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The 5 Things Millennials Want From Their Employers

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Millennials are now the largest segment of the workforce (by 2025, they will comprise 44 percent of workers globally); and yet, they’re largely unsatisfied at work. The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016 (this is Deloitte’s fifth time conducting such a survey) found that 66 percent of Millennial workers plan to leave their current employers in the next five years—with 44 percent of those planning an exit in just two.

In order to convince this generation to stick around, employers need to figure out what it is their young employees are after—and what they, as employers, can do to make the workplace more attractive. Here’s what Deloitte found this rising class is looking for.

1. TO FEEL NURTURED AND HAVE LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

According to Deloitte, more than six out of 10 Millennials believe their “leadership skills are not being fully developed.” And 71 percent of the Millennials who plan to leave their current jobs in less than two years reported that they are “unhappy with how their leadership skills are being developed.” And if growth doesn’t seem possible, why would—and why should—they stick around? Deloitte’s research supports the idea that supporting leadership ambitions fosters loyalty. 

2. FOR THEIR EMPLOYERS TO SHARE THEIR VALUES

When asked to state the main factors that drive their decision-making at work, Millennials ranked “my personal values/morals” as number one. And globally, 61 percent of Senior Millennials (defined as heads of department and above) have “chosen not to undertake a task at work because it went against their personal values." Therefore, it makes sense that Millennials will consider a company’s mission when deciding whether it’s a good fit—half of Junior Millennials (graduates and those in junior positions) and 65 percent of Senior Millennials said “purpose was part of the reason they chose to work at their company.”

3. FOR THEIR EMPLOYERS TO HAVE A VISION AND POSITIVE IMPACT

A whopping 87 percent of Millennials reported believing that “the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just financial importance.” In plain English terms, they want their employers to care about more than just their bottom line. 

Rather than seeking personal fame or a high social media profile, Millennials want to make their business—and the world—better. Nearly three quarters of Millennials believe “business has a positive impact on wider society,” and over 80 percent “would like to/already have made a positive difference in the world they live in.”

4. FOR PEOPLE TO COME BEFORE PROFIT.

Millennials in leadership positions are interested in rejiggering their companies’ priorities in order to put employees’ needs and happiness first, Deloitte’s survey found. These Millennial managers would like to focus on “being the best possible place to work” and “providing a good income to employees.” 

However, Millennials aren’t naive—they know profit is vital to a successful business. However, “profit” is just one of the four Ps that comprise a “leading organization.” Companies must also invest in people (defined as employees as well as wider society), products, and purpose.

5. MORE THAN JUST A GOOD SALARY

It’s true that pay and financial benefits are Millennials’ first—and most important—consideration when evaluating a job offer. However, when presented with offers that boast similar compensation packages, Millennials consider factors such as a good work-life balance, leadership opportunities, and flexible working conditions as much more important than the reputation of its leaders or whether the company invests in and uses the latest technology.

All images courtesy of iStock

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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
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Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
May 21, 2017
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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva

Jacques Mattheij made a small, but awesome, mistake. He went on eBay one evening and bid on a bunch of bulk LEGO brick auctions, then went to sleep. Upon waking, he discovered that he was the high bidder on many, and was now the proud owner of two tons of LEGO bricks. (This is about 4400 pounds.) He wrote, "[L]esson 1: if you win almost all bids you are bidding too high."

Mattheij had noticed that bulk, unsorted bricks sell for something like €10/kilogram, whereas sets are roughly €40/kg and rare parts go for up to €100/kg. Much of the value of the bricks is in their sorting. If he could reduce the entropy of these bins of unsorted bricks, he could make a tidy profit. While many people do this work by hand, the problem is enormous—just the kind of challenge for a computer. Mattheij writes:

There are 38000+ shapes and there are 100+ possible shades of color (you can roughly tell how old someone is by asking them what lego colors they remember from their youth).

In the following months, Mattheij built a proof-of-concept sorting system using, of course, LEGO. He broke the problem down into a series of sub-problems (including "feeding LEGO reliably from a hopper is surprisingly hard," one of those facts of nature that will stymie even the best system design). After tinkering with the prototype at length, he expanded the system to a surprisingly complex system of conveyer belts (powered by a home treadmill), various pieces of cabinetry, and "copious quantities of crazy glue."

Here's a video showing the current system running at low speed:

The key part of the system was running the bricks past a camera paired with a computer running a neural net-based image classifier. That allows the computer (when sufficiently trained on brick images) to recognize bricks and thus categorize them by color, shape, or other parameters. Remember that as bricks pass by, they can be in any orientation, can be dirty, can even be stuck to other pieces. So having a flexible software system is key to recognizing—in a fraction of a second—what a given brick is, in order to sort it out. When a match is found, a jet of compressed air pops the piece off the conveyer belt and into a waiting bin.

After much experimentation, Mattheij rewrote the software (several times in fact) to accomplish a variety of basic tasks. At its core, the system takes images from a webcam and feeds them to a neural network to do the classification. Of course, the neural net needs to be "trained" by showing it lots of images, and telling it what those images represent. Mattheij's breakthrough was allowing the machine to effectively train itself, with guidance: Running pieces through allows the system to take its own photos, make a guess, and build on that guess. As long as Mattheij corrects the incorrect guesses, he ends up with a decent (and self-reinforcing) corpus of training data. As the machine continues running, it can rack up more training, allowing it to recognize a broad variety of pieces on the fly.

Here's another video, focusing on how the pieces move on conveyer belts (running at slow speed so puny humans can follow). You can also see the air jets in action:

In an email interview, Mattheij told Mental Floss that the system currently sorts LEGO bricks into more than 50 categories. It can also be run in a color-sorting mode to bin the parts across 12 color groups. (Thus at present you'd likely do a two-pass sort on the bricks: once for shape, then a separate pass for color.) He continues to refine the system, with a focus on making its recognition abilities faster. At some point down the line, he plans to make the software portion open source. You're on your own as far as building conveyer belts, bins, and so forth.

Check out Mattheij's writeup in two parts for more information. It starts with an overview of the story, followed up with a deep dive on the software. He's also tweeting about the project (among other things). And if you look around a bit, you'll find bulk LEGO brick auctions online—it's definitely a thing!

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Opening Ceremony
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These $425 Jeans Can Turn Into Jorts
May 19, 2017
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Opening Ceremony

Modular clothing used to consist of something simple, like a reversible jacket. Today, it’s a $425 pair of detachable jeans.

Apparel retailer Opening Ceremony recently debuted a pair of “2 in 1 Y/Project” trousers that look fairly peculiar. The legs are held to the crotch by a pair of loops, creating a disjointed C-3PO effect. Undo the loops and you can now remove the legs entirely, leaving a pair of jean shorts in their wake. The result goes from this:

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Opening Ceremony

To this:

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Opening Ceremony

The company also offers a slightly different cut with button tabs in black for $460. If these aren’t audacious enough for you, the Y/Project line includes jumpsuits with removable legs and garter-equipped jeans.

[h/t Mashable]

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