Thursday, August 24, 2017

Managing Millennial Maintenance

According to a recent Forrester Research report titled ‘May The Force Of The Millennials Be With You’, your new Millennial maintenance techs are more entrepreneurial, adaptive and collaborative. One of the more (?) stunning insights is that 75% of Millennials sleep with their cell phones next to their bed. The latest generation of maintenance professionals needs more than a buy-a-module-as-you-need-it maintenance management solution. They want it all, right now, so they can explore it, work with it and adapt it to their daily work life. Are you ready?

For our aging Baby Boomer, sometimes low-tech, maintenance workforce, things are set to shift rapidly as Millennials move into those maintenance positions due to retirement and promotion or other attrition. Millennials come with their own ideas, having grown up with technology at their fingertips, about what should be available online, how much interaction with others is actually required to get the job done and why coming into the office every day to pick up a stack of papers is a pointless waste of time. As maintenance managers and supervisors take on this generation of workers, there are three things to keep in mind.

Changing the way things have always been done is bound to cause friction, but the workplace attributes detailed in the study show that Millennials like the freedom to do what they need to do without being micromanaged. This is great news for maintenance leaders who are willing to embrace the Millennial drive and ability to multitask by using tools that allow remote access and updating.

An HVAC system hasn’t likely changed that much through the years, but the ways to measure performance and detect where repair is required have. Be prepared for your Millennial to intuitively know how to use the latest equipment and technology. It’s highly likely you can hand the latest gadgetry to your Millennial workforce and they will want to figure out how to make it work without a lot of instruction or input. You won’t even have to tell them it will make their job easier – they’ll figure it out and let you know if it truly does make their job easier or not. You can make your life easier and use them as your internal beta testers for new products before you make large purchases.

The last thing to keep in mind is that most Millennials are looking for a clear path to promotion. Getting a certification from a professional maintenance management organization makes perfect sense to Millennials, as does accomplishing specific performance metrics. If you set clear expectations, outline a clear path to promotion, and communicate in a transparent way, your Millennial workforce will thrive. The report shows Millennials thrive in environments where they feel connected to their manager’s and understand the goals of the organization. Finding the correct Baby Boomer mentor might be a challenge, but if you get the right combination of mentor/Millennial, both will benefit.

As this new Millennial generation comes into the maintenance workforce, adapting your process will become a necessity. Paper and pencil, sticky notes, and making unnecessary trips to the office only to head back out into the field to do a repair they could have been notified about by text or email, or better yet, on an app, will make for an unhappy workforce with a higher churn rate than you might be looking for. If you need help making changes to your processes, we’re here to help, and have more suggestions about how to get your Boomers and your Millennials to work together and help each other out.