The Next Generation: It’s All About Collaboration

A panel of successful millennials representing Hoffman Brothers, Thermostat Recycling Center, and CFM Distributors spoke to a roomful of HVAC contractors at ACCA’s “Optimize” conference today in a breakout session titled “The Next Generation: It’s All About Collaboration.”

“Millennials,” they said, “are driven by factors that were not the same as generations before them. They are attracted by workplaces that have benefits like flexible schedules, consideration of work-life balance, and provide social impact by making a difference in the community.”

So why is it important to accommodate millennials? Hoffman Brothers stated that half of their hires last year were millennials. With the shortage of technicians and those choosing the trades for occupation, “we HAVE to accommodate them.”

Lauren Roberts, president and CEO of CFM Distributing, commented that in her company, the millennials want to be informed of the direction and goals of the business. They want total transparency. “Share the financial plan and if plan was met or not met. Share where profits are reinvested,” says Hoffman Brothers panelist.

“Sustainability is also important to them,” says the panelist from Thermostat Recycling Corporation. Millennials care about the environment. “They’ll sell high efficiency for you because they believe in it.”

Another question asked to the panel was “Where is most successful place to recruit millennials? And, how do you market to millennials to get them to work for you?”

Overwhelmingly, they panel answered “with referrals!” Suggestions to pay referral incentives employees who refer and to referred. Ways to do this is a sign-on bonus for both parties in the referral process.

Another suggestion was to make your workplace more desirable by “building a work environment where people want to work there,” says CFM Distributors who is employee-owned.

Recruit at trade schools by having a presence there via speaking opportunities, donation of products/services/time and engage with teachers and students. Position yourself as THE company of choice for graduates.

Educate and advertise that contractors offer positions that are not just tech jobs; “we have accounting, marketing and management jobs,” says CFM.

In summary, panelists all spoke that “We have to change perception. Contracting is not just ‘dirty jobs’. It’s for people who just like to serve others–people who like to help people.” They continued, that with the trend in smart homes, it also for people interested in technology. Contracting IS more than just turning a wrench.

Some people are just not cut out for it. It is hard work. But, it does pay well for the small investment a student has to make in school and/or training.

So , what motivates this generation? Here’s what the experts say:

  • Career path they can see and understand
  • Work life balance
  • Want to know the company’s short and long term goals
  • Sustainability and energy preservation through efficiency
  • Community involvement
  • Great pay and benefits
  • Personal and professional development

It was an interesting and valuable session offered by ACCA at their annual conference today. Thank you to the panelists who perfectly represented this generation with their wise insight and sharing of ideas.

Updated: March 4, 2019 — 1:25 pm

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