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Agrimarketing : Agribusiness Employer Guide 2008
AGRIBUSINESS EMPLOYER GUIDE THE MYSTERY BEHIND MILLENNIALS: WHATTHEY CAN CONTRIBUTE, HOW THEY CAN PREPARE by Cynthia Hoffman, AgCareers.com T hey are technologically savvy. They are innovative. They are achievement-orientated. They are Millennials. Millennials, the generation born from approximately 1981–2000 — the students of today, have also been called self-centered, disloyal, and over confident. But no matter what we call them, Millennials are an important part of the workforce and offer employers a lot of opportunities. In addition to Millennials, there are currently three other generations present in the workforce: Traditional- ists — those born before 1946, Baby Boomers — those born from 1946–1964, and Generation X — those born from 1965 to 1980. Each generation is different, and being able to understand and work with those differences is vital to an organization’s success, said Melinda Mullenix, Human Resources Ser- vices Manager for AgCareers.com. Mullenix said the Millennials make up 10% of the current work- force. That number is important as the Millennial generation will have to help fill the positions vacated by retiring Baby Boomers. Mullenix said 75% of agribusiness employers will see one to five percent of their work- force retire in the next one to two years, and 10% will see six to ten per- cent exit the workforce during that same time period. So if the Millennials are here to stay, what can they bring to the table? WHAT THEY HAVE TO OFFER If they are taken seriously, Millenni- als can be very beneficial to the orga- nization, said Alexandra Levit, President of the career consulting firm Inspiration at Work and author of “Success for Hire — Simple Strategies to Find and Keep Outstanding Employees.” 8 “They are highly entre- preneurial and aren’t content to go with what has always been done,” she said. “They relish responsi- bility. They thrive on chal- lenging work, creative expression and innovation.” Levit points out that the Mil- lennial genera- tion is relatively inexpensive labor, but they can con- tribute a lot. She said from a cost- benefit perspective, they are very valuable to an organization. Mullenix said that it’s important for the generation to feel valuable. She said they appreciate when their ideas are considered because they need to feel like they have provided something to the organization. “They need to be given tasks that they consider meaningful in order for them to see how they contributed to the overall finished product,” Mullenix said. “They like to be chal- lenged and treated with respect.” Heather Anderson, Western Field Representative for Ontario Holstein, agrees that the Millennial generation likes to be challenged. Anderson falls between the younger two generations. She is the youngest of a five-member team that works specifically with the Ontario Holstein branch. She said the younger generations bring many things to the workplace. “The younger generations bring flexibility, the willingness to learn PigCHAMP employees Bob Brcka (Baby Boomer) and Jessica Drey (Millennial) have learned to work together despite their generational differences. The two said that at times it can be challenging, but each generation provides a different asset to the organization. knew things and knowledge about technology and how to maximize it,” she said. Anderson said the younger gen- erations are also known for asking a lot of questions. She said sometimes these traits can create conflict in the workplace, because they differ from the traits of older generations. “I think it is hardest to work with the Traditionalists and older Baby Boomers because they are unaware of all of the technology out there, or they find it difficult to operate it,” Anderson said. “It’s difficult to con- nect with this generation as it would seem to them that we are know-it- alls, but sometimes we just under- stand technology better.” BABY BOOMER MEETS MILLENNIAL To prevent misunderstanding between generations, communica- tion is key, said Bob Brcka, General Manager at PigCHAMP, a software company for the swine industry. “I think both employers and Mil- lennials need to recognize that you can’t assume that you are always
May 2008 Supplement
Canadian Agribusiness Employer Guide 08