One of the things I get to do as an employee retention speaker and employee retention author is meet a lot of great people. For those of you who may not know, I started my business 12 years ago as a “headhunter.” I still do head hunting to this day and as a result I speak to potential candidates all the time. I also get asked to give guidance to the friends and relatives of clients because of my expertise. Recently, I had the opportunity work with a young guy who spent several tours in Iraq with the US Army. As a veteran myself, I never hesitate because I feel that we owe a debt of gratitude to these young people who have served our country.
This young guy is in the process of applying for apprenticeships in the skilled trades and needed help with his resume and some guidance on the interview process. Through our work together we got to know each and talked about our experiences. What I learned reinforced the things that my speaking colleague, Randy Wilinski, and I talk about in our program “Making Millennials Great.” Too many leaders in organizations complain about the millennials, throw up their hands and say they are a lost cause. I don’t buy that for a minute. If many of the millennials have struggled it is a result of how they were raised and the school systems that have educated them. They weren’t just instantly adults. We also forget that the same people that are complaining about many of them are the same people that raised this generation. After all, they had to come from somewhere!
What I saw when I worked with this young guy was incredible potential and the ability to learn. Like most young people of any generation they sometimes want it faster and think it will be easier than it is. But, he did listen and is starting to get it. He will make one hell of a skilled trades person when he gets hired on as an apprentice and, even then, someone will have to guide and mentor him which is why he will be an apprentice for 4 years.
When I hear leaders complaining that they can’t find good people and that they can’t keep them, this employee retention speaker and employee retention trainer wants to tell them that the talent is there; you just have to bring it out and then do the right things to keep them and your employee retention issues will go away. And now for the rest of the story. This young man spent 6 years in the army and had two tours in Iraq. While he was there her manned a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a vehicle as they transported troops and ammunition in a combat zone. He is the real deal. So are many of his generation. When he gets hired as an electrical apprentice, he will get the job done just like he did in Iraq. What employers need to do is what Randy and I say when presenting “Making Millennials Great.” It’s time to stop complaining about the millennials and do something about it!