Thursday, 22 December 2016 21:02

How to Integrate Millennials Into the Workplace

Written by Victoria Antonelli

Mike Lanza, manager of business consulting services at Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes, led several Society of Collision Repair Specialist (SCRS) seminars during SEMA 2016.

With over 30 years of industry experience, Lanza was able to give attendees detailed insight on what millennials think, how they work, and why it matters to body shops.


He started his presentation off with a staggering statistic: in 2025, millennials--those born between 1980 and 2000--will make up 75 percent of the workforce.


Therefore, body shops (or any businesses for that matter) that want to remain productive in less than 10 years time need to learn how to smoothly integrate this new generation into their work environment.

According to Lanza's PowerPoint presentation:


-Millennials consider innovation a key purpose of business- just as important as profit
-78 percent of millennials feel innovation is essential for business growth
-71 percent believe business innovation improves society
-66 percent say innovation is a critical requirement in choosing a potential employer
-62 percent describe themselves as innovative


Lanza explained to attendees that more and more millennials are foregoing college for blue collar jobs, due to the following influences:


-Skyrocketing tuition costs
-Saturated career fields
-More opportunity within blue collar sector
-Higher paying jobs
-Apprentice programs


The General Social Survey, administered by the University of Chicago 40 years ago and continuing today, found that millennials identify with working class positions more than any other age group. In 2014, some 60 percent of millennials considered themselves to be working class. Half of all millennials with a bachelor's degree in 2014 identified as working or lower class as compared to just 26 percent of their counterparts in 1974.


While money has been the driving force of motivation in the past, millennials operate best under different incentives:

-95 percent of millennials work harder when contributing to a company mission
-89 percent of millennials desire fun & social work environments
-Only 15 percent of millennials think a high paying career is important


Lanza said he believes it is important for body shops to choose a strong mission and culture over salary if they want to engage and retain millennials for the long haul.


What do millennials want?


1. The ever-increasing value of intangible benefits-
They know what they're worth & they're going to get it
2. Flexible schedule/balance-
Don't want to be tied to a 9-5 job
3. Autonomy - Don't want to be micromanaged / want to be involved
4. Transparency - Don’t want to "go with the flow;" want to be "in the know"


Lanza provided the following 11 tips for managing millennials:


1. Provide structure

Employers can provide structure to millennials by ensuring that reports have monthly due dates, jobs have fairly regular hours, certain activities are scheduled every day, meetings have agendas and minutes, goals are clearly stated and progress is assessed, and assignments are defined as success factors.


2. Provide leadership and guidance
Millennials want to look up to you, learn from you, and receive daily feedback from you. They want "in" on the whole picture and to know the scoop. Plan to spend a lot of time teaching and coaching and be aware of this commitment to millennials when you hire them.


3. Encourage their self-assuredness
Millennials are ready to take on the world. Their parents told them they can do it--they can. Don’t squash them or contain them.


4. Comfortable working with teams
They are used to working in groups and teams in contrast to the "Lone Ranger" attitude of earlier generations. Millennials actually believe a team can accomplish more and better.


5. Listen to the millennial
Millennial employees are use to loving parents who have scheduled their lives around their children's activities and events. These young adults have ideas and opinions, and don’t take kindly to having their thoughts ignored.


6. They are up for the challenge and change
Boring is bad--they seek ever-changing tasks within their work. What's happening next is their mantra. Don’t bore them, ignore them, or trivialize their contribution.


7. Multi-taskers on a scale you’ve never seen
Multiple tasks don’t phase them. Many will talk on the phone while answering emails and multiple instant messages; this is a way of life.


8. Electronic literacy
The electronic capabilities of these employees are amazing. Use their abilities in social media.


9. Affinity for networking
Millennials like to network around the world electronically. They are able to post resumes electronically as well as on web job boards. They are loyal, but they keep they always keep their options open.


10. Life-work balanced workplace
Millennials are use to cramming their lives with multiple activities. They may play on sports teams, walk for multiple causes, and spend lots of time with family and friends.


11. Provide a fun, employee-centered workplace
Millennials want to enjoy their work, enjoy their workplace, and make friends in their workplace. Help your long-term employees make room for the millennials.


Next, Lanza discussed the best ways for employers to find and retain employees who perform with excellence, have a good skill set, and who are also reliable and trainable.


He said employers need to mentor and motivate their new hires, as well as seasoned employees, by setting standards and managing them in the most profitable way.


Interviewing and Hiring for Success

Step 1: Forecast Needs
Accurately forecast short and long term needs

Step 2: Source Potential Candidates
Identify potential sources for employee talent
Work closely with sources to maximize productivity

Step 3: Plan for the Interview
Formulate questions, review background information, and create the interview plan

Step 4: Conduct Interview
Ask questions to collect appropriate behavioral information on candidates in order to make a more informed decision

Step 5: Market the Company/Opportunity
Paint a positive and accurate picture of job responsibilities, career path, and employee benefits

Step 6: Assess Candidate Information
Objectively analyze data collected on a candidate to detect trends, strengths, and/or weaknesses

Step 7: Hire the Right Candidate
Use clear decision criteria and evaluate candidates against criteria
Don’t compromise on candidate quality or fit


Lanza then shared with attendees the following methods for recruiting employees more efficiently:

-Personal contacts
-Employee referral
-Industry contacts
-Tech school recruiting
-Insurance companies
-State/local agencies
-Industry periodicals
-Internet / Social media
-Local advertisements
-Review resumes and applications
-Review work history
-Compare candidates qualifications to job description


Once a shop has hired a new employee, Lanza suggests the following methods for integrating him or her into the collision repair facility:
-Complete training plan
-Training dates
-Develop 30, 60, 90 day itinerary
-Use a tool such as a new-hire checklist to ensure all necessary information is provided/arranged


1. For customer service rep: design and implement customer communication plan by end of year 2016

2. For technician: identify system restraints in your department- develop correction plan and submit report to management by year end 2016

3. For production manager: identify sources of rework in production and implement a redo production program by year end 2016


To learn more, contact Mike Lanza at Michael.lanza@sherwin.com or visit www.sherwin-automotive.com/swahome.

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