Millennials in Manufacturing

Attracting Millennials is probably the easy part of this equation, after all we are all looking a job, or at least our parents hope we are. Finding the ones with the talent you need, that will stick around and then engaging them to point of productivity is what takes a bit of finesse. Millennials are the largest and most misunderstood generation and we have seen first-hand the challenges that can arise when trying to connect with this new breed. Focusing on manufacturing, industrial, and construction related businesses, we have seen the challenges that these companies face when it comes getting good talent and keeping it, especially when it comes to the newer generation.   We have identified 12 steps that will help your company get on the right path when it comes to getting the most out of your Millennials.

millman.jpg

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
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The 4 Generations of Employees Who Work for You

The 4 Generations of Employees Who

Work for You
and How to Communicate with Them

4 gen

 

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088 
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242

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Can we fix it? Millennials in the construction industry

shutterstock_150120215The millennial generation gets a lot of press these days, and rightly so. For the first time, Millennials (individuals born between 1980 and 2000) will surpass the baby boom generation as the nation’s largest living generation. This is a significant shift for companies that now have to figure out how to most effectively attract, retain and develop these younger workers – not all of whom are following their parents’ examples when it comes to job selection, company loyalty and career paths.

The construction industry faces particularly high hurdles when it comes to attracting and retaining new employees, given the drastic ebbs and flows the industry has suffered for decades. According to our latest Talent Development Report, 86% of respondents reported that their company was experiencing skilled labor shortages. Just two years ago, only 53% of respondents were dealing with this challenge.

shutterstock_153208307To understand what young workers in construction are looking for in an employer, we examined a broad industry survey that included responses from more than 200 millennials (see “Millennials in Construction: Learning to Engage a New Workforce” for more details). The following five key findings highlight what it takes to engage this young generation of workers:

Opportunity. Our research confirms that if employees feel they’re making progress and advancing in their careers, they’ll be more likely to remain with their companies long term. This is particularly relevant for companies in the construction industry, where many firms still don’t have well-defined career tracks or comprehensive talent development and leadership programs in place. With young, ambitious Millennials needing to learn, improve and advance quickly through an organization, employers must develop better solutions and challenge the old ways of “how things used to be done” – starting with the ways people interact and collaborate with one another.

Commitment from the Top. Research shows that employees who perceive senior managements’ commitment to their well-being stay engaged and plan to remain with their companies long term, compared to those who don’t feel appreciated or valued. As one millennial survey participant stated, “Being noticed for the hard work you are doing is a big deal in the construction industry. When executives tell you they appreciate your hard work, it really goes a long way in the industry.”

Much like their predecessors, Millennials are interested in job security and stability. And despite popular belief, they aren’t poised to switch jobs as soon as another opportunity presents itself. That said, these younger workers come from a “connected” generation that truly values collaboration, teamwork and social opportunities. Our study also indicates that Millennials value the use of new and innovative technologies to solve client and corporate challenges. Letting young people contribute and participate in such meaningful ways, and taking genuine interest in their careers and personal lives, are key to engaging them long term.

Challenge. Like other generations before them, Millennials want to be challenged with interesting and meaningful work. As one millennial survey participant put it: “When trying to engage Millennials, it is important to emphasize the appealing aspects of the industry. In construction, projects are always different. Showing Millennials the challenges each project offers gives them a sense of purpose and greater determination. The constantly changing work environment offers a more exciting route compared with the monotony of replicated day-to-day activities.”

Not unlike other generations that enter the workplace, Millennials have new perspectives to share, innovative ideas about getting things done and interesting ways of tackling problems. They are less willing to accept the “old school” methods of completing work, and they are always searching for new ways to streamline processes and increase efficiencies. This mindset is critical to pushing the industry forward. Failing to nurture the innovative and inquisitive nature of younger workers will create disengagement among employees and result in a less productive workforce over time.

Clear Company Vision. Cultures focused on employee engagement require a defined and well-communicated company vision. This point is especially important for young people who are kicking off their careers. By explaining the whole picture, company leaders can connect the meaning to their employees. This, in turn, gives workers a clear sense of purpose and an understanding of how their efforts fit within the larger plan. According to our research, when the company’s vision is inspiring and clearly communicated, Millennials are 25% more likely to stay longer with the company compared to those who don’t understand the company’s vision and direction.

Good Pay. For years, thought leaders have been talking about how Millennials are just out for a purpose crusade and how they are more interested in meaning than money. Our research paints a much different picture. When asked what’s most important to them, Millennials rank competitive pay as their highest concern. Haydn Shaw, a renowned generational expert, confirmed this finding and says, “The vast majority of surveys show that Millennials rank base pay as the most important factor in selecting and staying in a job, just as the other three generations do. They want meaningful work and a supportive culture to work in, but they want a well-paying job and career advancement more.”

