This year, the Millennial generation has officially become the nation’s largest living age group, even surpassing the Baby Boomers, according to The Pew Research Center. You are inevitably experiencing this shift in your architecture or engineering firm already since interns and young engineers bring a different skill set and worldview to the table.
Here is an inside perspective from a Millennial myself that will help you understand the next generation, and capitalize on our strengths for the future success of your business.
We want to make a difference in the world more than we want job security. We don’t want our company’s number one focus to be on just making money; we get passionate about making a positive change in the world around us. In the A/E/C environment, working probono for non-profits is something to get excited about. We think LEED initiatives are actually worth investing in, rather than just an expensive headache. Joining a team Habit for Humanity build is what we crave.
You want to attract passionate employees who want to stay. This is important because most Millennials expect to stay in their job fewer than three years, according to Red Brick Research’s Millennial Survey. Attracting personnel with similar passions as your company will give you those future leaders.
We love technology and know how to use it. As the first generation to grow up with the Internet, we embrace technology and are active on social media. To attract a new generation to your firm, you have to go where they are. According to a recent Microsoft survey, 80% of companies are now using social media and 95% of those are using LinkedIn. Keep your social media pages up to date for your firm and use the right media to attract Millennial talent.
Social media is just that. Social. If your company hides behind a big corporate presence but isn’t personable or relatable, it is a turn-off. Millennials want to know who you are, and how we can connect with what you’re passionate about.
One of the best ways to connect is by starting a blog. Your marketing director would classify this as content marketing, which is also good for business. You have employees with years of experience who are experts in their field. You also have Millennials who would love to share their ideas. Give them a medium to talk about their knowledge of new technology, best practices, or just what an ordinary day looks like at your organization. This benefits current employees and provides better visibility for your firm with potential clients. It really is win-win.
We want a mentor to help us with professional development. Gone are the days of having a faculty advisor guide you through the course catalog and assure you that your degree would be in hand in four (or more) years. And life after college is a big question mark. Having someone who has been through it before and can illuminate opportunities for professional development that can also fill in gaps in your firm’s weaknesses can be crucial. Would having a project manager with PMP after their name help your company? Does having an RCDD certified employee on your team expand your MEP firm’s ability to bid jobs? Start grooming those young employees today to fill in the needs of your company for tomorrow.
Millennials also crave constant and consistent feedback. Make an effort to provide weekly, meaningful conversations. We’re not looking for constant praise, just a baseline of how we’re doing and how to improve. Just like school, we have been groomed to gauge our performance on a grade. We still need that grade so we know how we’re doing.
We need patience. There will be a wide range of professional expectations and differences of perception between the ages of your employees. Be flexible with those of us you hire, and capitalize on our strengths. Take us to the big meetings for a fresh approach. Listen to our ideas on technology. Throw us into the deep end. But most importantly, trust and respect the next generation, and we will return the favor.
About the Author: Matt Fann graduated from The Citadel in 2012 and works as an electrical engineer at DWG, Inc. Consulting Engineers. Having a passion for engineering and management, he aslo received a Master’s degree in Project Management from The Citadel in 2016.
PSMJ is always looking to publish diverse views on issues and trends in the A/E/C industry. We invite you to submit a 500-word post on any industry-related topic. We look forward to hearing from you.
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