A few friends of mine asked me what I meant in an article published in issue three of 2016 referencing millennials. Was I talking about a concern in regards to the clothing, work ethic or overall ideology of this new generation entering the workforce? The answer to each was no. At Muncie Power Products, we are not any more concerned with this generation than those prior; we are excited for them to join us.
My point was not that a problem lies with the millennial generation and its ideology, but that not every trend nor change within society will align with our company culture and we – as leaders – need to evaluate each trend just as those leaders before us. Our company’s success depends on this leadership as rarely is it a generational issue, but a leadership issue. As leaders, it is up to us to pick the right people, train them correctly, involve them, support them and encourage them.
As millennials continue to become more prevalent within the workforce, we’ve seen countless articles written on this generation that have instilled unnecessary concern in many leaders. The truth is, the negative stereotypes portrayed are not representative of the entire, millennial body. Just like in every generation, not all millennials have the same personality nor can they be pigeonholed into a single box. And with defining characteristics like environmental conscientiousness and a desire to find meaningful work – what’s not to like?
A fellow executive once shared with me that one day when he was talking to his company’s HR representative, the employee mentioned that there was a problem. Millennials had been making complaints and were upset because they felt they were being worked too long. To fully ascertain the situation, the executive suggested that he and the HR representative take a walk around the office.
What the executive found was a very different story. None of the employees who were upset or making complaints were, in fact, millennials but baby boomers. It turned out that the HR representative had been so predisposed to the idea that millennials didn’t want to work traditional hours that they assumed these individuals were millennials. Often times we see what our minds are prepared to see, true or not.
And a millennial entering the workforce today is really no different than when a baby boomer or member of any other generation did the same. With millennials, they’re known for their tech savviness, but with each generation we’ve seen a similar dynamic. Senior employees share their knowledge with new employees who in turn help them to understand new tools or ways of doing things more efficiently – typewriters to computers, manual to automated machines, the list goes on and on. Continuing this dynamic with the millennial generation – what’s not to like?
Having these advancements and employees who can utilize them to their fullest, and share their knowledge with others – isn’t something we should be concerned about but excited for and embrace. The millennial generation has a lot to offer and could be the best we have ever seen, but only if we, as leaders, do our part. We need to invest in them in order to give them the knowledge, resources and direction to succeed.
Ray Chambers - Chairman, CEO & President
Ray Chambers joined Muncie Power Products as Vice President of the Tulsa (Oklahoma) Division in 2004. He became President of the company in 2009, and was named to his current position in January 2012. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Wesleyan University and a master’s degree from Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma. He is a thought leader and visionary within the industry.