Getting veteran employees to transfer knowledge to newcomers can be a challenge, but a company's leadership can ensure this happens by building that expectation into the culture, according to Kevin Parsley, vice president and sales director, ACR Supply, in our first case study on Millennials in Distribution, Culture Trumps Everything.
At Durham, NC-based ACR, where nearly half of its employees are millennials, Parsley is charged with ensuring that the "old" guys teach the "young" guys everything they know without fear of getting pushed out of their job before they're ready to retire.
This process is especially critical for an industry dominated by baby boomers but with Gen Xers and millennials preparing to take over.
"The millennials have the desire to be better and they want to learn the business, and we can surely find ways to teach them the business," Parsley says. "That's where the old guys come in. We do a lot of coaching and mentoring."
ACR's leadership made some big decisions around culture 20 years ago when they asked themselves "What does the future look like, and how are we going to get there?" President Troy Meachum says. A critical component of the new and improved ACR culture was the expectation that veterans will train younger employees.
That attitude has been passed down to millennials such as Corey Salyards, ACR's business unit leader (aka branch manager) in Greensboro, NC, who says if something were to happen to him and his branch didn't run as well with his replacement in charge, "then I didn't do my job," he says. "So part of my job is developing the future."
Read more about this and other hallmarks of ACR's strong company culture in Culture Trumps Everything.