How to Train (and Retain) Millennial Mechanics
In the year 2020, it is predicted that nearly half (46% to be exact) of the United State’s workers will be millennials. With that being said, you’ll be hiring mostly millennials in the very near future. Born between the 1980s and 2000s, this rapidly growing population is taking over the business world. They are entrepreneurs, technologically-minded, and value knowledge and experience over a degree. Millennials, who are often considered lazy by their elders, are actually go-getters that look for more efficient ways to get things done. They live their lives around quick, 140 characters of information.
For business owners who manage millennials, we often see mistakes such as only offering limited content, not explaining how training is relevant, providing limited feedback, or simply not coaching at all. So how exactly do you train this new breed of mechanics and employees for your auto shop? Here are some tips to training millennial mechanics.
Millennials are notorious for hating structure. Contrary to baby boomers, they like to have freedom to get their work done. When training a millennial it is good to give them some leeway in their schedule. Many millennials agree that flexible hours are a must when looking for a job. They prefer to choose how/when they work. However, be sure to set guidelines so they can be the best mechanic they can be. Guidelines will help create a manager vs. mechanic relationship but will still allow them freedom.
Give them a purpose.
Have you ever completed a task for work and thought, “Why am I doing this?” This happens all the time in various situations. In a school setting, this is often looked as “busy work.” Millennials have grown up with the idea that everything should have a purpose, so give them one. Allow them to work for a purpose, not a paycheck. “Because I said so” just won’t cut it anymore. Explain why that car part needs to be fixed or to always say “my pleasure” after helping a customer. Feedback is also a good way to make them feel like their work is purposeful. Always offer encouragement and make sure you are communicating clearly. Their performance is likely to reflect if the task is meaningful.
Provide continuous training.
Did you know it costs $24,000 to replace a millennial worker? That’s because a millennial requires continuous training. Their goal is not to simply get the job done, but to grow. They are constantly looking for ways to advance. As a leader you should continuously be open to teaching your millennial mechanics new things to help them optimize their skills. Remember, you are the coach and they are hungry to learn!
Use bite-sized lessons/information.
Millennials are built to communicate and understand around 140 characters of information. The world itself has also changed and people are now getting their news from Twitter rather than television sets. When teaching a millennial mechanic, keep information short and and to the point. Some good ideas of bite-sized training lessons include videos, podcasts and quick readings. Millennials love technology so by keeping things digital, they are likely to retain more information.
Give millennials a reason to stay.
Even with the right training in place for millennials, it is still a known fact that millennials entering the workforce do not plan on staying at a company for the next twenty years of their life. With employee retention already being a major pain point for auto repair shops, it is important to put some tactics into place that can help reduce employee turnover (especially for your millennial mechanics). Check out our blog, “Employee Turnover: An Auto Shop’s Nightmare” for some great ideas!
Millennials are taking over the workforce. They are innovators and fast learners and can be extremely beneficial to your auto repair shop. With the right strategy, training millennials can be done efficiently. Because millennials are the future, it is important to train in a manner that is effective for both your auto shop and for the millennial’s own growth. By being flexible, giving them a purpose, providing continuous training, and using bite-size information, you can easily train your millennial mechanic to be an an efficient and diligent mechanic for your shop.