Millennials, or those aged 18 to 35, are the largest cohort in Canada’s workforce. Yet they represent a very small percentage of the trucking workforce.
Ten years ago, 18% of our drivers were 25 to 34 years old.
Five years ago, that number was less than 15%.
Today, a recent survey of trucking employers shows that virtually none (yes, none) has an HR plan to attract or retain young people.
Now let’s pretend that I have sound effects. That’s me blasting the air horn.
In trucking, Generation Y is more like Generation Where? Engaging with this age group now, in a meaningful way, is a business imperative.
And in order to engage with millennials we first need to understand them. Here are three basic things you should know about hiring and managing millennials:
They’re technologically savvy
This generation grew up during an explosion of new technology. They have never known life without smart phones, texting, and social media—they’re constantly “on.” Their highly sophisticated use of technology has helped them become masters at multi-tasking, immersed in global communities, and the lines between work and life have blurred.
It’s a just-in-time generation
Technology has provided millennials with the means to connect and communicate immediately. Information is always at the tips of their fingers—a click, tap, or swipe away. When they want information, they’re accustomed to immediate responses, gratification, and feedback.
They’ve been shielded and engaged
Helicopter parents, no-fail educational policies, being rewarded with a medal for last place—this generation has been consistently told they are special and cannot fail. Additionally, people in this age group have been raised to respect the environment, have a high rate of volunteerism, and have a desire to make a difference in their communities and the world.
How can this information help you?
Consider your company’s brand. Just think of the boost to your reputation if a few young people promoted you as a great employer to their vast social networks
Look at your management style, especially when something goes wrong. Mentorship and coaching programs can give this generation the guidance they crave. A little constructive criticism can soften the blow and help younger employees focus on how to improve.
Offer young employees opportunities to contribute to the company in meaningful ways. If you don’t know what that means, ask them. Just be prepared to respond quickly— remember, immediate feedback.
Lastly, make recruiting and retaining millennials part of a strategic and focused HR plan. You just may find yourself blasting the air horn at the competition.
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