AKRON — Many tire dealers we talk to complain about the difficulty in finding qualified applicants for job vacancies.
Some of that is likely due to a younger generation of workers choosing to avoid the physical labor—and it indeed can be hard—that many tire service and automotive repair jobs require.
But some of that perceived paucity of good job candidates may be due to the unrealistic expectations of the hiring managers. There often can be a disconnect between the work ethics the older generation of managers desire from new hires and the motivations of the younger generation entering the workforce.
How do you attract and manage millennial workers? Older managers have to understand that the younger generation of employees have a different way of learning and accomplishing tasks, different motivations and different attitudes about success.
Not wrong, just different.
A successful manager needs to understand it's a new game with new rules. Veteran salespeople tended to work independently and unsupervised and were driven to toil long hours to succeed and earn bonuses. Younger salespeople prefer supervisors who will lay out strategies for successful selling, working as a team and appreciating PTOs (personal time off) as rewards.
As many dealers are starting to realize, they can't expect younger employees to stick around for long at any one place of employment—the days of company loyalty are fading away due to some millennials seeing their parents' loyalty to their employers get rewarded with layoffs before retirement. But dealers may be able to retain these employees a little longer by making their workplaces a positive experience.
Much of millennials' work ethic comes from growing up playing organized team sports, such as soccer or football, rather than free play in a sandlot. So millennials are looking to join companies with supervisory structure and a well-planned strategy for accomplishing sales goals.
Thus companies have to approach their business much like team sports—with a strategy, a game plan and effective coaching. They can't just put a hat on a millennial employee and send him or her out in the field with a “Go get “em!”
Managers now have to behave like a team coach rather than a supervisor who puts out fires. They have to be available to guide employees, conduct daily or weekly meetings to chart progress, share updates, offer frequent training and provide feedback.
Millennial employees desire consistent training and communication, as well as a framework for how to succeed. They also expect structure and a game plan for how to conduct business, go after and follow through on a sale and get rewarded for successes.
This approach makes for sound business practices, no matter what generation of employees a company is courting.
This editorial appeared in a recent print edition of Tire Business. Have an opinion on it? Send your comments or a letter to the editor to [email protected]. Please include your name, title, official name of your business, and city, state and/or region in which it is located, along with an email address where you can be reached.