Episode 17: The Next Generation

Podcast Guests

photo of Leighann Lovely

Leighann Lovely

SITE Staffing, Inc.

Leighann Lovely 0:01
You’re listening to HRables: HR In Bite-Sized Pieces, presented by SITE Staffing. As a staffing company that offers temp, temp to hire and direct hire services, we work with all sized companies from small family owned businesses to fortune 500 companies. My goal is to offer insight and knowledge about what we see day in and day out. We hope to educate you, cover topics such as what is happening in the labor market, where unemployment rates are at, what the new wage expectation is, how to attract and retain employees, and much more. I hope you enjoy this week’s episode.

Welcome to this week’s episode of HRables. I’m your host, Leighann Lovely. So, millennials and Gen Z’s I sometimes forget that there are people working in my office that were born the year I graduated high school. And later, this puts a whole new perspective on things. Well, first, I realized how old I am. But we’re not talking about that. It reminds me what people thought of me when I entered the workforce or what they must have thought of me. The point is that today, we’re going to be talking about hiring practices based on understanding Gen Z’s as well as millennials. And there is a huge difference. Millennials experience things very differently, just like every other generation before them, and so I have Gen Z’s. I think it’s really important because of the state of the market that we’re living in and the fact that we are experiencing such a shortage in available qualified people in the manufacturing markets and distribution, especially in the Milwaukee market, we’re feeling this more than we have in the years past. We’ve all known that we were going to experience labor shortages, we’ve all experienced those, the gap has been getting bigger, year after year. But because of what has happened, what we’ve experienced with pandemic, this gap has just gotten large in a very short period of time. And every company right now is trying to hire. I’m sure that if you asked a baby boomer today to tell you what they thought of all the generations that came after them, it would be an extremely interesting conversation, it would be fun. But it would be definitely an interesting conversation. I’d love to sit down and have that conversation one day. But what I really want to focus in on today is how to recruit the younger generation and then retain that generation in the manufacturing industries. So first, you have to understand your audience and know who you’re dealing with. So before I go into that, I want to talk about the differences in the millennials and the gen Z’s. And there is a huge difference. If you think about what was happening in the world when they were growing up, you wonder you start to understand why. So let’s go through some of the basics. Millennials grew up while the economy was doing great. And then they graduated into a recession. So I often talked to people of my age or younger. Again, I’m at the very top when it comes to my generation. And I hear the same story. I graduated with no job. I graduated with a great degree, I now have 30 to 80 sometimes more of college of you know 30k $80,000 in debt. I have no job. And at this point, no prospects of of a job because the market crashed. Yet, when I enrolled in school, the the world was booming. And their parents were really pushing the idea of going to a four year college it was extremely important to have that educational background and I’m not knocking that in any way shape or form. Now Gen Z grew up watching this seeing their parents struggle struggling to keep jobs for a long term and trying to make ends meet. Watching both parents working. So this has created kind of a paradigm in the way these two groups think. Millennials grew up ready to take on the world with strong financial healthy parents that pushed college Gen Z’s are more pragmatic and realistic in their approach and have a tendency to be more self reliant. Millennials watch technology explode into social media platforms. And then take the world by storm, creating all kinds of issues, personal privacy violations, putting so much information out there. Luckily, Gen Z now benefits from the early mistakes of too much information online and have learned to kind of taper what they put out there, making them more private in nature. You see a lot of the younger generation, not going to Facebook, not posting regularly, where they are, what they’re doing, but using smaller platform forms like Snapchat, and to really socialize. That younger generation is now going to LinkedIn for their true networking connections and only connecting with personal friends that they know on things like Snapchat, whereas you still see the millennials utilizing Facebook, and that tags where you are and again, creates that social that personal violation of information. So what does this mean for hiring and attracting talent in these two groups of people. They have many traits that are very, very similar. However, these things, there are things that are very distinctly different. Millennials have a tendency to like open collaboration, where Gen Z has a tendency to like their own private workspace, and prefer to work independently. And now with a pandemic, it kind of justifies that mindset even more with the separation, and being able to work independently and be successful at