How the changing world ends up shaping each generation in a unique way
Why approaching the conversation in terms of this generation vs that generation is ass backwards
How to leverage the story you already have to catch the attention of ambitious, driven and loyal young people
How the physically demanding hands-on nature of your business may actually be its most attractive feature rather than a detractor.
How you need to conduct yourself as the owner and leader of the company to bring in young talent
The super simple method any leader can use to quickly build trust in their teams
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Kids these days! How often have you heard, or even said this?
We get it; it’s tough not to get cynical when you have 20-somethings demanding a higher hourly wage than you ever made (and their quality of work is well, to put it politely, not up to par).
But here’s the thing. We need this workforce.
And, maybe, just maybe, we’re missing something by tarring a huge population of 70 million as “lazy.”
On this episode of Contractor Evolution we are joined by Eric Termuende, author of Rethink Work, speaker, and entrepreneur who specializes in working with organizations to build incredible teams and attract this next generation.
What Eric has to say on the subject of Millennials and Gen Zers puts everything in a whole new light (and might even solve your recruitment pains).
First, let’s begin by….DEBUNKING THE GENERATIONAL GAP MYTH
The saying “Kids these days” is almost as old as time itself.
But, while Eric says “this whole disdain and lack of understanding isn’t new,” he adds that the generational conversation we once had is no longer valid.
“When we talk about kids these days, we are talking about a new era of individuals growing up in a world that is substantially different from the world our parents and grandparents grew up in. This is not a generational conversation, this is an advancement of information and advancement of society conversation,” says Eric.
To better understand this, Eric explains that in 1982, inventor and architect Buckminster Fuller came up with a theory called the knowledge doubling curve. He estimated that up until 1900, human knowledge doubled every century. Today, the amount of information we have access to is doubling every 12-13 hours. Think about that for a second. Of course they don’t think the same.
Younger generations are wired differently – they are learning more, asking more questions, and are exceptional multitaskers.
You can’t just blanket an entire generation
Let’s be honest, you can’t just tar an entire generation with the same brush – it’s really just an excuse used by lousy employees who are offering young people a shitty deal and blaming them when they don’t apply for a job with zero growth opportunities.
Eric expands on this: “Ask a Millennial what genre of music or film or coffee they like, and the answer will be different,” says Eric.
And yes, while there are the Gen Zers who spend their time making TikTok dance videos in front of the mirror, chances are, you don’t want to employ those individuals anyway!
How do we sell construction to the younger generation?
Before we dive into how, we need to understand what a ‘best place to work’ means to the younger generation.
Well, they all want to work at Arc’teryx, Lululemon, or Apple, don’t they? Not so! Did you know that Ledcor, Finning Canada, and PCL Construction have been in the top spots of Canada’s Top Employers and Best Places To Work for some time now. Yes, construction companies hit that sweet spot year after year in North America.
“Would someone at Ledcor want to work at Lululemon? No!” Eric says.
Fun fact: You’ve had the answer to the generational problem all along . . you just didn’t know it.
The answer to attracting the younger generation can be found within your company.
Start by asking yourself: Who am I as an employer and as a company? What do we offer our people?
So what if you can’t offer a 3-month sabbatical in Thailand or install a climbing wall in your office? Not everyone wants that. “We think there is a universal better, but you can’t dictate what is ‘better.’ It’s different for everyone,” explains Eric.
The fact of the matter is,“we don’t sign up for jobs anymore, we sign up for lifestyles,” says Eric, so you need to consider what lifestyle you are offering the younger employees, and to better understand that, ask your current employees.
What lifestyle does your company allow your employee to live? Now tell those stories to the world.
“Young people want the real authentic experience of what it’s like to work for you,” says Eric. He adds that showcasing your employees working in rough weather and covered in paint will appeal to like-minded people, not deter them.
It’s about exposing people as much as you can to the REAL workings of your organization (and if you think, I really don’t want to do that, then maybe it’s time to rethink your operational side of things).
CONTRACTORS ARE MISSING SOMETHING – You’ve Actually Already Got What The Younger Generation Want!
The contracting space is more suited to this younger generation than we may have ever given it credit for. Why? Because among the top things Millennials and Gen Z look for in an employee are: mentorship, leadership, and connection.
“In today’s world we check our phones an average of 82x a day, spend 3-4 hours in front of cell phones,” says Eric. “But that’s not the case in construction.” It far more human-centric.
As contracting leaders of a small-medium size business, you are in the office almost everyday or just a phone call away, so you provide that presenteeism the younger generation is looking for.
They also want to feel engaged; they want to be involved and be seen; and that’s something inherent in contracting: it can be as simple as asking them their opinion on a potential upcoming job.
Let’s face it: Contracting, by nature, is self deprecating. Eric says it’s time contractors understand that what you offer actually fits so well with the mindset of so many of the younger generation. It’s time for you to own who you are in your industry and your company. Be proud of it. In the end that message will resonate with the right set of people.
Eric has so many more great insights in this episode including the dangers of overselling to the younger generation and how to keep hold of your younger employees. We guarantee it will make you think. To find out more about Eric visit www.erictermuende.com