Sources:

Haydn Shaw. Sticking Points: How to Get 4 Generations Working Together in the 12 Places They Come Apart. July 22, 2013.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/new-research-top-5-things-millennial-employees-want-from-hoover

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088 
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact Caleb

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Are we getting better?

shutterstock_148727033.jpgCalling all Millennials, again. This week has exposed some serious concerns that I would like to address. You see I am an eternal optimist. I try and usually succeed at finding the silver lining in all situations but at some point I have to begin questioning my own perspective. Today I had the incredible experience of meeting with one of Birmingham’s greatest up and coming CEO’s. We discussed many topics on employee engagement, retention and development. It truly was one of those once-in-a-journey opportunities and I am extremely grateful for his willingness to mentor me on theses subject, but it raised some serious concerns for me. Here is the meat and potatoes of the issue. Millennials have stereotypes; that’s nothing new, but are we doing anything to overcome them? Has my generation, with all their head starts and technology, really just accepted that we are lazy, underachieving and ENTITLED! I hope not, but I’m growing worried.

You guys know my 90/10 rule right; I think that 90% of Millennials are making the other 10% look bad. Sidenote: If you are offended by that, you are probably in the 90%. Seriously it’s like we are wearing those stereotypes around like a medal (note this would just be a participation medal that you didn’t actually earn because that is one of the many things we are stereotypically famous for).

Okay, okay, I’m sorry that I am hating so much on us today but I am frustrated. After my meeting today, it was recommended that I read a blog post written by Jim Cavale, President of Iron Tribe Fitness. Jim’s blog was great and extremely well-written about the difference in generations that you guys have heard me mention so many times before. The jist of his blog was that Millennials are entitled. The CEO I spoke with today recommended the article because he agreed with Jim, and I have been working with companies and their workforce all over Birmingham. Honestly, to some degree I agree with him. So here is what got me on this soap box today, the blog was written in 2013. 3 years ago! Do you know how long that is at the speed our world moves at today? I am alarmed and kind of want to shake someone because it seems like nothing has changed for our generation in that last 3 years to overcome negative traits that we possess.

It is okay to not be good at something at first. It is not okay to keep doing something poorly just because you are not good at it. That’s called settling and it is for chumps. You have got to adapt and overcome. Hear me here, I am not saying that you need to make your weakness your strengths; but I am saying that if multiple people tell you that you stink at follow-thru then you need to do something to improve that. (Thanks for telling me I’m bad at follow-thru, JAMES!) I am bad at follow-thru so I have surrounded myself with people that are really good at follow-thru. I adapted. Do you think it would be okay to go into one of my client meetings and say, “Oh by the way I’m really bad at follow-thru so don’t expect much from me outside our meeting times?” No Way!

shutterstock_305140163.jpgSo it boils down to this, when someone makes you aware of a negative trait or habit that you have, I would recommend that you seek wise council as to whether it is true. Don’t ask your friends who only tell you what you want to hear.   Seek out the people who will be candid with you.   If it is true, then you need to assess how to adapt and overcome.

Well guess what…we are entitled. I prefer to say that we are impatient but it comes across the same to your boss most likely. We get it honestly from our childhood. We grew up in a world of instant gratification (i.e. Instagram sold for a billion dollars!), but what the world is trying to tell us is that it is not okay. It is time (actually past time) for us to adapt and here are some adapting strategies that I recommend.

The fact that you have a job at all suggest that employers are trying to understand you and want to work with you, so you have to give them something to work with.

