As a leader, you’ll do more “reigning in” than “pushing along”.

Forget about marketing to millennials, how do we employ (and keep!) them?

McRee Ford has effectively removed the stigma from discussion by nurturing their millennial employees’ unique competencies. Wondering how to leverage this growing subset of employee? Here’s their list of the 10 things a dealership must do to engage, inspire, and retain millennial power-players—as taken from the McRee Ford Playbook:

  1. Define the what, not necessarily the how. Allow them to “Begin with the End in Mind” (Stephen Covey), and embrace their creativity along the way. A millennial will work against a deadline and ensure completion, but needs very little guidance on specific courses of action. They’re resourceful by nature.
  2. Mentorship over management. Pair them with a senior leader in the business to facilitate their welcoming into the company culture. They’ll have the tools and the skill set you hired them for, but it’s incredibly important to ensure a seamless integration into the existing culture from the people-side, as well as the processes.
  3. Allow them to build a team across multiple natural groups. Even when not directly tied to the job or task at hand, the millennial has developed professionally through including multiple skill sets and perspectives- encourage them to engage employees from all different facets of the dealership.
  4. Embrace their self-efficacy. Millennials have been told their entire life that they can take on the world, and they will attempt to do so; just be prepared to harness and refine their focus from time to time. As a leader, you’ll do more “reigning in” than “pushing along”.
  5. If they touch it, they’ll want to change it. Don’t become frustrated with their consistent questioning of convention, millennials are by nature Socratic in approach. Try not to become defensive when questioned, they’re merely seeking to understand.
  6. Put more on their plate than you think they can handle…they’ll like it. Millennials have become accustomed to coordinating multiple efforts at once on a level that most employers haven’t experienced. Thanks in large part to electronics and constant access to information. If they’re not making eye contact—they’re already focused on the next project.
  7. Be flexible! Be prepared for an increased need for a work-life balance that previous generations haven’t had, or simply haven’t expressed. If responsibilities and project expectations are clear, the millennial employee may “push the envelope” with your absence policy or flexible work schedule options because they grew up with technology that allows them to be productive from places other than the traditional office. Don’t change your policies, just be prepared for the questions.
  8. They’re not job searching. They’re networking! The millennial generation will network and engage other professionals like no generation before. As they facilitated the evolution of Facebook and LinkedIn, they have the expectation of being constantly connected and get nervous when they’re not. This can be beneficial in your recruitment tactics. As in the cases above, one millennial will attract others.
  9. Listen to them. Dealership Operations are never at a point where it’s easy to change processes or procedures, and the millennial employee will understand that. When they approach leadership with an idea, suggestion, or question, sometimes all they’re looking for is a sign that their thoughts are valued…which comes from active listening. “Conversational Leadership” will help define the millennial generation, and it will require your focus and receptivity.
  10. Set them free. Millennials thrive on autonomy, and the more trust that they feel in their leadership relationship the more inspiration to create change they’ll have. When a millennial is having fun, results are in the making. Understandably, trust isn’t something that can be issued upon hiring like a uniform, but if your hiring process is targeting the right skill sets and establishing values alignment—your millennial employee will thrive in your organization.


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2 Responses to “Decoding the Millennial Skill Set”
  1. I agree with a lot of this, being a Millennial myself. Starting in a new company recently – I have found myself with a gap in my belonging with this company because of the way I was introduced. There was no introductions, no pairing with management, and due to this, I feel I do not fit.

    In regards to mentor-ship. This is 100% accurate. I left my previous roll because I was micro-managed. As this article states, I am flexible, I am capable of working from anywhere, and because of my tie-ins to the digital world, I am super productive when I receive the level of independence, flexibility and support I need/want.

    The issue I have now, is because of the lack of flexibility at this new location, I feel bounded. The envelope is sealed and there is no modifying structure or process and I feel like the way this operates is set back 20-years.

    But this article is fantastic. It is absolutely accurate and I truly hope that management reading this seriously considers the tips in this article. Because with all of these items in place, you would have someone like myself, a millennial – highly skilled, fast paced and ready to work at their disposal.

    Lastly, the only other thing missing is a succession plan. I noticed in my past two jobs, a succession plan was non-existent. I work and learn to move forward in my career, make more money, earn more flexibility and take on more responsibility. This is a major plus when hiring a millennial as we like knowing there is a plan and we have not hit a ceiling.


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