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First, understand the people you work with. Sam Emam, president of Chauffeurs PGT in Kenilworth, N.J., says you have to learn how the Millennial employee came into the working world. Did they go to a university, or did they skip that step and go straight to work?
“To get a feel for what kind of work ethic they have, you have to sit and talk to them and see what they want from the job,” Emam says. “Ask them what makes them feel good about themselves, and then help them apply that to what you want them to do.” For example, a reservationist will have different goals than a sales person, but everyone wants room to grow.
Jami Crouch, business development and affiliate relations for Premier Transportation Services in Dallas, Texas, says it’s not always about age; it’s about how you learn and were raised. “You can’t segregate people by their age. Everyone has to be managed with the same foundation — it’s how you communicate that’s going to change,” she says.
The Millennial generation is more tech savvy and would rather converse via email than sit down. That’s where the issue lies. “Emails are not always read the way they are written. You have to teach them communication should be done a certain way because it’s more professional,” she says. It’s about education and finding the best method that works for the individual. It’s not always going to be the same for everyone in a specific generation.”
Ignoring the Millennial title entirely is the best way to manage a person successfully, says Nick Boccio, fleet manager for Buffalo Limousine in Buffalo, N.Y. “Treat a 25-year-old dispatcher or reservationist the same as the chauffeur or manager who is middle-aged or even a senior.” Having preconceived notions of how a person will work based on age will not enable you to help them achieve their goals.
Jaime McLaren, director of operations for Concierge Limousine in Huntington Beach, Calif., believes a hands-off approach is the most helpful. She hires many college students and gives them the freedom to do homework while in the office if the company isn’t slammed with business.
Set Up For Success
From the moment you meet a potential Millennial employee, you have to remove age from the equation. Both of you have the same desire: To succeed. By empowering them to do so, you create a win-win situation. “You’re setting yourself up for failure if you start by attaching stereotypes to a person,” Boccio says.
McLaren believes training plays a major part in ensuring a new hire’s success. At her company, everyone goes through one-on-one training with people in the same position, and they also spend three days with her. She never has the same person train them the entire week so they have a chance to meet and get to know coworkers.
“It’s crazy we are raising anti-social people in a social media rich society,” McLaren says. “Giving them more exposure with several different people helps with cross-training.” She also likes to give them the opportunity to apply their fields of study to tasks she needs done around the office. For example, if they are in school for marketing, she might have them assist in a task that would make use of those skills.
Remember, you will be measured personally by the success of the people you hire for your team, Crouch says. “They are going to get what you’re willing to give. If someone is failing outside of pure ignorance alone, it’s a direct reflection of your management ability. Treat them like you do your clients: Learn about, understand, and respect them, and you’ll be able to tell what managing method will work best.”
Learning how to let go and trust them is vital as well, Emam says. “Give them a sense of responsibility. Have them set their own goals and reward them when they meet them. I know I want to feel like I’m wanted and an important part of the operation. Millennials need to be recognized by their superiors and praised for the work they put in.”
Snowflakes No More
Despite the bad rap Millennials get (participation trophies, getting offended at everything, the list goes on…), they actually crave constructive criticism.
McLaren starts with something positive, transitions to what they need to work on, and then ends with a positive note. “This way, they don’t feel like you are constantly harping on them. If you can do a fair mixture, they tend to leave feeling like the conversation was positive overall, and become more open to receiving feedback,” she says.
“If you sit them down and say, ‘these are the facts you have to have,’ the who, what, when, where, and what car, how you get them doesn’t matter — just remember to cover those bases. They sometimes need more hand-holding than other generations, but if you want them to succeed, you have to take your time and reassure them they are doing an OK job; it’s just going to take some time to get to where they need to be.”
Emam has some solid advice for Millennials as well: Don’t make excuses. “Work hard and don’t give people a reason to believe stereotypes. I see friends from college posting #hustle, but they aren’t hustling. Don’t brag about it if you aren’t doing it.”
Q: With the technology available to operators today, how plausible would it be to run a limo company remotely?
Sam Emam: I think it’s very plausible. You don’t need an office, just a place to park your cars. In an office you might have better communication and quicker turn around, but I think that could be possible through video chat. I work from home sometimes, and all you need is a quality phone system, the right tech, and discipline.
Jami Crouch: You can really be a reservationist, accountant, affiliate manager, and even potentially a dispatcher anywhere in the world. Why? Because technology companies allow us to log into our software anytime, anywhere, and our phones are now VOIP. It’s plausible, but it takes the right personality to be dedicated to work and continue to stay busy.
Nick Boccio: With the proper equipment, an office could be run with reservation, dispatch, and billing functions. As long as there’s access to the company software, it could certainly be done.
Jaime McLaren: It’s very possible and one of the great things about living in the age of the cloud. With things like Amazon Workplace and VOIP, I can walk into any room of my house, plug in, and I’m at work. The only downside is you lose the human contact you get when you work in a physical office. This puts that touch of customer service at risk. We don’t want to lose that because it’s what makes us stand out against the TNCs.
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