At first, my thoughts about the millennial generation were like most: They just don’t work as hard as “we do.” They are entitled and expect more from their jobs than “we did.”
Really? Is there that much of a difference when we compare ourselves to our parents’ or grandparents’ generation? I don’t think there is as much of a difference as we like to believe there is. So, who is entitled now? (That was supposed to make you giggle.)
If we continue to focus on what millennials don’t do, rather than what they can do, we may as well blame ourselves for their lack of success. Please choose to take these young adults under your wing. I advise you to put them in the jump seat and teach them trucking!
Millennials want to know what is expected, they want boundaries, and God forbid, they do not want to get embarrassed! They want to be trained. But why do millennials appear to be brats? Because they have been allowed to be, mostly by their parents. And some of their parents are you and me!
Every human needs and wants boundaries. Boundaries provide a safety net, which helps us develop self-confidence. Millennials are searching for expectations and the boundaries that go with them. Millennials hate, I mean they hate to be embarrassed. We must train them before letting them fly… or drive. That’s right, I said “train them.” If you think you have a good training program now, I am going to challenge you by saying it is not good enough for training millennials.
For example, you must first spell out in very detailed order what you expect from your new, 21-yearold driver. Explain to him/her what the consequences will be should they not live up to expectations. Then train them step by step on what is expected. Not once, but 7-8 times.
If they cross the boundaries, and they will, remind them of the expectations and let them know that they will be re-trained on the boundary they crossed. Also, let them know you want to see them succeed. Explain to them that they will make mistakes and that is ok, as you will help them learn how to meet expectations.
But here’s the big secret: Managing millennials requires you to reward them. Yes, it is true. These kids got a cookie every time they did something right. Now, it’s our job to make sure the cookie is given when they’ve lived up to our expectations. Make the reward a challenge, but make it fun. My company offers a team retreat to Cancun; let’s just say that gets the attention of most millennials!
I love the energy that millennials bring to our company. Heck, I encourage them to push the envelope with their ideas and suggestions. Millennials want to be heard. Let me say that again: Millennials want to be heard. Give them a voice, as long as they know what you expect and that the team will always come before any individual goal.
You will be amazed with the amazing things your company can accomplish when you listen to your millennials. And who knows, you might even feel a bit younger by spending more time with them. I know I do!
Joyce Brenney is CEO and Founder of St. Cloud, Minn.-based Brenny Transportation/Brenny Specialized. The carrier boasts both a driver turnover rate of just 10% and a stellar safety record. Brenny has developed and launched a progressive training/mentoring program for 18- to 20-year-olds that she says is designed to “graduate” them as interstate truck drivers at age 21.