  1. Stop expecting titles: I don’t know why our generation is so fixated on titles but we all want to be “Director” or “Senior” or “Chief”. I want to make 2 points here.
    1. Titles mean nothing! They don’t change your ability to influence people, and you do not need a title to change the world.
    2. Titles are given in response to actions, not given to create action. If you want a certain title, then you need start acting the part now and then hope the title comes. Act like the Senior Manager, perform like the Senior Manager and one day, YOU WILL BE the Senior Manager.
  2. Stop asking before you think: Repeat after me, “I, {state your name}, am not special.” That’s it. If you can get that, you’ll be set. You or I not being special doesn’t mean we can’t impact the world; it simply means that the change we create was done despite our lack of specialness. So before you go ask for a raise, a promotion, an extra benefit, think about this, “If I were the boss and I had and employee identical to me, would I give them what they are asking for?” Answer it honestly then make our decision on whether to expect something or not.  Think about your actual performance. Analyze your actual productivity levels.   Assess the goals that were set for you and be darned sure you blew them away. Do not ask for anything from management based simply on the internal voice in your head (that sounds an awfully like your Mom) telling you, “You are the best! You deserve everything everyone else has.   You are the most special person in the world. There is no one else like you. “
  3. Start recognizing that it’s about value: You will probably hear me say this a million times if we stay friends long enough but I really do believe you get where you want to go in life by helping others get where they want to go. You job, your company is no exception. How can you add so much value to your company that they would want to give you the things you expect? If you want to be a manager and there is not a position currently available, be patient waiting for an opening and use the time while you are waiting to shine.   Show your management just how valuable you will be as a manager for them. If you truly work to your full potential, then it will be a no-brainer for them to give you that position when the time comes.
  4. Start being patient: Last tip and I’m sorry this seems a bit preachy, but I really recommend this one. Hitch your wagon to a company that you believe in and would want to work with for 40 years and then be patient. If it is a good company, run by good people, allowing you to do what you love, then waiting 5 years for something will be much easier. If your employer aren’t those things I just mentioned, then DON’T WORK FOR THEM! Go find a good company and then be patient with them.

Millennials are entitled and that has to change. Stop accepting this as finite truth. We can change this trait, we should change the trait.  We will benefit in the long-term so much more once we lose this entitled attitude and recognize we have to work for what is worth having.

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088 
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
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25 Interesting Facts About Millennials

Jamie Kertis – our advisor that oversees retirement plan design – wrote a great article last week about Millennials.  Her blog has some fascinating content for human resource professionals, accountants, high-level executives and those who work on retirement plan committees in their company.

I would love to hear from you.   How do you think these factors affect our workforce?

1abThere were 53.5 million Millennials employed in the United States as of May 2015, and by 2025, this generation will comprise almost 75% of the US workforce. Think about that, in less than 10 years 3 out of 4 people who are working in America will be have born between 1980 and 2001.      How much do you know about this upward rising generation other than their stereotype? Yes, they are adults who still like to play video games.   Yes, they have no idea what a typewriter was used for.   And, yes they are technology-dependent, eco-friendly, hipsters who like music that no other generation can possibly tolerate; but there’s more.

Here are 25 things to think about as you recruit, hire and retain Millennial employees:

  1. Pay ranks first among job factors that matter most to this cohort. Meaningful work is second, positive relationships with co-workers third and flexibility fourth.
  2. 82% of Millennials did not negotiate their salary, either because they were uncomfortable doing so or didn’t realize it was an option.
  3. 37% of Millennials left their first full-time job within two years.
  4. 26% said a better salary would have kept them around longer; 17% would have stayed with a clearer sense of how to advance in the organization.
  5. 63% know someone who had to move back home because of the economy.
  6. Millennials list Google, Apple, Facebook, the US State Department and Disney as their top ideal employers.
  7. 94% enjoy doing work that benefits a cause.
  8. 63% want their employer to contribute to a social cause.
  9. 77% would prefer to do community work with other employees, rather than on their own.
  10. 57% want their organization to provide companywide service days.
  11. 47% had volunteered on their own in the past month.
  12. 75% see themselves as authentic and are not willing to compromise their family and personal values.
  13. $45,000 is the average amount of debt carried by Millennials.
  14. More than 63% of Millennial workers have a bachelor’s degree, but 48% of employed college grads have jobs that don’t require a four-year degree.
  15. 70% have “friended” their colleagues or supervisors on Facebook.
  16. $24,000 is the average cost of replacing a Millennial employee.
  17. 15% of Millennials are already managers.
  18. 56% wouldn’t work for an organization that blocks social media access.
  19. 69% believe it’s unnecessary to work from the office regularly.
  20. 41% have no landline phone access and rely solely on their mobile phone.
  21. 65% of Millennials say losing their phone or computer would have a greater negative impact on their daily routine than losing their car.
  22. 29% of Millennial workers think work meetings to decide on a course of action are very efficient. Compared to 45% of Boomers
  23. 54% want to start a business or already have done so.
  24. 35% have started a side business to augment their income.
  25. 80% of Millennials said they prefer on-the-spot recognition over formal reviews, and feel that this is imperative for their growth and understanding of a job.

1a.jpgThere is a lot of interesting facts here. I think we could use them in all sorts of contexts; think about it all specifically in terms of hiring employees and even more important for retaining them. Employee turnover costs skyrocketing. According to the Center for America Progress, the replacement cost of an employee who earns $30,000 to $50,000 a year is 20% of annual salary for those mid-range positions. So the cost to replace a $40k employee would be $8,000. For higher level employees, the replacement costs skyrockets to 150-200%.   For a $100,000 employee, the cost just to replace him/her can be easily $150,000.

