“I can’t find any good salespeople out there. I even tried to hire some young college kids and that was a mistake,” says Matt, who is a sales director. “I hired a few of them and they just aren’t engaged. They just seem bored.”
Well, they probably are bored. Today, this age bracket looks at things completely different from some of us more experienced in business.
According to a study from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and the Young Entrepreneur Council, millennials are highly ambitious, with a majority of them placing an importance on jobs with chances for career progression and personal growth, as well as freedom and flexibility. Millennials prioritize value and meaning in their work over money – if their jobs are aligned with their passion, they will go the extra mile.
We need to take another look at whom we hire, how we hire and how we train. Our interactions with millennials need to be interactive and fluid.
This generation has had more freedom, which they crave. If you try to put them into your corporate “box,” you will probably fail.
The Entrepreneurial Spirit
Business leaders want creative thinking, drive and some level of risk-taking. Unfortunately, they often are unwilling to make internal changes to create that type of environment, which is especially important to attract and retain millennials.
I have been trying to get organizations to hire salespeople that can be “intrepreneurs,” employees with a true creative entrepreneurial spirit. To obtain this, it is important to give these hires an environment in which they can thrive.
Characteristics that are most often associated with entrepreneurs are: motivated, creative, initiative and risk-taking. They tend not to fit inside the rules and often bend them to make things happen. Do we want these characteristics in our sales organization? You bet.
Create the Right Environment
So what do we do? Here are some changes you’ll need to make in order to find millennials and create an environment in which they can succeed:
” Look on social media for candidates – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Glassdoor.
” Create a casual, open environment that encourages communication and out-of-the-box ideas. Be open to changing the rules if there is a different way of doing something.
” Let them communicate with technology, even if you wouldn’t. Their first choice may be to put something in electronic form and not in person – let it happen.
” Use flex-schedules. Don’t hold them to a 9-to-5 schedule or require them to check into the office. Give them a goal and very long leash to get there.
Make sure you are creating this environment. Today, this generation checks you out in lots of different ways, such as via critiques on Glassdoor.
Millennials are much more productive than they are given credit for. They know how to use technology efficiently. They are committed when their contributions and ideas are encouraged and recognized. They are also superior at communicating your brand. These make them natural recruiters for top talent.
There are lots of good reasons to hire them. ?
Greta Schulz is president of Schulz Business, a sales consulting and training firm. She is a best-selling author of “To Sell is NOT to Sell” and works with Fortune 1,000 companies and entrepreneurs. For more information or free sales tips, go to schulzbusiness.com and sign up for “GretaNomics,” a weekly video tip series, or email sales questions to email@example.com.