Attracting and managing Millennials

You may have to alter your management style to reach this generation.

It’s no secret that Millennials have gained a horrible reputation within the workforce. Born after 1980, Millennials are often thought of as lazy and entitled by older generations. By many accounts, this poor repute can be credited to companies generally having a difficult time understanding, managing and working with them. Plain and simple, Millennials are the future of the workforce by offering innovative ideas, tech-savvy tendencies and go-getter attitudes, their inclusion can actually be very positive for your business. To stay relevant in today’s rapidly changing lawn care landscape and to ensure your business is on track for long-term success, it’s necessary to dismiss the common myths associated with Millennials and instead learn best practices for attracting, utilizing and leading them. 

Initial attraction 
So how do you attract the mercurial Millennial generation and acquire top talent? First and foremost, you need to make sure the open positions available are being published on the most effective job boards and mediums to reach them. A key player in this is utilizing social media. Whether it be a post on Facebook or LinkedIn, the amount of time Millennials are spending on various social media channels, is at an all-time high so it makes sense that this is the best way to grab their attention about opportunities with your company. 
Further, when working toward attracting Millennials, it’s important to keep in mind that Millennials are not just looking for a job to make money, but a secure, meaningful and fulfilling career. Make sure a potential career path with the company is clearly defined and outlined for all applicants so they can see that your organization wants them for the long run. Deliver a message implying that by joining your company, a candidate will be surrounded with like-minded individuals who will nurture and invest in their employees to learn, progress and grow.  
The right culture fit 
One of the most important elements to attracting and retaining Millennials is to offer a company culture conducive to their mindset. Studies have shown that nowadays, Millennials are looking to be part of something larger than just a company working toward a profit. They want to make an impact on the world and be part of a fulfilling organization with purpose and meaning. By clearly conveying the positive effects of your lawn care business on the environment and community they know they’ll be joining a progressive group changing things for the better. 
Bluntly state what makes your company culture special and make it extremely evident for Millennials. Millennials want to be part of a company with a legacy and an encouraging work environment that shows its appreciation. Whether this is achieved through offering monthly incentives or bonuses awarded for hard work, millennials want their efforts to be noticed and acknowledged. 
Managing Millennials
Once you’ve hired Millennials, an entirely new set of challenges is presented when figuring out how to manage your young workforce all-star team. Often perceived as stubborn and disrespectful, the most important thing here is to remember that Millennials are really striving to make a difference and contribute to the business. With that in mind, a first step to effectively managing Millennials is in your approach. When giving assignments, be insightful and offer a two way stream of communication. Rather than ordering an employee to do something with no explanation, contextualize the assignment. Depending on the employee, provide them with a few sentences on the effect the outcome of the project will have on the organization and welcome input from them.
A second key to successfully leading Millennials is constantly providing feedback. Most Millennials possess a go-getter attitude and seek feedback on their actions very frequently. Encourage this attitude by always commending a job well done, or providing constructive criticism and pointers for areas of improvement. 
Lastly, a major factor in successfully managing Millennials is encouraging a collaborative versus competitive organization. Millennials are used to and prefer to work in groups. They are very capable of playing off one another’s strengths and weaknesses and often produce the best results based off a group consensus. Encourage a collaborative culture where everyone is invited to participate, share ideas, etc. and point out when a team or group has experienced success due to connecting with one another. With this, it’s important to make sure that each employee doesn’t lose their identities within the business. While working and deciding in a group is enjoyable and effective, nobody wants to lose their individuality. 
Ultimately, attracting the right Millennial employees and effectively leading them can heighten your business to an entirely new level. Make sure you present your lawn care company as an exciting opportunity, looking to make a difference in the world and from there enforce a strong company culture with a collaborative approach.  
The author is the 32-year-old owner of Weed Man Twin Cities. He recently received the company’s 2015 Emerging Leaders award.
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