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Millennials Just Don't Get It

Narcissistic. Self-entitled. Lazy. All in all, Millennials just don’t get it. And not only are they tough to work with, they’re even tougher to attract to grow the building products and construction industry workforce.

Well, don’t tell that to Power Home Remodeling Group. This home renovation company recently topped Fortune’s inaugural list of 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials and in doing so, beat out the likes of Google (25th), Twitter (31st), Yelp (41st) and Facebook (not listed).

In addition to ignoring the above mentioned stereotypes of the Millennial generation, Power has built an organization that allows employees to take great pride in their work and constantly challenges them to improve, two characteristics that have proven to be important to Millennials.

And no matter what your opinions are on this polarizing group, the fact is that Millennials will make up 46 percent of the U.S. labor force by 2020, so they can’t be ignored. Here are some ways building products brands can engage and connect with them:

Become Digital Savvy

Millennials’ top three favorite brands are Nike, Apple and Samsung. It’s no coincidence that these three are masters of the digital space. And while not everyone has the same resources as those giants, it’s critical to have a command of your digital world because Millennials research and evaluate career opportunities the same way they buy products: through technology. They demand friction-free experiences for every interaction and that includes everything from reviewing job postings to submitting resumes. Make sure you talk to Millennials on their turf and on their terms, through a variety of channels and devices.

Change Perceptions

Whether it’s your perceived brand or industry, there’s a chance that Millennials have a less than stellar opinion of your company. And if they feel that way, there’s an even better chance they will post, tweet, review, blog or discuss that opinion with their peers. In order to change perceptions, brands need to be part of the conversation. We all recognize the importance of listening to our buying audience, but equally important is being in touch with the perceptions of your past, current and potential future employees and responding to any obstructions in finding and retaining talent.

Power learned this early on and had to actively fight the negative perceptions of the construction industry. Co-CEO Corey Schiller said, “(We’ve been) fighting an industry stigma: that there’s no real scale or professionalism, that it’s a dead-end type of thing, a place for misfits. And for a long time now, I think we’ve been winning that fight.”

Focus on Culture, Not Gimmicks

Office dartboards and pool tables are great, but they shouldn’t be viewed as the backbone of your culture. Instead, focus on the type of workplace environment you want to create including the values and qualities you want your team to represent and attract. Studies show that 88 percent of Millennials prefer a collaborative work-culture rather than a competitive one and 79 percent want their boss to serve as coach or mentor. A culture that aligns with Millennials needs and wants will help you attract great people, produce great work and achieve great results.

The truth is that Millennials do get it. But they have a different set of expectations for the workplace environment and how work should get done. They value ethics over unnecessary praise. A network over a hierarchy. Transparency over secrecy. And building products companies that can meet these expectations will soon get it too.

Topics: Building Products Manufacturing