Where can you find your business’s Brienne of Tarth?

Closer to home than Westeros

Wouldn’t it be great if all of your employees could be like Lady Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones? Loyal to the extreme. Willing to fight any battle to defend you. Always there, always reliable. Honest. Old School. Ready to do whatever is needed to protect your honor.

In a world of deceit, dishonor, changing loyalties, violence and cruelty, Brienne of Tarth is one of the few genuine good people on Game of Thrones. From her initial oath sworn to Lady Stark to her most recent rescue of Sansa Stark, Lady Brienne has never wavered from her commitment.

What a great employee she’d be!


Where can you find a Brienne of Tarth for your business?

She’s out there. It’s not all fantasy. Yes, even you can find her. Not the Lady Brienne in a knight’s costume with sword in hand — but a lady (or sir) who can be almost as loyal. And hardworking. And reliable. Even in 2016.

How? Just pay attention to what your employees really need. That need has changed, and smart employers are stepping up.

A recent survey reported here found that most millennials (who represent about half of today’s workforce) would prefer more flexibility over higher compensation. This is a new generation of Lady Briennes. A generation that has grown up online, flooded with information, raised by dual-working parents and exposed to more independence than any cohort before them.

Millennials form a new generation of Lady Briennes.


Today’s 18- to 34-year-olds in America have never lived through a depression or a world war. Most have never seen widespread disease or hunger. But they have their own challenges. They are burdened with increased expectations, greater scrutiny from society, and heavy amounts of debt. It is no easier being a 28-year-old in 2016 than it was in 1916.

And like every generation before them, millennials want something more. It’s no longer just money. It’s a life. Millennials want a better work-life existence.

They want to work from home when desired. Or to take off to coach Little League without being questioned. Or a chance to move around the office at will without being chained to a desk. They want the opportunity to not only work for a fair company, but to do some good for the community on behalf of that company. They want time off to spend with family, and the flexibility to work on a project at 1 a.m. and to take on interesting new challenges. They want to work out at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday to relieve stress and clear the mind.

Millennials want an employer who judges them by the timeliness and quality of the work they deliver and doesn’t question when or how it gets done. They want the freedom to be entrepreneurial with the comfort of having a job.

Good employers recognize these needs

The best employers understand that the workforce is changing and that to attract the best and the brightest, they have to adapt. They’re adopting work-from-home policies, increasing paid time off, and creating programs where employees are paid to volunteer for good causes.

They’re investing in technologies and cloud-based systems so their employees can communicate and collaborate no matter where they are and when they’re needed. They’re responding to their employees’ desire to be more flexible. And because of these actions, they’re able to attract better people to their organizations.

I think it’s safe to say that few employees will ever be as loyal and dedicated as Lady Brienne of Tarth — but the Lady Briennes are out there. They will be loyal and dedicated to you and your business. Today’s Lady Briennes are both men and women who want balance — and the employers who recognize that will be the ones who will find the best and most loyal people in Westeros … or West Virginia for that matter!

Gene Marks
Gene Marks writes a daily column for the Washington Post on business and public policy. He also writes weekly for Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc. Magazine, and periodically for The Huffington Post and Foxbusiness.com. Gene also regularly appears on Fox News, MSNBC, Sirius XM Radio and ABC radio. His work reaches hundreds of thousands of business owners and executives each week. Gene is a Certified Public Accountant and runs the Marks Group PC - a 10-person technology and management consulting firm located near Philadelphia. He spent nine years with the international firm KPMG, most recently as Senior Manager. Gene speaks frequently to business groups so they can better understand the trends affecting their businesses and - most importantly - the actions they should take to continue to grow and profit. http://www.genemarks.com/