With the proper motivation, training and support system, members of any generation can become capable of remarkable accomplishments. Phil Gwoke‘s goal in speaking to LANDSCAPES attendees at the CEO Forum this week was to bring awareness to what formed and influenced the generations, explore the resulting values and motivations. Then, he gave landscape business owners actionable tips and concrete takeaways they could use to successfully break into the millennial minds of current and potential landscape employees.
When people grow up plays a large role in the way they see the world, how they relate to certain institutions and what they value, Gwoke says.
There are: 75 million Traditionalists (those born before 1946), 80 million Baby Boomers (those born between 1946-1964), 60 million Gen X (those born between 1965-1979), 75 million Millennials (those born between 1980-1995) and 65 million Gen Zers (those born between 1996-2010).
When differences between these generations are presented in the workplace, how can landscape professionals turn these obstacles into opportunities for growth?
Break Into the Millennial Minds Tip #1: Design an Engaging Culture With Values Millennials Want to Experience
We all want to develop skills beyond our trades, Gwoke explains. “Everyone in this room has skills beyond their work skills,” he says. “Maybe you’re great at parenting or managing personal finances. Coach your people in other life skills beyond those needed for work. Then they will say, ‘They care about me and are developing me.’ That’s how you foster a strong culture.”
Break Into the Millennial Minds Tip #2: Make Your Culture So Great That Your Employees Are Recruiting On Your Behalf
Gwoke hears landscape pros talk a lot about recruitment and retention. His tip: Focus on retention first, not the other way around. “Focus on retention and leverage your current employees’ influence on their peers for recruitment,” he explains. “Ninety percent of millennials rely on referrals when making decisions. Your current employees’ endorsements of your company are stronger than yours.”
Also, social responsiblity and diversity are very important to members of the millennial generation. Focus on these characteristics in your company to attract more millennials, Gwoke suggests.
Gwoke shared statistics to support his theory:
- Seventy-five percent of millennials would rather take a pay cut to work for a soically responsible company.
- Sixty-nine percent of millennials who believe their senior managment teams are diverse see them as more motivating.
Break Into the Millennial Minds Tip #3: Lead With Your Why
Most managers start a conversation with what they want you to do and the employee may ask, “How?” At some point, the why is revealed. Gwoke referenced the old conversation where a boss would say, “Jump,” and the employee would ask, “How high?” Today, millennials employees ask, “Why?”
To get millennials on board with your strategy as a landscape business owner, Gwoke suggests turning the converstaion around. Start with the “why” first and then talk about what and how things will get done to achieve that “why.” Leading with the why motivates millennials.
“For example, say, ‘We value customers and wnat them to have an amazing experience,'” Gwoke shares. Millennial employees will agree and the what and how will naturally follow.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Gwoke spoke today at LANDSCAPES. Keep reading NALP’s blog for more of his generational insights.