that. Now, how do we attract these two different groups of people in such a, when they have such a different mindset and different ideas of what is an ideal work, you know, workplace. So if you want to attract a millennial, you will need to be social, you will need to engage with your employees and be involved, make your company mobile friendly, because the first place they’re going to look at your company information is going to be on their phone. Gen Z, you will have to be flexible and adapt quickly to ever changing the ever changing world and offer career development opportunities. Gen Z will not be happy if they are stagnant at their job. They want to know that you care about them and their well being. You may have to be more flexible in your schedule with them. They want a true work life balance. And I’ve heard stories of people being able to work from home work for four hours, take two hour break work for another two hours take another hour break. As long as they’re getting in there eight hours, companies are happy with that. Now, this is definitely different for manufacturing. You have to go to work, you have to be on the physical site in order to do that work. But companies are going to have to find a new version of this. The 12 hour day is not attractive to a Gen Z. Now once you get these employees, you have to make sure that all the promises that you gave to them when you hire them is something that you live up to. Because neither a millennial or a Gen Z will hang around if they feel like you lied to them. In fact, most employees of any generation will not hang around if they feel like you’ve lied to them. So retaining them is just as important. Obviously, you don’t want to go through a hiring process, hire them on, train them, only for them to leave you. Millennials look for growth, opportunity, company transparency, mentoring, relationships, and collaboration. They want to be able to have volunteer opportunities and the ability to feel important. Gen Z’s they need flexibility, like I just mentioned, they want coaching, growth, opportunity, development and clear understanding of how to get to where they’re expected to be. Point A gets you this point B gets you this point C gets you this and so on. They need those clear, concise expectations and communication. A lot of people think of this as babysitting. It’s Not they just need something that makes it very clear for them to understand how they progress at a company. And once they have that clear path, they can sit back and relax and go, Okay, now I know what the end result is, I know what the point is. Every generation at one time or another has been given a bad rap for one thing or another, we are all shaped by the experiences that we’ve had. Thus, the reason we are able to create the names for baby boomers, generation Jones, young boomers, Gen X and so on, is because we all are living through experiences that define us. But if we continue to assume that everyone is nothing but the tag that they have been given, no progress will ever be made. And especially in the manufacturing industry, they’re going to suffer the greatest because the majority of people being replaced, it’s not millennials, it’s not Gen Z’s. It’s the baby boomers or the older generation that has been around that has a wealth of knowledge to offer, the younger generation coming in. They are the future. Now I had a conversation just the other day with a really, really intelligent man that works in the manufacturer works with manufacturing companies, he coaches them, he helps do an assessment of their business and then creates a plan to make them more sustainable, more profitable. And he made a comment to me that Gen Z’s will be the next loyal employee generation, since the boomers and I completely agree with him. But that can’t happen if they’re not given a chance. And as a manufacturing company, if you continue to turn your back on those on that generation, they’re going to go elsewhere and you’re going to lose out. It doesn’t take a whole lot to open up your arms, open up your doors, and to accept change. If you’re willing to change your mindsets. Now I’m selling right now, I sound like I’m preaching to everybody, but it’s the way of the world. We all have to accept that things are changing. And right now. These are the people who are available and want to work and they want to work for a company who’s going to care about them. Well, I hope I’m not just rambling on. But right now we have a great opportunity to train a great group of people who could be amazing. And I think right now, the manufacturing industry, especially in Milwaukee, has the opportunity to be amazing if they just take the chance and the time to work with them. Well, that’s my that’s my time today. I hope you enjoyed it. Have a good one.

Thank you for tuning in. If you have a comment or you’d like to just join the conversation, please reach out to us on LinkedIn. If you are a company and you would like assistance with your open positions. I’d love to hear from you. Or if you are looking for a new position you can apply at our website at www.SITEStaffingInc.com. And finally, if you enjoyed our podcast today, share us, like us or leave a comment. Please tune in next time. I’m Leighann Lovely with SITE Staffing, and this is HRables: HR In Bite-Sized Pieces. We are now available on Apple podcast, Google podcast, iHeartRadio, player FM, or wherever you get your podcasts.