The influence of a strong company culture is a huge factor that results can equate to what Gen Xers and Baby Boomers look at as loyalty.   Millennials can be long-term, engaged employees, but not at 1970, 1990 or even 2010 standards.   It is time to make some changes.   It will cost you too much not to.

Sources:

  • Society for Human Resource Management, The Brookings Institution, Dan Schawbel

 

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088 
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact Caleb

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Finding and being a mentor

mentorA mentor is kind of a weird thing for a leader to seek out, don’t you think? Most leaders are so focused on looking like they are in control that the thought of someone mentoring them is almost offensive. “I don’t need a mentor, I am the mentor”, “What would my team think about me if they thought I needed a mentor?” Both of these are common for leaders to say or think and both are not entirely bad thoughts, but I think they generally come with a negative mindset that should be reversed. I was told a long time ago that I should always have a mentor and I should always be a mentor, so to the comment “I am the mentor” you are right, as a leader you should most definitely be a mentor to your team, but that does not mean that you wouldn’t benefit from having someone to speak truth into your life. “What would my team think?” Hmmmm….maybe that you are human, you are always looking for ways to better yourself, that you are humble.   That wouldn’t be so bad would it?

The purpose of having a mentor is to help you grow and mentors come in all shapes and sizes. My father is a mentor, my bosses are mentors, my co-workers are mentors, and some of my friends and family are mentors. I am mostly likely the only one in those relationships that view it as formal but you better believe that I treat their advice and wisdom as gold. Imagine a mentor as someone who is watching a horror movie. From outside the situation, they may be able to see what’s happening in other rooms, piece things together that give clear pictures of what about to happen next, and they may be able to yell at you to not open that door because the killer is in that room. Ever the heard the expression, “I couldn’t see the forest, for the trees”?   Well, mentors are there to help you see the forest.   I take notes, I call with strategic questions, I seek objective, non-biased feedback on any situation that I think carries risk and above all, I LISTEN! In almost every situation mentees will have opinions formulated about the topic they need to discuss, and in doing that they are coming in loaded. Trying hardest to seek advice without projecting and desiring totally honest feedback, even if it is not what you want to hear, is the best way to approach your mentor.   It is the only way that really pays off.

WARNING: Not all people are good mentors! (There I said it.) The art of “projecting” goes both ways and you may run into “mentors” whose advice is coming solely from their opinion or personal experience and it may not be the right solutions for you. Do not confuse their passion for a certain situation for factual advice. You have to use your brain in this as well. Now if you have multiple people telling you the same things, you need to listen.

So what should you look for in a good mentor?

  1. Look for someone who has been where you want to go: Wisdom = Knowledge + Experience if you can find someone that has already achieved many of the goals that you have set for yourself and they are willing to share their experiences with you, you have a heavyweight contender for your mentor! Seriously think about it. My dad always taught me, “A smart man learns from his mistakes, but a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” Can you imagine the wisdom you can gain from talking to someone that has driven the road necessary to reach your goals and they are willing to warn you where the pot holes are?
  2. Look for someone that will be honest: My mom and I joke about the TV Show, “The Goldbergs”. It’s about this family in the 80s and the mom is always accused of having “Mom Goggles” on. Basically it means that in this mom’s eyes, her kids can do no wrong. In one episode the son wants to be a singer and the mom is nothing but encouraging; but the truth was that he stunk at singing. My mom and I have this relationship, I could call home and say, “Mom I’m going to buy a Subway Franchise on the moon” and she would say, “Aw sweetie that is so great, I’m so proud of you!” Mom I love you! The point here is that kind of encouragement is not always helpful. IN that same lunar Subway situation, a good would mentor would say, “Interesting Caleb, can I ask a few questions about that, like how do your customers get to the moon?” Side note: My mother is brilliant and when her “mom goggles” are not on, she is a great mentor to me.   She is an amazing school teacher and guidance counselor and for 30+ years, she has change the lives of hundreds of people!
  3. Look for someone with your common core beliefs: I think this is very important, while I think you should always be humble enough to accept advice from anyone willing to give it; you should carefully consider their advice before you use it. The biggest consideration in my opinion is, “Does this person share my convictions and beliefs?” I had the opportunity to meet with a young man trying to make his way into the real estate world. He sought the advice of an older more experienced developer as a “mentor”. It was not long until he realized that their views on the appropriate way to do business were very different. The young man definitely wanted to make money but not at the expense of anyone else, and his so called mentor felt that each person was responsible for taking care of themselves and so if someone else let him take advantage of them then it was their own fault. Needless to say that relationship did not last long.

