Gregg Rennie
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Many businesses are experiencing difficulties getting enough of the “right people “. Whether they be high tech positions or people to work in your retail store. Sound familiar? This article started as a response to an article “Manufacturing’s Youth Problem”, Industry Week July 24, 2015. But the “youth problem” isn’t confined to manufacturing and it isn’t necessarily a youth problem. I find it interesting the number of times in the last couple of weeks that the term “millennials” entered a conversation I was having. Here are some thoughts.

The discussion about #millennials generally starts with a complaint that you can’t get kids these days to do “anything.” They won’t make phone calls to customers, they are engrossed in their technology, they are “lazy”, etc. It is true that they are different, maybe in some cases more different than their previous generation because of all the change in the world. But they can be great workers if you use their talents. As the “silver tsunami” approaches they are the only people we have so let’s figure out how to better use them.

One thing I find interesting about the discussions is forgetting that as millennials get older they not only are your only choice for new workers BUT they are also becoming a larger part of your customer base. In a discussion I had the other day with a very successful business development person, who was commenting on the (un)willingness of millennials to make phone calls I suggested that maybe it wasn’t a problem with employees not following process but maybe the process needed to change. I reminded him that as his customer base becomes younger maybe THEY don’t like to take phone calls either.

And how many business owners are there today who don’t keep up with social media and online marketing? How about your business? We are quickly reaching a point when online shopping will surpass brick and mortar, but even when people actually go to an establishment to buy something it is almost always preceded by an internet search. Guess what your millennials are really good at? Use them, not only will you get a great product but you’ll also engage them and make them dedicated employees.

Here are a few thoughts on making the best of your employees no matter what generation they’re from:

1. Make sure you know WHAT the real duties of the job are (should be). This isn’t necessarily what they’ve always been! If you have employees doing the job or a similar job already, ask them about any changes that should be made.
2. Match the employee’s strengths and motivations to the job you have. Not the job you wish you had or the job they wish you had. DON’T FORCE FIT!
3. If you truly can’t find the exact right person for the job you have, consider changing the job a little to match a great candidate. This sounds counter intuitive but if the person and the job don’t match they’ll only stay as long as they need your paycheck.
4. The days of lifetime employees has pretty much passed. The U.S. DoL estimates that the average person coming out of school today will have 10 – 14 jobs … BY THE TIME THEY”RE 38! Make sure your jobs are designed for today’s workers.
5. Don’t expect all your people to have exactly the same job. People are different and you’ll get the most out of your folks and your business if you let them have some say in their job design and do what motivates them.

"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." – General George Patton

If you need help matching people to jobs, matching jobs to people, changing your processes to modernize them, understanding what motivates people, getting dedicated customers or just want to talk to someone about those darned millennials, give us a call at (203) 350-5047 or [email protected]. #mentorsguild