Do you know what a “Minion” is? And I don’t mean the scary henchmen/women that do evil. I’m talking about the cute animated creatures from Universal Studios that make us laugh so hard at their ridiculous shenanigans.

According to Box Office Mojo, everyone loves Minions. These adorable guys debuted in the 2009 movie “Despicable Me,” which earned over $543 million worldwide. The 2013 sequel earned nearly $1 billion, and the latest movie “Minions,” released in July 2015, has already earned over $645 million worldwide.

These are impressive numbers; however, this is not a box-office report but rather a look at the popularity of these tiny yellow fellows. In the film, the Minions look like Hostess Twinkies with 2 arms, 3 fingers, and 2 legs. They wear overalls, black work boots, and sometimes goggles. Some minions have one eye, while others have two. They speak a form of jibberish known as Minions, which is comprised of several broken languages. Although you can’t understand much of what they say, the Minions are somehow totally understandable.

While watching one of the movies, I began to analyze the Minions. I looked at their movements, actions, reactions, and characteristics. As I did, my management side began to take over. Those of us who are managers and human-resource professionals have many things we can learn from Minions.

Here are several important work lessons from the Minions:

  1. Minions love teamwork. From cleaning the lab to capturing the moon, the Minions love working as a team. They are close to and look out for one another. They tease each other and get into squabbles, but they stick together. These workers love teamwork; just because they may have a disagreement doesn’t mean they can’t get along or even become friends.
  2. Minions want to work for a winner. According to the story, the Minions have been around for millions of years. They never get old or die, but that’s not the big lesson here. They may have worked for several “villains” throughout history, simply because they want to work for someone successful. Don’t we all?
  3. Pay attention to Minions. Like any group of employees, Minions need to be monitored carefully. Of course, the Minions may seem hard to understand at first, but if you watch them carefully, their body language indicates when they are excited about a job or even when they may feel disappointed in their leader. This encourages us to read our employees’ non-verbal clues, body language, and behavior.
  4. Minions are loyal. It takes a lot for them to leave their leader, and usually they don’t. They will do anything you ask of them, even if they may not believe in it fully. Sometimes, our employees will follow our direction even if they don’t quite “get it.” This loyalty can be valuable.
  5. Minions need to have fun. These little guys may love to play pranks and wreak havoc, but they also get the job done. Sometimes, it’s okay to let workers have some fun at work, as long as no one gets hurt and the job is finished correctly.

Disclaimer: Please do not refer to your real employees as “Minions,” as this may have a negative connotation. You don’t want to offend someone accidentally and end up in a real courtroom.

Chris Fields

Chris Fields is an HR professional and expert resume writer with more than 13 years of experience as a former practitioner and current HR consultant. He is the curator of two websites: CostofWork.com and ResumeCrusade.com , and contributes HR-focused content to many others, including PerformanceICreate.com and SmartRecruiters.com . He has been listed by the Huffington Post as one of the “Top 100 Most Social Human Resources Experts to Follow on Twitter”, one of the “Top 40 under 40” by the HR Blogger Network, one of the “25 Must-Read HR Blogs in 2013”, and also featured on Oprah.com. He is very active with the Society of Human Resource Management, working closely with conference directors, communication chairs, and social media teams from Illinois, Oklahoma, and Tennessee to develop social strategies to engage attendees and enhance their conference experience. Chris earned his master’s degree in Labor and Human Resources from Ohio State University. In 2005, he moved back to his hometown of Memphis, TN, where he has developed a reputation for helping his clients create HR strategies, and individuals master the tough economic challenges of the South.

3 Comments

  • Avatar Laura S. says:

    I like the point about the Minionese language, which is not understandable for us. It made me think that every team in fact has a language of its own that is peculiar only to its members. Friendly or not, if a group of people share their own language, they are a team.

  • Avatar Cindy L. says:

    These minions are an exaggerated version of the company loyalists – they never leave, even if things get really bad and they know their leader is a bad guy. I think every leader dreams of such followers who are loyal and hard-working but not demanding. But do you really need a workforce that always obeys and never doubts your decisions?

  • Avatar Michelle Sandler says:

    Fantastic coincidences! There is really so much in common between us and them. This article made me think that we always take our jobs too seriously and never learn from fictional figures, although we should.

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