The mentor/mentee relationship can be a very powerful tool. Imagine if that is the way your department worked. Every new hire, every mid-level manager, every supervisor was being mentored and mentoring for someone else in the office. Zig Ziglar said it best, “The best way to get what you want is to help others get what they want.” To the wise, how can you help someone without as much wisdom? To the inexperienced, how can you humbly ask someone to share their wisdom? Answering those questions my change your life.

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088 
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact Caleb

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Develop your company culture with PRIDE

cultureI have walked into many companies and after working with their current employees and found myself saying, “Man, I would love to work here.” I have also found myself on just as many occasions saying the opposite.  So I started to ask myself, “What makes these companies different? Why is one company able to attract someone that is not even in the same industry and the other totally repel me?” I think that is a question many employers have to start asking if they want to attract high quality people.

employeesWhat would it look like for you as an employer to have such a name in your community that you never had to look for good people?  How would your business be affected if you had people competing to get a spot at your company? What would it look like to have a business that people, even Millennials, were willing to relocate to be a part of?

Not only do I think this is possible, but I think for you have a legacy company that you intend to span the test of time, it will be a necessity to be that kind of company. Now you may be saying, “Caleb, that sounds lovely but it sounds like a lot of work.” Well, it is!   It is worth it though and according to Greg Smith of Chart Your Course International, it is as easy as having PRIDE. Yes pride. Let me explain. In a great article, that Smith wrote for Businessknowhow.com he explains his acronym P – R – I – D – E. His article is great so I won’t try to make it better but here is the gest.

Positive work environment

Recognizing and reinforcing right behavior

Involve and Engage

Develop Skills and Potential, and

Evaluate.

The article does a great job explaining and giving great statics around each of these points but it boils down to this. To attract good people, you need a company that has happy, respected, trained employees. It is worth the effort to create this. My best take-away from his article for you readers is this, create a culture and the protect it!

culture.jpgI believe that creating a culture that engages, cultivates and produces good relationships is easier than you think. Rewarding people does not have to be expensive as much as thoughtful. Smith writes about one company where the CEO lets the employee of the month borrow his car for a whole week! How awesome is that to be cruising through town in your boss’s car for a week. For the record, it was a nice car, I don’t think anyone is lining up to drive a Camry around for a week but the point is that while it might not cost a lot in dollars, it will take time and commitment from all the leaders in the company. Over 40% of people said in an exit interview that they were leaving their employer but they loved their job. The reason they were leaving?!?! Drum roll please… The people! In fact, most of those people said they were leaving due to their direct supervisor. Training for yourself and your managers on how to properly lead people and encourage them through their career is crucial to this culture creation.  Great salaries, unmatchable benefits, tuition reimbursement, gym memberships…none of that will keep your employees in place if the person they work for is a bad communicator and comes across like Hitler in high heeled shoes.

Once you have started creating this culture, you will have to protect it! Companies who are successful creating this atmosphere have to spend equal time keeping the “Debbie downers” from trying to ruin it. Dave Ramsey talks about this in his, EntreLeadership, series when he discusses their zero tolerance policy for gossip. To prevent division in his team, he says that if you gossip you are fired. No second chances, no warning, no nothing! I have heard of other companies that allow the entire team to have a crack in the interview process to make sure that everyone thinks they can work effectively with the candidate, and another firm I have read about offers referral rewards to its employees if they can recommend a good candidate that fits the company culture. Point being, “If you build it, they will come!” If you lose it, they will leave! (Guys I’ve been looking for a way to put that quote in writing for years now!! Sorry back to the point.) You have to be selective and protective but if you spend the time to create this culture you will have the luxury to be as picky as you want.

People, Process, and Product are noted and made famous by Marcus Lamodus, host of CNBC’s show The Profit. You know your product, hopefully you have a handle on your process, but if you don’t start getting the right people, you still won’t get to eat your pie. Be selective, have PRIDE, and start it from the top of the corporate latter all the way down. Soon you will have a thriving workforce of great people going great places!

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088 
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact Caleb

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The Costs of Employee Turnover

turnoverYou have heard time and time again how much it costs to replace good employees. I would argue it costs more to replace bad employees that you shouldn’t have hired in the first place, but that’s a different post. The truth is that there is nothing more exciting that having all the right people on the bus sitting in the right seats, and conversely there is nothing more demoralizing than losing a member of a team and having to replace them. Not only do you lose momentum but you lose money too! It actually costs you money to replace employees.

