You don't necessarily have to become a fan of alternative music or be up on the latest technological crazes in order to relate to the younger generation.
But to stop the revolving personnel door, tire dealers and store managers must come to grips with and appreciate how today's younger workers, known as ``Generation X,'' think and what they value.
Just as significantly, dealers and managers must apply what they know about this younger group in an effort to motivate, retain and manage them. This is vital for all dealerships, as these young people now represent more than 35 percent of applicants vying for jobs today.
What makes understanding Gen-Xers-people born between 1965 and 1979-so difficult is that they think differently than their parents and grandparents. They have different values and concerns. While loyalty to a company, for example, was a given in generations past, it is no longer a trait coveted or believed in by many of today's younger workers.
As TB columnist Mary Miles points out in this issue, many Gen-Xers are products of homes with high divorce rates and dual incomes. They also graduated from high school and college during a time of downsizing, re-engineering, re-structuring and displacement.
So, it's understandable why they are skeptical of employers demanding their loyalty. As these workers see it, loyalty is earned, not expected. From what they've witnessed, many companies don't seem to place a premium on their work forces.
But just because Gen-Xers view things differently than the older generations and are skeptical of the business culture doesn't make them bad employees. To the contrary, they bring a lot of good qualities to the table.
Gen-Xers, as a result of their upbringing, are used to working on their own. They are fiercely independent, technologically savvy, goal-oriented and creative thinkers, and they tend to meet goals with little or no direction.
This generation is interested in building marketable skills, not necessarily to rise within an organization, but so they can take them with them wherever they go.
But aren't these the type of employees most businesses desire? Don't these characteristics sound a lot like those of an independent tire dealer?
Instead of viewing Gen-Xers as job hoppers out only for themselves, tire dealers should take advantage of the skills and motivations these workers have to offer and help them understand the many opportunities available to them in the tire business.