A perception exists in the trucking industry that hiring and retaining millennials is difficult.
Does it have to be?
During a S.16 Service Provider study group task force meeting Monday at ATA’s Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) Annual Meeting in Atlanta, a room of fleet, OEM and service provider professionals debated the successes (and struggles) they’ve had in hiring and cultivating young millennial talent as part of their quest to develop a comprehensive recommended practice for ‘Developing and Leveraging Next Generation Leaders.’
Chaired by Navistar’s Chas Voyles and Brandon Fackey of Clarke Power Services, Monday’s active and engaging session hit on a number of key points regarding the differences between millennials and their predecessors, including the way they view career path opportunities, leadership styles and communication.
Voyles and Fackey hope to tackle those topics head on in their forthcoming RP. The duo believes the trucking industry offers wonderful career opportunities for young people and should be capitalizing on their skills and technical aptitude. Once complete, they believe their RP will provide trucking businesses key guidance on the following issues:
- Important traits leaders must understand about the next generation
- Important actions leaders can take to help manage and lead the next generation
- Key generational differences between the next generation and prior generations in how they say the world
- Why the next generation desires freedom and structure in their work
- What the next generation wants from their work environment and their leaders
- How leaders can optimize their communication with the next generation
- Why one-size-fits-all strategies don’t work in managing young employees
The issue of generational differences dominated Monday’s discussion. Attendees note the upcoming RP should clearly establish how current employees differ from next generation millennials in how they communicate and view their relationships with their employers, and then most importantly, provide guidance on how current employees can adjust their tactics in working with the next generation to help cultivate buy in and employee engagement.
Both Voyles and Fackey agree, noting that ultimately, no recommended practice for new employee commitment can work without already established commitment to it from existing employees.
Monday’s session also spent time addressing transparency and trust. Contrary to popular opinion, one attendee notes next generation employees are inherently trusting of leaders. It is only when leaders withhold information, become needlessly critical or treat employees unfairly that that trust begins to erode.