Dr. Kim Ruyle, hosted a webcast on this subject for members of SHRM a national society of Human Resource professionals. In his presentation, he explained that while costs may vary in replacing an employee. To calculate the true costs, you must consider the following variables:

Costs to off-board current employee
+
Costs-per-hire for replacement
+
Transition costs, including opportunity costs, training, loss revenue until full performance is reached
+
Costs from long-term disruption of talent pipeline

To be less scientific about it, the estimate to replace an average employee is 6-9 months’ salary in recruiting and training alone. So picture this, you hire a manager at $50,000 per year, if you fail to engage, grow, and connect with that manager, it will cost you $37,500 to replace them plus the salary of the new hire and loss of income from the turnover.

Are you starting to see the tangible value of developing your culture and your personnel? This cost is exponentially higher when we are talking about losing key employee or position that require special skills. Paige Robinson, Founder and CEO of Will Reed Jobs says, “Replacing talent is expensive and extremely disruptive. Companies are faced with the costs of talent acquisition, as well as, the loss of momentum on key projects. There is rarely a good time for a company to lose key personnel.”

So what can you do to keep good employees? I think there are 3 fundamentals that cause employees to want to stay. These are assuming you have the basic standards met. Example: You have to be competitive in benefits. You cannot create a culture of loyalty and lasting relationships if your people are being under-provided for based on the market value of their skill or talent. Assuming that the compensation package you offer is in line with your employees’’ skills, there are other ways to make your employees want to “stay put”.

  1. Stop assuming they are going to leave you. I see this a lot, where an employer acts off what they assume to be true. “Well, these millennials change jobs almost every 18 months so I should not invest too heavily in them because then I’ll be training my competition.” Listen, I’m sorry you’ve been burned before. This mentality generally comes honest to a boss that invested heavily in someone that burned them, but this thought process is a self-fulfilling prophecy.   When you assume employees are going to leave you, then don’t invest in their long-term success, the employees feel that you aren’t investing in their future with your company, so they leave to find someone who will put faith in them. If you are start giving people the benefit of the doubt, you will for sure get burned, but you will also find and the cream of the crop this way.
  2. Set a path. It doesn’t matter how small or large your company is, employees need to be able to see where they can go. I know the corporate ladder analogy comes with a negative connotation but it has positives too. Employees, especially Millennials, are competitive with themselves and extremely goal-oriented. Show them from the beginning what growth within your company looks like. Show them that with hard work, experience, and time they can get from point A to B then to C, D, E, and F. They need to feel like they always have a chance to achieve something better. For goodness sakes please don’t say things like, “Well you gotta earn your keep before you can advance in this company!” No one is asking for a handout or to skip in line, the next generation employees just want to know if they perform that will you honor your word and allow them to climb the ladder? The great thing about this new generation is that they actually work harder longer if they have something to work toward.   Dangle the carrot.
  3. Show their vision and impact. I told a story of a deckhand that shoveled coal into the engine of steam boat at a leadership summit we held in Mobile, AL earlier this year. The jest of the story is that his job boring, hot and overall pretty terrible, but at the end of the trip the captain calls him up to the bridge and looking out at the dock said this, “Look what you’ve done. Because you were willing to shovel all that coal we made it here safely, and all these families have been reunited. All that cargo for all those businesses made it here and created even more jobs in the community. None of this would have been possible if you weren’t willing and able to shovel that coal.” How do you think that employee felt then? Energized? Appreciated? Loyal? You bet your BB  Q sandwich he did and the same is true for your company. Your employees that aren’t on the front line need to see the impact and the long-term vision they are sweating for. Show them what the company they work for stands for and promise them that if they stay they will be part of the change you are determined to make.

Some companies spend time and resources on planning to replace employees that leave. What if instead that time and budget was spent to create bonds with the current workforce so they don’t want to leave. Starting acting like employees will stay long-term and stop treating them like temporary desk occupants, give them a path to success and a picture of what their future can be, and show how the company vision makes an impact coupled with your sincere appreciation for their hard work. Not only will your company culture improve but these warm fuzzies will reduce your turnover and actually save you money.

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088 
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
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The Millennial Mindset – Bridging the Gap

mindsetI am member of the largest, most misunderstood generation this country has ever seen.   Millennials are different than our predecessor generations. We expect a lot from people and from companies.   The stereotype for us is that we addictively play video games and we bounce jobs like we don’t know where we are going or what we want.  We are painted as entitled, lazy, and “know-it-all’s”. And if you are a Millennial, you will read that and cringe because you don’t like how you are automatically portrayed; but you will also personally know of people your age who behave exactly just that way. Let’s face it. 90% of Millennials are making the other 10% look bad!

