Recently I was reading an article on Inc.com, which you can find here; http://www.inc.com/mayra-jimenez/whats-wrong-with-millennial-employees.html about how employees under the age of the 30 have a lack of motivation, sense of responsibility and feel an inherent right to well paying positions. The author would lead you to believe that there is a systematic fault with any employee who falls in this age group – going on to say that she does not want to make any broad generalizations, although that is exactly what she has done. As a member of this group commonly referred to as millennials, I of course felt that her article was narrow sighted and mostly that she is making an excuse for poor hiring practices, is not appropriately training new hires and has created an organizational structure that does not encourage collaboration.
Ski Butlers is a company comprised almost wholly of Team Members who would be considered millennials. Ski Butlers is also a company who year over year wins several service awards, including the US Chamber Small Business of the Year Award for the Western Region most recently. This got me thinking, why is it that the author of the article has had such a different experience than I have when it comes to working with Team Members under the age of 30? I’ve identified three key areas that are necessary in the successful development of any new Team Member, regardless of their age.
Better Hiring Practices – From the first interaction every candidate for an open position with your organization should know exactly what to expect when coming to work for you. This goes beyond them understanding their daily job responsibility – I would argue this is actually not of great importance. They need to understand that culture you have established and in a less tangible way what is going to be expected of them. Yeah, maybe their daily, weekly or yearly responsibilities will be X, Y and Z but more importantly they need to understand that your organization encourages people to work autonomously, be extremely self-motivated and have an entrepreneurial mindset and if they do not have the ability to do these things than they are not going to be the right fit.
Similarly, they need to appreciate and believe in the mission of your organization – especially if they are put in a leadership position. Articulate your mission from the first interview and let them decide if it is something they believe in. Continue to stress your mission and core values through the entire vetting process. You do not want to hire someone who is apathetic about your company goals no matter how impressive their resume or interviewing skills are.
Better Training/Orientation Practices – Of course every new hire needs to be well prepped for their daily job functions, processes and procedures but often times this can be boring and cause a someone to lose interest in the organization from the beginning. Instead focus on showcasing your company culture from their first day on the job and continue to do so through their orientation so when they begin performing their job they will have a better idea of what is expected of them day in and day out. This will also help them understand how to interact with your customers and other Team Members creating a more seamless transition into their new position. At Ski Butlers we like to have bowling or ping pong tournaments within the first week of bringing on a new group of Team Members so as to create a welcoming and FUN environment for a large group of people who may have never met before. When someone truly enjoys coming to work every day they will be much more successful in their position and turnover will be greatly reduced. Think of the old adage, “Happy employees lead to happy customers.”
Encourage collaboration throughout the various levels of your organizational structure – Allowing entry level Team Members to work closely with management is mutually beneficial. Entry level people will feel more comfortable reaching out if they notice a problem or feel something could be done better and in turn management will never lose sight of what is taking place on the front line – where your company is actually interacting with your customer. We do our best to discourage hierarchies and ineffectiveness when it comes to front line Team Members being able to reach out to “upper management.” I like to think of our organizational structure as being flat where the responsibilities of the President, owners, officers, managers and front line Team Members are no more or less important than anyone else’s. We are all equal members of the team working toward the same end and if someone needs help reaching a goal or completing a project they can be sure that they will receive it. I love seeing our President and Founder, Bryn Carey tuning ski equipment or cleaning vans – which he does frequently.
The point of this is to say that if people are not working out than you cannot simply blame that person or especially an entire generation. You need to put a larger emphasis on the intangibles that make your company a great place to work and create an environment that allows all Team Members to reach their potential. If you are able to do this than people who do not want to be there will weed themselves out and you will be left with a highly motivated and dedicated staff that is all working toward the same goal.