Proper Training, More Flexibility Critical for Millennial Employees

The times, they are a-changing. It’s just as true now as it’s always been, even if Bob Dylan is more difficult than ever to understand and the folks who first listened to his records are the ones being told to get out of the new road if they can’t lend a hand.

In 2013, more millennials ― generally defined as people born between the mid-1980s and the late 1990s ― are coming into the workplace, and that includes the world of auto finance. A lot of media, including one particularly brutal YouTube video, focus on negative perceptions of Generation Y ― namely that they are lazy, self-centered, and unable to conform to social working norms like showing up on time.

Some auto finance professionals, though, have found the opposite to be true. “Of course you’re going to have challenges with all generations, but I don’t see it as a big issue,” said Toni Buchanan, manager for workforce acquisition at Volkswagen Group of America, which includes the automaker’s various finance units. “I find millenials very engaging. We’ve had some great hires.”

One of the keys for helping managers who work with younger employees, though, is to make sure they get the proper training, Buchanan said.

Appropriate communication is critical, too. For instance, younger workers gravitate toward social networks, and some would never think to pick up a physical newspaper. To that end, lenders should consider texting back and forth between employees, said Southern Auto Finance Co. HR Director Drew Pickens.

Meanwhile, recruiter Don Jasensky, chief executive of Automotive Personnel LLC, pointed out that millennials have different ideas about perks like vacation days. For instance, they are likelier than members of previous generations to expect more vacation time or to be able to buy more extra days to allow for longer trips in the summer. “Those are more common for this generation coming up,” he said. “They’re going to work hard, but they’re going expect some things like that.”

SAFCo’s Pickens also noted that work-life balance is a big issue for millennials, something his company understands. “Based on the pace of our business, [work] tends to take precedence over the personal, but we’re not going to make it so tight that they’re disallowed a personal life,” he said. “The balance leads to a greater commitment and a sense of ownership.”

―Ben Geier

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