This year’s NSCA Business & Leadership Conference had two separate break-out sessions, one on each full day. Day one offered a session I knew that I had to attend, “A Multigenerational Look at Business Development.”
Not only did the session include a speaker, Seth Mattison, but also two great AV professionals, Brock McGinnis, a seasoned AV sales pro from Westbury National, and Kelly Perkins, a Millennial and the marketing director for AVI Systems.
Over the course of the hour and a half session, the audience was encouraged to engage with the panel. Subjects like pride in work onboarding and assumptions were popular topics of discussion. However, the main themes to take away from this session were taking the time for training, clear expectations, and communications.
The Millennial generation has been in the workforce for a decade or more at this point. Most companies have a process to train new recruits as they start their new positions. Even green Millennials may come in thinking they know a certain amount about AV, your company, and even your customers thanks to the information available to them via the Internet. This knowledge, however, doesn’t mean Millennials shouldn’t be trained, it actually means companies need to do so more deliberately.
“We need to take the time to train and onboard new people,” said Perkins during the panel discussion.
One comment that came from the audience on more than one occasion was the mention of the Millennial generation lacking pride in their work. What came of the discussion was to not “just fire them.”
We discussed the “lack of pride” issue as being one of miscommunications and not giving those workers clear expectations. It isn’t a matter of Millennial workers being lazy or not wanting to finish their work, it is rather a situation where they do not have an understanding of your expectations because they were not explained in a way in which Millennials could grasp.
“You make the assumption that they are like you,” said McGinnis, “We need to change and adapt.”
Finally, we began to talk about communications in earnest, and the exact way in which you should communicate with your team. While discussing the “most professional” way to communicate, Seth Mattison relayed a story from a pair of real estate agents who preferred to communicate via text. The agents went as far as saying a phone call “was rude” as it implied that what you had to say was more important than what they were doing at that moment.
“You need to communicate with (employees and clients) how they want to be communicated with,” said McGinnis.
This is a session NSCA could probably have any given year. The Millennial generation is moving into positions of power and decision making. Generation Z, those born between 1997 and 2008, will graduate college in the next few years and will begin entering the workforce. The Millennial generation will need these talks to learn how to communicate with the next generation as much as we have needed them to learn how to most effectively work with their generation.
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