The reality for many “baby boomer” business owners is that the Millennials are in line to inherit the next generation of your businesses.   That means the company you own or work for right now might be run by one of those nitwit 20-30 somethings in the next 10-20 years. Consider that for a moment, the youngest baby boomer will turn 65 in 2029, that’s only 13 years away.

The issue for management is two-fold.

  1. How do employers attract the 10% of Millennials that are already on the right path?
  2. How do companies create a culture that can motivate their other Millennials (the 90%) to live up to their potential?

Education for both groups is paramount.   Improving communication to allow for real collaboration between a multi-generational workforce will mean ultimately the success or failure of many companies over the next 10 years.   Human Resource departments have to address these issues in now in 2016 not 2020 and certainly not 2029.

Three ideas Millennials want you to know about them.

  1. Look backwards: To better understand this younger generation, consider the environment they grew up in. Author of the book Sticking Points, Hayden Shaw, calls this history “Ghost Stories”. On September 11, 2001, I was sitting in 9th grade Spanish Class when a teacher ripped open our door and frantically yelled at my teacher, “We’ve been attacked in New York.” We watched as our country mourned and then rallied together and, if only for a moment, that sense of community was immensely strong and it stuck with us in a profound way. While still in our formative years, our nation endured what is the worst attack against the country ever and we had to figure out what to take away from it.   We were taught as kids to expect a toy in every meal, have never known anything but technology growing and regrowing every 12-18 months.   New technology gets us incredibly excited but outdated technology is disproportionately more upsetting. We watched our country’s economy grow by leaps and bounds through the 90’s only to graduate from college in 2008 and watch hundreds of companies’ layoff hundreds of thousands of people each month. In that recession, there was no loyalty. Loyalty cost money and companies literally couldn’t afford loyalty. We saw that. We made note of it.   We watched our parents, our aunts, uncles, and our parents’ friends get laid off after years of service for their companies. Now, don’t get mad yet, I’m not bashing companies for doing what they needed to do to survive but I’m trying to get you to see that our lack of loyalty was born from what we learned about employers and companies during the breakdown in 2008. We are the first generation with helicopter moms and participation trophies. We were literally programmed to believe that we deserve more and to not be afraid to ask for it.  So when we want more, we do just that.
  2. Learn to speak our language: We may use the same words as everyone else but we certainly have our own language. Communication is not the same now as it was for most baby boomers when they entered the workforce. Millennials require a bit of finesse. Have you ever heard the saying, “Say no by saying yes”? This was a phrase taught to me in my first sales training class in Houston, TX. The concept is that when someone asks you for something that you cannot, or will not give them, you counter their request by offering something that you are willing to do instead of just saying no. Just because we are needy and feel entitled to ask for too much too soon does not mean that you have to comply, but instead of saying a flat “No”; what if you said it a different way? Now if something is company policy then you should not be expected to bend those rules, but I will challenge you with this. If you are going to play the card, “It’s company policy”, you should know why that is the policy. Is the company actually better off because of that policy or is that just way it has always been done? You can count on the fact that the Millennial employee is going to ask, “Why?” Let’s look at an example. One hot topic recently has been a flexible work schedule/environment. While there is lots of data that shows flexible work hours increase productivity, let’s just assume that your company can not comply with this request. Instead of giving a flat NO to the request, what if you said, “That’s an interesting question and I’ve been asked about it a few times now. Would you be willing to put together some data for me on how that might look logistically for everyone? Build a case and let’s look at it together. I can’t promise anything because we’ve never done this before but I’m willing to look into it.” This doesn’t hold you liable for anything and you might be surprised by what you learn, but ultimately you have allowed them to figure out how it will or will not work on their own. It is just as likely as not that they are going to realize the “Why” during their research and accept that it will not work OR worst case scenario, they figure out how it could work and it increases your productivity, morale and rapport with all employees.   Now, if you are a boss that thinks, “Whatever I say goes and they need to deal with it”, I would be willing to bet you have high turnover, low employee morale, and probably no loyalty in your workforce. You may have to step out of your comfort zone to learn to speak our “language” but the benefits are immeasurable when you consider what it means if you don’t.
  3. Mentor Us: Millennials have what I call “Google Syndrome”. You call it being a “know-it-all”, but it’s the same thing. I timed myself, and in 90 seconds I learned the circumference of the Earth (24,901 miles), the number one sales tip by New York Times, “It’s not what you say, it’s what your customer believes”, I learned the weather forecast for the next 10 days and I learned quite a bit about the best commercial doors you can put in a school for both safety and quality. Between Google and Millennials, we literally do know almost everything. The problem is getting us to see that knowledge does not equal ability. I know how to lift 500 pounds, I’ve watched a video on proper form, but I still cannot lift 500 lbs. Your Millennials need a mentor. They need someone who is willing to harness their enthusiasm and energy and direct it through wisdom. Wisdom = knowledge + experience. Walk softly here though. Be careful to not belittle us. If you are going to breakthrough to a Millennial, you cannot treat them like a kid and say things like, “Just because you read an article on how to do this doesn’t mean you can do it. That takes experience.”  Our mental response is very likely to be, “Well get out of the way and let me try it!” Those failures are ugly. They get lots of press in large companies and do no good.   Instead, set up some opportunities for “controlled fails”.   You are right that we probably can’t do something but at least we read the article, at least we tried to learn.   Don’t kill that enthusiasm, direct it. If you start looking at your workforce as a group of mentees and not employees, you will go much further.

