Operations

Gen Y Upends Hiring And Workplaces

Jim Luff
Posted on September 20, 2016

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Attracting top talent has become one of the hottest topics in the industry. Mostly because we want well-educated, thoughtful, courteous, and decisive chauffeurs. But then we pay minimum wage to slightly above minimum wage pay to a pool of Millennials who expect more.

Some of the industry’s most widely respected employers attempted to shed light on why it seems so difficult to recruit good young talent. The session included pros such as moderator Kyara Kahakauwila (L.A. Limousines & Transportation Services, Victoria, BC), Robert Alexander (RMA Worldwide, Rockville, Md.) and Jeff Nyikos (Leros Point to Point, Hawthorne, N.Y.) who dissected the work ethics and attitudes of Millennial workers.

About Millennials
In a clip shown from CBS’s 60 Minutes, it took all of 40 seconds to explain 80 million “Millennials” are quickly taking over the world as Baby Boomers enter their 60s and close in on retirement age while still being mostly responsible for hiring the generation born from 1982 to 2000.

Baby Boomers changed society by raising their kids to believe they were “special.” They often played in sports where there were no losers. All team members are given trophies merely for participating in a sport or event instead of being a star athlete or musician. According to the clip, they don’t believe in a “business as usual” motto and they have a burning desire to change the world. Because of their upbringing and principles and values instilled in them, they believe obstacles can be overcome.

What Happened?
To begin with, Baby Boomers insist their kids go to college. This created the most educated generation in history. Because so many have been told all their lives they are special, win or lose, they are well-educated but can be self-centered, lazy, immature people with a sense of entitlement, critics claim. Also, 90% of all jobs created after 2009 are part-time jobs, the panel said, citing statistics.

The generation texts too much, is immersed in hashtags, and rely on Siri to give advice from how to fix their bikes to riding a city bus. They likely grew up with parents who divorced. They were sheltered from the “evil” of the world by their parents who encouraged them to participate in events, sports and structured activities. This is a stark departure from the boomers who did as they pleased after school until the porch light was turned on and it was time for supper. The Millennial also grew up in a digital age where news has been delivered immediately and everything else is “on-demand.” They have set expectations for society, the workplace, and for themselves.

What Must Happen
Nyikos shared his philosophy: We must embrace the Millennial self-perception as being stylish, creative go-getters. We must accept they want to be viewed as young professionals, although they may lack the experience needed for such status. We must play to this to recruit them.

Their upbringing dictates no matter how poorly they did, they were always considered valuable regardless of skills and failures. Now, they expect the workplace environment to be the same, so employers are trying to adapt by harnessing them without depriving them of creativity and freedom from too many rules. They must believe they are a part of the work team and their input is just as valuable as it was on the playground.

Robert Alexander, founder and CEO of RMA Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation in the Washington, D.C. area, last year invested in a progressive, updated work environment friendly to Millennial employees. (LCT photo)
Robert Alexander, founder and CEO of RMA Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation in the Washington, D.C. area, last year invested in a progressive, updated work environment friendly to Millennial employees. (LCT photo)
Connecting As One
Millennials crave to be a part of the team, enjoying its spirit and attitude. Alexander shared photos of his team participating in community events such as cleaning the streets of litter together and softballs games representing RMA Worldwide. Of course, they have the traditional holiday parties as well to encourage camaraderie. Offering to be part of a team that works and plays together and shares a sense of social responsibility towards its community makes Millennials want to belong to such a company. It isn’t just about the money as much as fitting in and being happy.

Creating A Culture
Nyikos shared how Leros Point-To-Point works diligently to create a corporate culture that includes many varied opportunities to participate. Off-the-job activities build a team spirit and promote working together on-the-job. These include golf outings, wine tours, hosted happy hours, and even things as silly as Halloween costume contests. They also have a Secret Santa program and other company sponsored events. It is important to share this information with prospective employees during the interview. Today, employees are evaluating the companies they apply to as much as the company checks them out. Just because you offer them a job doesn’t mean they will take it if they don’t believe it is a good fit. Millennials have no problem telling an employer or prospective employer to take this job and shove it.

About Technology
Millennials have always used computers. They grew up with Nintendo games and Sony PlayStations and seem to have a better grasp of technology than previous generations. They expect your company to be up to date on technology and expect the best tools and equipment to do their work. They like to feel connected to the company, to each other, and to management. This includes the need for constant reassurance of jobs well done. It requires fully communicating the expectations for future assignments. They love to have meetings to review their performance and strategically plan their futures. The “top boss” theory doesn’t work for them, since everyone is a part of the team and they don’t see the need to provide the respect Boomers had for the chain of command.

Time To Say Goodbye
Despite good intentions of accommodating Millennial attitudes, standards still should prevail. Kahakauwila says it is important to recognize when an employee is so self-centered and so bent on changing the company to fit their vision of how to run it, that a separation is inevitable. Sometimes the creativity levels are too high and the expectations too great, and both parties become frustrated with the relationship.

Kahakauwila cautions an unbridled employee can quickly become a cancer in the organization and spread ill-feelings toward other staff members who may either report it to management or jump on the bandwagon. Ignoring the situation only makes it worse. Without management intervention, more employees are affected by the attitude and actions of the instigator.

The Bottom Line
To attract top talent, you must change the workplace to satisfy the desires of the workforce. With Millennials, that means creating a dynamic corporate culture, changing your office layout to encourage collaboration and communication, and offering the benefits Millennials expect.

Related Topics: employee management, employee retention, facilities, ILCT 2016, industry education, industry trends, Kyara Kahakauwila, LCTFast40, Millennials, Robert Alexander

Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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