When I network with others in my field, our conversations often center on several key questions: How can established industries reach out to millennials? How can we get them interested in our businesses and foster their futures outside traditional career paths?
My company ServiceMaster Restoraton by Zaba deals primarily with water damage restoration work all across the city of Chicago. I’m fortunate to have several millennials on my team, and I hope to add more in the future.
If you’re in a similar position and want to discuss bringing more young workers into your industry, these 10 key points should be a part of the conversation.
1. Trade careers are wide open
Today, many millennials are bypassing traditional higher education and embracing industrial trades as careers. There can be barriers along this path. For example, my restoration business isn’t considered a trade even though we’re all industry certified and trained. I have to overcome that misconception when I talk with young people about this type of business.
2. Millennials relate to each other
Many of our customers are millennials. When we take care of fire or water damage in their homes, my younger team members really speak their language. I’m so glad that I have help reaching out and relating to younger clients. As business owners, we need to acknowledge and appreciate this extra level of customer care.
3. They’re always thinking forward
Millennials really enjoy experimenting with traditional concepts. That trait combined with their forward thinking helps bridge the gap between old and new approaches to business success. With their input, our industries can evolve and grow. When we bring Generation Y into our different fields, everyone benefits from their creativity.
4. Millennials want to improve their communities
Never underestimate the Millennial approach to making their cities a better place. A great example of their unique problem-solving happens on a weekly basis here in the Chicago area through Chi Hack Night. We should tap into their desire to make a positive difference and show them how it’s done in our industries and businesses.
5. Being the boss can happen
Those of us with established companies need to let younger employees know we’re looking for people who want to call the shots. We like the idea of passing along the reins to employees who are willing to grow in a job. It’s important to communicate that to millennials who want to eventually be their own boss.
6. Work flexibility matters
At our restoration headquarters in Chicago and Skokie, we’re on call 24/7 and respond to very difficult situations. This isn’t an easy sell to someone who wants a 40-hour week. I try to give my field techs breaks between long, hard shifts. If we want to attract millennials to non-traditional industries, we have to be flexible because we’re competing with companies that close the doors at 5 P.M.
7. We offer perks too
Millennials who interview with my company are often surprised that a job in our industry can offer excellent benefits. We need to make it clear that employment with our different trades includes sick days, vacation days, bonuses and 401k plans with profit shares. I’m a strong believer in paying back hard work by organizing employee get-togethers and extending personal time off.
8. Millennials are team players
It’s hard to grow in a business that breeds in-house competition. Millennials appreciate an atmosphere that rewards individual performance and still encourages team work. They value helping each other out and knowing that they can expect help in return. It all creates an environment that makes demanding industry jobs a little easier.
9. Diversity is very important
In a city with 77 different neighborhoods and communities, diversity is a wonderful fact of life. It’s also very important in maintaining a workplace that really appeals to Generation Y. I especially enjoy hiring young women who want to build their careers in male-dominated industries. Their enthusiasm and determination keep Chi-Town strong.
10. We value professional development
One of the best ways to attract millennials to our different industries is by offering solid training and apprenticeship programs. They need to know that their contributions are valued from the start. When young people clearly understand what an employer expects from them, it’s much easier for them to fit into a company’s culture.
Building our future together
Millennials contribute so much to our cities. Their talents, innovation and energy infuse our workplaces with a contagious optimism. I hope you add more of these young people to your workforce. I can personally attest to their high standards and strong work ethic. We need to reach out and bring them in to make the future better for all of us.
Diana Rodriguez-Zaba owns and operates ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba, a woman and minority certified disaster restoration and cleaning company in Chicago, IL and the suburbs. With a dedication to skilled workmanship and a commitment to compassionate care, Diana and her teams strive to make a positive difference across the community on a daily basis. Connect with @servicemasterz on Twitter.