Are millennials an untapped resource for small businesses?
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As many as 40% of recently graduated Millenials (the generation of people born from 1980 to 2000) who are in the workforce are currently underemployed or lacking some of the skills needed to get on a career path, despite their education. Many of them are loaded down with student debt or living back at home.
Consequently they are eager for opportunities to earn a living and get started on a life track, but many companies are not offering it to them.
For the companies that aren’t hiring or investing in this generation, what’s going to happen to them in the future when this massive population of workers becomes a constantly larger and more influential force within the economy?
There’s a great opportunity for small businesses to take on the challenges of hiring and training the young graduates that bigger businesses are ignoring and overlooking. The windfall from this investment could be massive.
Small business insurance company Insureon, led by CEO Ted Devine, believes that Millenials are a potentially huge resource for small businesses to utilize and has a few tips on how to incorporate them into a business.
The first key is that because Millenials are so educated, they are far more responsive to collaborative efforts and understanding the why behind an action or policy. If you are looking for employees that quickly obey and observe corporate policies without questions or concerns then they may not be a great fit for your workforce. This is a smart and somewhat arrogant workforce, despite their lack of real life expertise.
However, if you teach them the why of what you’re doing they’ll take ownership over the essential practices of a business. Explaining to these young graduates the why behind the what empowers them and appeals to their self-perception as intelligent and capable of seeing through rubbish from older generations. Because of their educational background and growing up in the information age they are like sponges, eager to soak up the knowledge previous generations might have ignored.
Another feature of the Millenials, which can potentially pay big dividends for businesses that hire them, is their love of collaboration. This generation has big dreams and visions for what they can accomplish and are eager to prove themselves if given the chance.
Devine has found that open door policies and getting out amongst the workers empowers his young employees to offer insight and collaboration that has drastically improved products and services.
The reason many of these Millenials haven’t found work is that they possess degrees with little marketable value. There are a limited number of modern jobs that a Liberal Arts degree directly prepares a graduate to take on, but there is an abundance of graduates with these degrees. However, these graduates have one major skill that is constantly overlooked by employers looking to immediately fill needs; they are well skilled and versed in how to learn.
For a small business that’s willing to invest the time and resources, many of these potential employees with seemingly useless degrees can become quickly trained with the skills they’ll need and will then be more likely to have loyalty to the company than the young hire with the necessary skills who’s hoping to hop around and climb the ladder.
Finally, the fact that Millenials often have large amounts of debt from student loans and stress from living at home makes them a potentially fanatical workforce eager for the chance to be productive and become established in the adult world.
Which person is more likely to overcome an obstacle in life? The person who already possesses some of the skills to do so? Or the person who lacks skills but is exceptionally driven to succeed? Which would you place a bet on?
Sooner or later, the innovations and efforts of the Millenial generation are going to define the US economy and business world. Are you going to be invested when that happens?
Ian Daniel writes for Insureon.com a world class insurance brokerage.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.