3 Ways to Reach the iGen Workforce

iGen workforce

If you’re struggling to hire or retain employees, it’s possible you may need to revisit the way you do things. Today, the post-millennial generation (Generation Z) is arriving in the workforce—and their wants and needs are quite different than you might be used to. That means if you’re still employing yesterday’s approach to hiring and retaining employees, then chances are you’re missing key ways to reach this iGen workforce.

Phil Allen on iGen workforce
Phil Allen

Phil Allen, PhD, a 30-year veteran professor of horticulture at Brigham Young University, will be presenting on this very topic at LANDSCAPES. His session, “Your Future Workforce: Changes in Them, Changes for You” will address his research and observations on how the workforce has changed—and what that means for your landscape business.

He refers to this generation as the iGeneration—or iGen for short, made up of people born between 1995 and 2010. According to Forbes, iGen members make up 25 percent of the U.S. population—outnumbering both Millennials and Baby Boomers, respectively.

We’ve asked Allen to share a few of his best tips from this upcoming session.

iGen Workforce Tip #1: iGen Members Want to Work WITH a Boss Not for One

The fact is, iGen members really care about engagement. They desire to feel they are part of a company where they are “wanted.” And they want to work for a boss who’s engaged in what they’re doing. For this reason, Allen says that iGen members place huge value on onboarding, training and mentoring.

iGen workforce

Unfortunately, these are areas in which most landscape business owners do not place value. In fact, Allen says he always asks business owners about their onboarding process—and most barely have one.

“The fact is, students are graduating from college every May, which also happens to be the busiest time for landscape business owners,” Allen says. “Because of that, landscape pros hire them and then throw them into the fire. They’re not feeling the love at all—and to someone in the iGen designation, that’s a big problem.”

When it comes to onboarding, Allen says you need to have systems in place. This is something that he’ll discuss in more depth during his presentation.

iGen Workforce Tip #2: iGen Members Look at Company Culture

Company culture is a topic iGen folks bring up a lot. But what “culture” means to you is probably not what it means to a young person.

“When I ask landscape business owners about their company cultures, nine times out of 10 the word ‘barbeque’ comes up,” Allen says. “Business owners will tell me they have a great culture because they regularly have company-wide barbeques. But that’s not what culture is all about to someone in iGen. To them, culture is about the day-to-day stuff. It’s about what the workplace is like—does it involve laughing, positive challenges and growth? That’s what they want.” 

iGen Workforce Tip #3: Let your Young People do Your Hiring

Are you struggling to connect and reach a younger demographic? Then maybe you should have your young people do your hiring for you, suggests Allen. This is something he knows about, first-hand.

“In the past five years, we spent more than $10,000 recruiting students to the landscape management major at BYU—without a lot of success for that investment,” says Allen. “When one of my students made a video and posted it online talking about the major and taking viewers on a little tour of the greenhouses on campus, we had around 200 inquiries within 48 hours—and that video cost nothing. She did it for free.”

The take-home message: Get young employees to do your recruiting in a way that will resonate with your target audience.

Looking for more employee hiring and recruiting tips? Attend LANDSCAPES!

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