Fully staff your company even during times of low unemployment.
In this age of low unemployment and “hard to find good people”, millennials play a bigger part in the hiring plan than you might expect. The work pool is smaller than the boomer force to begin with and competition for high performing employees even more so. So what does it take to engage the next generations?
Few millennials have had the experience of the “Greatest Generation” stories. These are the stories of WWII, their return to families and work and their experience in surviving the Great Depression as children. Their work/life ethic was to give the company their all, feed their family, worship God and draw a pension.
They were great people and times changed and the cultural revolution of the 60’s and 70’s happened beyond them. Most were not able to understand it; Vietnam was not WWII and life changed dramatically.
Enter the Boomers, the offspring of that Greatest Generation. This generation had revolted against the norms of their parents. The struggle between the generations levelled off as the boomers grew up and entered the workforce. The gap was still evident as companies began taking away pensions, disregarded work/life balance and as a result of multiple recessions, cut or did not increase paychecks. Inflation took its toll.
The millennials are creating their own work ethic. They enter the workforce with instability in health insurance programs, high student loans, work/life balance and low unemployment with companies throwing money at them to get them in the door.
In The Psychology of Business, Culture is the New Salary, Tammy Stone explains that social needs play a greater part than money. Work/life balance, family and co-worker compatibility is of utmost desirability.
Money definitely comes in a close second. But as she points out, money will get the employee hired but won’t necessarily keep her or him there.
Flexible schedules are important to millennials as they grow families and choose to support them by both parents. Not every company can easily afford to do this, but work-arounds and negotiating schedules can be created.
Small businesses must develop plans to be able to offer as much as possible to millennials as they will be the mature workforce of the next 20-30 years.
Some business owners, CEO’s or General Managers may feel uncomfortable administering changes such as these. An experienced consultant can guide you through it. Just don’t ignore it.
The best place to start is with the workforce. Create a culture of acceptance, loyalty, trust and flexibility. Have work sessions that outline the opportunities and obstacles of working towards work/life balance and other millennial needs. Express your concerns, fears and joyful moments with them. Involve multi-generation employees in the development. Set goals, timelines and deadlines for making things happen. Celebrate what works, and dismiss without judgment what doesn’t.
A recent search ad for a college teacher listed the usual job description, requirements and peripheral needs. But what they added to attract couples were other colleges in the area that were possibilities for a spouse to work at if positions weren’t available at their college. It is these ideas that produce results from a wider selection of qualifieds.
Paul Beaudette is a Maine business consultant serving small businesses with leading strategies to stabilize a business through sound financial practices, progressive staff management and leadership principles that promote company growth.