It’s no secret that the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers in the restoration industry have a lot to say about Millennials in the workforce. Some might even say that a generation war exists between Millennials and previous generations. We’ve called the younger generation everything from lazy and self-focused, while they have been said to believe we’re out-of-touching with technology and the evolving workplace culture. It doesn’t matter if truth exists behind these stereotypes, perpetuating the popular ideas about the Millennial generation only puts up walls that limit our growth in the water damage industry.
Successful leaders working in restoration must take a stand, committing to restoring the broken relationship that exists between older and younger generations. For the sake of your company’s success and the future growth of the industry, welcoming Millennials into your workplace and training them to grow and develop their skills within water damage restoration should be a top priority in your workplace in 2017.
We Need Each Other
The truth is, the younger and older generations need each other and the conflict between us is doing nothing for the growth of the water damage industry. The younger generation has long been pushed towards four year degrees as the only option for personal success, but time has shown otherwise. Now, millennials are seeing the value of working in skilled industries, realizing that college isn’t for everyone, especially with the rising cost of college tuition, and seeing the potential for a rewarding career in the water damage restoration industry.
Let’s be honest, it isn’t only millennials who need us, we need them as well. A natural consequence of encouraging a formal, four-year education on the younger generation has created a high demand for semiskilled workers in a number of industries. Millennials are ready to move where the jobs are and it is our job to welcome them with open arms. Additionally, for the sake of the future of our industry, we should be placing a high priority on developing young leaders who help the industry evolve as technology advances.
4 Steps to Creating a Millennial-Friendly Workplace
No one expects for you to take on a complete renovation of your business model to attract millennials, but you should be looking for small changes you can adopt to create a workplace that will feel welcome to younger generations. Here are a few ideas for small changes you can make that will make a big impact.
- Offer formal training or apprenticeships. If more millennials are moving into semi skilled industries, it makes sense that formal training is in high demand. Consider creating an apprenticeship position within your business with the opportunity for growth into a full-time position once training has been completed.
- Respect desire for work-life balance. The younger generation places a high priority on work-life balance, so much so that they are willing to sacrifice career advancement in order to maintain the balance they crave. Of course, the water damage industry is an emergency business, making balance difficult to accomplish. Still, there are ways you can respect your employee’s desire for stronger lines between work and life. Create rotating call schedules for nights, weekends and holidays so that on-call hours are evenly dispersed between all employees. Offer paid half-days during the slow seasons that follow long work weeks. Work hand-in-hand with employees to schedule vacations around their desires as well as business demands.
- Do good. Millennials place a high value on altruism and a feeling of purpose within the workplace. They are looking for more than a paycheck, they want the work they do to make a difference in the world. Follow their lead and make a habit of being a part of bigger causes. From holiday clothes and food drives to volunteering your skills for non-profit organizations, everyone in your company should be expected to get on board with community service in the coming year.
- Embrace Technology. Using technology within your workplace is no longer optional. In order to take full advantage of the benefits technology provides, restoration companies must make technology a part of their daily routine. Use emails or texts to communicate important information to employees and encourage employees to engage in your company’s social media campaigns.
How to Recruit Millennials
Before you can make your workplace more millennial-friendly, you have to get them in the door, right? This generation is a digital generation, meaning they are primarily searching for their next job online.
Leaders responsible for hiring in your company should be asked to keep an active and up-to-date LinkedIn profile. This career oriented social media page is the perfect way to start connecting with Millennials looking for work in the restoration industry. You can also post jobs on SimplyHired, Indeed and CareerBuilder, the most popular search engines for job postings. Use your business’ Facebook page to share these job postings to reach a wider audience.
Offer your employees an incentive for referring their friends. The internet may be the most widely used way to recruit new employees, but nothing can replace word-of-mouth.
Adding Millennials to your team maybe be different than what you are accustomed to, but in the this case, different is a good thing. Remember, in order to succeed in a competitive marketplace, your business should be well-rounded, employing individuals who bring a unique skillset to the table. So stop complaining and starting seeing Millennials for who they truly are — a valuable asset to your team.