We aren’t as bad as you think and you will need to figure out how to engage us soon if you haven’t already. As a self-proclaimed ambassador for my generation, I promise I’m going to work my hardest to kick us into a new gear. If you are willing to work to attract, harness, and communicate with Millennials, your company will have an almost endless supply of innovation and energy that when guided correctly will literally change the world!

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088 
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
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Developing The Human Resource

dev hrNo, I do not mean the HR department. I literally mean the Human as a Resource. I recently read a quote from a Fortune 100 CEO that said, “Everyone is trying to come up with the right plan, the right plan to grow and prosper, but truth is there are 100 different plans, all of which could work. It’s not the plan that matters as much as the people! We have to get the right people and give them what they need if we are going to succeed.” I have the very distinct pleasure to work with HR professionals on a regular basis and after several years of working with them, all across the southeast, I am concerned that for many companies the HR department has been transformed into a crisis management and staffing department and not what it could or should be.

As companies grow it seems their HR teams get so bogged down with the requirements of keeping the firm running that they no longer have time to actually develop their second most valuable resource, the people working there! Checkout the blog post “The Details” to hear what the number one most valuable resource is. We work for a lot of companies that say, “We went to bed small and woke up big.” They feel kind of like Tom Hanks in that movie BIG. They wish and wish and wish then instead of going home they put their nose to the grind stone.   They hustle for years and then when they look up they are big! I had one CEO owner say in a 401(k) review meeting, “Wait! We have 104 employees? Since when? Geez I guess were not so mom and pop anymore.”

This is happening all over. Companies are growing so fast that HR professionals are having to work like staffing and benefits firms and not like developers of the human resources (employees) and I have stats to prove it! NERD ALERT! Sorry but you should’ve known that you were not getting through an entire post without some nerdy stats. In a Harvard Business Review study from 2015, 61% of over 2900 company leaders’ interviewed said that Training and Developing was one of the most important tasks required of their HR departments, but when those same leaders were asked to rank HR job tasks in order of priority, Training and Development came in 11 out of 16!! Anybody see a problem here? Above that when the same study ranked above-average companies in growth, it recognized they were all engaged in some type of training and development program.

This is what I want you to think about today. If we acknowledge that training and developing your Human Resources is so important, but we also see that most HR teams are too busy or pulled in too many different directions to implement the needed T&D, then we have presumptively left it up to our new hires to “better themselves”. Effectively, this means two things, both of which are problematic for employers.

  1. By skimping on training and developing your employees, you are saying to them, “We are not invested in your long-term success. We needed a widget builder today. We will see if we need a widget manager tomorrow and maybe you’re the girl. We’ll see.”   You are demotivating them by communicating that you don’t have a long-term plan for them as employees. What they need to hear from you is that you appreciate what they are doing and you want to give them ways to grow within YOUR company.
  2. It leaves employees then to their own devices. Not all of your employees want to be the widget manager or even Widget CEO, but the ones that do are the ones that you want around for a long time. If they are not offered ways to get better at work, they will look for ways to get better elsewhere and the side-effect of that can be decreased loyalty. I know this sounds bad and stereotypical but it’s true and I can say it because I am referring to your Millennials and I am one. – I was 3 when BIG came out!

the-big-piano-at-fao-schwarz.jpgSo as we grow, it is easy to push training and development of your employees down below hiring and crisis management, but I fear that is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Lack of training and development leads to higher turnover rates, which leads to the need for more hiring. Untrained employees lead to more crisis which take more HR time in crisis management and on and on and on. In conclusion, we know that this does apply to all companies, in fact, I know some companies that read this probably only have a one-person HR team and they may conveniently also be the owner, but it’s time to focus again on Human Resource – the individuals.  You have challenges today that your predecessors did not have, having 10,000 millennials entering the work force every day, but you also have a beautiful opportunity so take advantage of it. Mine your resources. Protect them. Value them.

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088 
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
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