The upcoming Paint, Body and Equipment Specialists (PBES) Conference, May 13-15 in San Antonio, Texas, will present a panel, “Millennials: Hiring, Managing and Making Way for Millennials,” to help better communicate to the industry how to integrate this generation into their daily business.
Millennials are the largest generation in the United States, comprising one third of the population in 2013. From 10 years of work experience to those just starting in their career, millennials are much of the driving forces behind our economy,” said Susan Guyer, director of marketing with FinishMaster. “Regardless of age, encouraging young people to better understand the collision repair industry, and the career opportunities it offers, are critical to growth.”
Michael Rukov, product and marketing manager with One Stop Parts Source, will join the panel to help debunk generational myths and stress the importance of positive millennial relationships in the collision repair industry. Rukov is also the chairman of the Young Auto Care Network Group (YANG), which connects on a daily basis to more than 360 young professionals and millennials in the industry.
“I think it is important to remove some of the myths that people might have about my generation. A lot of these items are just that — myths. We will talk about how to keep and retain young talent,” says Rukov of the upcoming panel, which also includes Guyer; moderator Bill Small, Axalta Coating Systems; Denise Burrell, International DIstributors USA, Inc.; and Ashley Portal, Standard Motor Products.
So what are some of these myths? Guyer first became privy to the myth perceptions when a senior manager wanted to know more about “everything that is wrong with” her generation. Some of her manager’s assumptions included: “You won’t work for a company for more than three years, so there is no point in developing you. You need the latest and greatest technology and are not interested in the company if we cannot offer it. And you want to make your own work hours,” Guyer said.
“You cannot put us all in one category and think we will act the same. Certainly there are some in my generation who fulfill every stereotype you can imagine, but not all. We are each unique, shaped by the experiences at home, at school, and by the economy in which we live,” she said.
Ruskov agrees that millennials warrant attention and are a force to be considered. “Given the right approach, I truly feel that millennials can lead this industry and prove to be a very important part of every decision,” he said.
“My hope is this panel will give attendees a fresh perspective, encouraging attendees to give millennials the opportunity to make their own first impression, work hard and differentiate themselves,” Guyer said. “If we as millennials fail to meet expectations, or worse fulfill the millennial stereotype, tell us. Don’t just throw us in the millennial box and move on to the next; give us a chance to learn.”
The panel will also discuss drivers for growth and millennials’ definition of success; motivators for joining or staying with a company and ideal work scenarios for peer relationships, growth opportunities and culture, among others; their view of key values such as family and community and how they relate to work-life balance; and thoughts on recruiting within the auto care industry.
Connecting with millennials is important in all industries, but especially so in collision repair, Rukov says. “Collision repair is so much closer to the end user. It will be faced with this generation even more than the rest of the automotive industry,” he says. “At the same time, there is a huge shortage of professionals in this segment, and I feel understanding how a millennial thinks will help clear some of the confusion.”
Millennials can also help ensure the continued success of the collision repair segment, Guyer said. “I believe the constant infusion of new ideas and unique perspectives is a driver for the industry. I also believe it is important for millennials to have the opportunity to learn from experienced players in the industry and if we wait too long to recruit, we might lose those opportunities,” she said.
To register for the PBES Conference, click here.
Subscribe to ABRN and receive articles like this every month…absolutely free! Click here to subscribe.