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In October of 2017 MDM dug deep into what it takes to attract, hire and retain millennial employees. These insights remain true today. MDM editors also examined the strategic decision by Atlanta, GA-based U.S. LUMBER to focus recruiting and development efforts on the millennial generation after the Great Recession.
With generation Z now entering the recruitment pool, understanding the next generation of employees is more crucial than ever. Based on MDM’s research over the last few years, we are sharing some of our top tips and insights for what to focus on when trying to engage a younger work force.
Invest in Technology
Investing in technology is a tried and true method to attract younger workers, even those outside the world of distribution. A.J. Nahmad, president, Watsco Inc., Miami, FL, recommended investing in everything from business intelligence to analytics to mobile apps to Internet of Things applications as an especially effective tool for recruiting millennials.
“We have people that grew up in the startup world,” Nahmad says. “We have software developers, UI/UX designers, entrepreneurs who never in their wildest dreams thought they would work for an air conditioning distributor, and now they can’t wait to get back to work and produce and have a lot of fun working for this company because of the technology that we’re investing in.”
Relax (Some of) Your HR Policies
What millennials and Gen Z value may be very different from what their Boomer colleagues value.Millennials tend to be more comfortable with a flexible schedule than their more seasoned counterparts, which means the traditional 8 to 5 workday with lunch at noon is less appealing to them. They still want to put in the work needed, but they have different ideas of how a day – or week – at the office is structured.
“How long we spend on a task isn’t a measure of how well we’re doing our jobs,” says Megan Burke, 33, manager of communications, training and onboarding for building materials distributor U.S. LUMBER. “Millennials value efficiency in how they do things and that may mean things are done differently than in the past.”
Companies must also review their compensation plans and benefits package, according to Nancye Combs, president and CEO of HR Enterprise, a human resources consulting firm in Louisville, KY. She recommends replacing your standard benefits package with a benefits “buffet” that includes options for health insurance, paid time off and even flexible work hours.
Define Career Development Paths for Employees
In today’s competitive work force creating a career pathway for younger candidates is becoming table stakes for companies – especially independent distributors.
“It could be as simple as, ‘You hit these barriers, here is your next opportunity,’” Thompson says. “It’s one thing to say there’s opportunity for career growth, it’s another to be able to show somebody the path, especially if you have someone in the organization that’s already taken that path.”
But that doesn’t have to mean bestowing an elaborate title upon new hires, according to Jeff McClendon, president and CEO, U.S. LUMBER. “Millennials want to do more. They’re natural multitaskers. So when they ask to do more, don’t assume they want a promotion,” he says. “Just give them more to do.”
The above tips appeared in the following two MDM Premium articles. Read more about attracting younger workers in 10 Tips to Successfully Recruit Millennials and dig deeper into one distributor’s success at hiring the next generation in Millennials in Distribution: ‘No Magic’ in US LUMBER’s Strategy.