During the NACE CARS Expo & Conference, Mark Claypool discussed how to attract and retain this new generation of employees.
Claypool, the owner of Optima Automotive, said there are certain negative connotations often associated with millennials; however, according to a Time Magazine article from May 2013, they are also known to be open-minded, exude confidence and are open to new ideas.
His advice to attendees was not to let the stereotypes steer you away from hiring millennials in your collision repair shop. Instead, he recommends getting to know and understand this generation because they are the employees of the future.
As the first generation with computer and iPads, millennials were raised very differently than Baby Boomers. “They view the world through a digital lens,” said Claypool. “Their attention is fragmented between their phones, tablets and wearable devices.”
He said that perceived corporate greed or being in business just for profit doesn’t appeal to this age group. Many watched their parents and others work hard, and then lose everything through bankruptcy and foreclosures. “Work is not life to them,” said Claypool. “Why would Millennials want to follow in those footsteps?”
As a result, he stressed the importance of looking at ways to engage Millennials.
“You cannot approach employees the same way as you always have,” said Claypool. “They don’t view business the same way you likely do.”
Claypool said there are certain characteristics Millennials are known to have such as preferring to work in teams, enjoying a challenge and a work-life balance. They seem to look at work as a place to go and earn a living, but prefer not to work extra hours. They might even try to dictate the days and times they work.
Here are some recommendations Claypool offered on how to attract and retain Millennials:
1) Provide frequent feedback
Let them know what they are doing well and play close attention to how you express what they need improvement on. “Millennials, who have played thousands of hours of video games, always know their health status during the game,” said Claypool. Rather than an annual review, millennials prefer praise when it is earned and constant feedback, so they always know where they stand.
2) Explain why
Millennials like to understand why and how tasks are done. Compile a checklist of things that need to get accomplished and then empower them to get the job done!
3) Match with a mentor
Find a mentor who can train millennials. Consider pairing more than one millennial with a mentor, which is often found to be effective.
4) Offer a career path
Similar to a video game, millennials are known to enjoy moving up from one level to the next. Give them opportunities to take on a leadership role while they continue to learn and develop their skills.
5) Share your mission
According to industry reports, 90 percent want to use their skills and talents to better an organization. Talk to millennials about your vision and how your business helps the lives of others.
6) Make health and safety a priority
Consider offering flexible work hours each week for your employees. Set up in-house gym equipment and a variety of games, such as a ping pong table, for break times. “More frequent breaks will make more productive Millennials,” said Claypool.
7) Incorporate community outreach
Claypool said 75 percent feel it is either fairly or very important that a business gives back to their community in some way. Set up an ongoing company-wide community outreach campaign and ask Millennials to help identify causes and plan activities. Consider offering them paid volunteer days to reward them for their dedication.
By taking the time to learn about Millennials, it will help your collision repair shop become more productive and profitable. “Millennials are taking over,” said Claypool. It’s up to you to make this transition smooth.”
In closing, he asked attendees: “Are you up to the challenge? If not, someone else will be.”
Mark Claypool, owner of Optima Automotive