Thursday, June 20, 2013

Why Hire Gen Y and Millennials?

Why Hire Gen Y and Millenials?

Recently at Graff Bay City we’ve begun to hire younger employees, most of which are either Generation Y or Millennials. Why are we concerned with hiring Gen Y and Millennials? The first reason that probably comes to mind is because they are the largest demographic group in our country. But that's not the only reason.

As a product of Generation X, I can confidently say that we need the creativity and the “not overly serious” type of attitude that both Generation Y and Millennials can bring to our workforce. I believe, especially as someone who is a type of a workaholic, that what our younger generation brings to us is a knowledge of balancing work life and home life. I admit that I get frustrated with my children at times because they don't have the same workaholic tendencies as myself and my husband, however they are teaching us to work smarter, not harder.

Growing up in the boom of early to mid-1970's and during the recession in the early 1980's, we didn't have much choice but to work very hard since when we were teenagers jobs were not easy to come by. Our parents were some of the first to have both the husband and wife working in the family and that is where I learned that if you worked hard and had a good head on your shoulders you would go very far. And when it comes to our kids, Generation Y and Millennials are the product of many in my generation and we have taught them that education and good work ethic will provide them a career and lifestyle that they dream of having.

But, a couple of mistakes that I believe we have made raising these children are first, trying to live the life we dreamed of having through our children and second, letting technology replace family time and face to face conversations that are so very important as our children come of age. With that being said I think the Generation X population is very quick to adapt and has learned that we need to teach our children that we are very lucky to have the freedoms we have in our country. Showing them that if they utilize their education, creativity, and good work ethic, there is still a lot of opportunity to make our country even better than what it is today. I see attitudes changing daily, whether it's conversations revolving around limiting technology time with children, focusing on making sure our children experience travel and the outdoors, along with teaching our children to be smart, respectful individuals that bring new ideas and work hard to implement these ideas. I believe it is okay to fail, as long as we learn from those failures.

Most recently, I have been watching my 17 year old son, Jack, work in a position at the dealership that I would normally fill with someone who is 25 years of age or older. This position with the T.E.C. Center (text, email, call center) is normally filled with someone a bit older so that we can ensure a mature attitude, since this position works with our guest first before anyone else in the store. But while experimenting with the T.E.C. Center for the last 2 years we are learning that in this first impression center, it's very important to have several different personalities present. Because, for example, if we want Gen Y and Millennials to eventually use our services and buy our products then we need someone whom they are comfortable communicating with; someone similar age in age to them to greet them first. During this learning process we have already incorporated two team members in this department under the age of 21.

That's not to say it's the perfect solution, Jack certainly makes his share of mistakes, as we all do. But having the opportunity to watch and learn from him, and the younger generations, has taught me that all industries need youth and creativity. Each of our departments now have a very good mix of long term team members (mostly Gen X) and younger team members that we will train and work with to become long term team members. These younger team members will be the ones that will drive us to learn how to communicate with Gen Y and Millennials, and show us why it is important that we do communicate with them. Us Gen X and Baby Boomers in the store definitely shake our heads at times (or should I say SMH) when working with the younger people, but we also see how important it is to have their influence. Even watching this younger generation work with Baby Boomers, we admire their unique ability to adapt to whomever they are communicating with, and do so without losing their individuality.

In coming to a close, this message isn't to say that we all haven't experienced frustration with Gen Y and Millennials, because at times we have. However, I don't blame the whole generation. I believe that with people of any age there are going to be those in the workforce that need more guidance, or have been put in the wrong role for their ability, and then there are going to be those who shine. There's the chance for becoming involved with less than enthusiastic employees no matter what age they are.

I plan to continue to mix our workforce and learn from all ages on our team. As we read in the news that Google, Apple, Intel, and many other technology companies are hiring more Gen Y and Millennials in order to evolve have capacity for a younger workforce. Through this experience, it has showed me that it is crucial for retail and service industries to incorporate our youth if they want to remain successful as the Gen X generation starts to age and we grow out of the Baby Boomer generation.

Take on the challenge and invite the youth into YOUR workforce, you won't be sorry. I also invite our youth to take on the challenge of working with Generation X and the Baby Boomer generation to learn from them the art of communication, negotiation, and great work ethic.

Lisa Rechsteiner
General Manager
Graff Chevrolet, Inc.

Graff Bay City is your Mid-Michigan Chevy Dealer is located at 3636 Wilder Road, Bay City, MI 48706. For more information on Graff Bay City, or for any questions call us at (989) 684-4411 or visit our website at

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