As the workforce evolves, so must your business

Management Lucas Deal September 16, 2013

yieldWhat color is a yield sign?

If you said yellow, congratulations, you’re in the majority. You’re also wrong. Public highway yield signs have been red for more than 30 years.

Conventional wisdom isn’t always right, and Bruce Wilkinson, president of Workplace Consultants, says falling victim to conventional wisdom and the “way things have always been” isn’t a valuable strategy for leading in business today.

Speaking at the CVSN Aftermarket Distribution Summit Monday in Santa Rosa, Calif., Wilkinson says managing millennial workers – Gen X and Gen Y – requires a different strategy than the Eco Boomers and the Baby Boomers before them, and its imperative for all businesses, including the aftermarket, the adjust to this new workforce to stay successful moving forward.

“Change is unavoidable, but adaptability is optional,” says Wilkinson. “This new generation must see the value of their work, and that must be defined.

“They don’t just want to know what to do, they want to know why.”

They want to know how doing their job helps their company and their career, Wilkinson says. They aren’t motivated solely by a paycheck, they also are heavily motivated by success and advancement. Wilkinson says if you can show these young workers how their responsibilities move them forward, they will strive and aspire to succeed.

He quotes Dwight D. Eisenhower when he says, “To get people to do what you want them to do, you have to get them to want to do it.”

The way to do that, Wilkinson says, is to follow the three Cs: culture, communication and climate.

Culture is how your business operates, communication is how your business goals and responsibilities are provided to your workforce and climate is the environment of your operation.