors says of the experience, “We are a massive organization, and [Millennial Corps] gives us a way to feel connected.”

Joining the Millennial Corps is purely voluntary – IBM doesn’t require all employees under 30 years old to participate.

Most of the employees who join are interested in working on projects they are passionate about, and they are proud of the fact that their voices are heard by management, especially with most of them being fairly new to this large organization.

The group’s feedback has already made an impact on recent executive decisions, allowing the company to continuously innovate and stay relevant. An example of this is with IBM’s participation in this year’s Met Gala where it was the group who recommended that IBM Watson work with high end fashion brand Marchesa to design the gown worn by supermodel Karolina Kurkova.

Millenials IBM

Through Millennial Corps, IBM millennials and millennial-minded individuals are able to connect with like-minded IBMers across the world, providing senior leaders with their feedback, ideas and opinions, and contributing to key innovations outside of their “day job” for IBM’s marketing, hiring, and overall business-building efforts.

Listen up, marketers, human resource professionals, brands and organizations throughout the world! When it comes to cracking the millennial code it all comes down to one popular saying – it’s time to start hearing it “Straight from the horse’s mouth!”


Samantha is a Next Generation Intrapreneur at IBM.

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2 thoughts

  1. Thank you Barry!!! No you do not have to be under 30 years to be part of the Millennial Corps. It’s all about interest and a passion to be involved with millennials and millennial minded employees.

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