Standards for customer experience are higher than ever. On each episode of Aquant’s Service Intel Podcast, we sit down with leaders that are raising the bar and creating incredible experiences for their customers. These top names in the industry have all agreed to share what they’ve learned about navigating today’s service landscape so our listeners can not only get inspired, but put their own bar-raising service plans into action.
In a recent episode, we invited Rodger Smelcer, President of United Service Technologies (UST), a leading provider of maintenance and repair services for commercial kitchens, refrigeration systems, and HVAC systems. Rodger shared his insights, based on personal experience, on hiring, retaining, and managing a multigenerational workforce.
Challenges associated with managing a multigenerational workforce have only intensified over the years as skill gaps continue to widen. Each generation has different values, experiences, and attitudes that shape their work ethic and expectations. To effectively manage a multigenerational workforce, companies must understand these differences and create a work environment that accommodates everyone’s needs.
Hiring and Retaining Multigenerational Workforce
When it comes to hiring a workforce that spans multiple generations, UST looks for individuals who share the company’s core values, including integrity, customer service, and safety. Rodger emphasized the importance of finding people who are a good fit for the company culture and possess strong soft skills, regardless of their age. UST’s recruitment strategy includes using multiple channels to reach potential candidates, including online job boards, social media, and referrals from existing employees. Roger also noted that the company has found success in hiring both employees with experience in the automotive industry as well as military veterans, who often have valuable skills and experience that are transferable to UST’s industry.
Retaining employees from different age groups can be a challenge, as each generation has different priorities and expectations. Today, younger generations are less interested in pursuing careers in field service compared to 20 years ago an job jopping is far more common than it used to be. According to Roger, UST has found success in offering standard benefits like a comprehensive benefits package, including health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. In addition to that, the company views offering ongoing training and development opportunities as a critical benefit, which can appeal to employees who want to advance their careers.
Roger emphasized the importance of creating a positive work environment that accommodates everyone’s needs. For example, UST has a “resume-building culture” which means their employees are not only building the skills and knowledge they need to develop professionally but UST is helping them document those skills.
Managing a Multigenerational Workforce
Managing a multigenerational workforce requires a flexible approach that can adapt to each generation’s needs. Roger noted that UST’s management team receives training on how to effectively communicate with employees from different age groups. This includes understanding each generation’s communication style, work preferences, and career goals.
UST has a flat organizational structure as opposed to one with numerous layers of management. However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t recognize and promote employees that deserve it. Roger said, “The best way to get promoted is to promote someone beneath you. Lift them up and that will lift you.” He also highlighted the importance of recognizing and celebrating each employee’s contributions to the company. UST holds regular employee recognition meetings, which can help boost morale and create a sense of community among employees.
Managing a workforce can be a bumpy road, but any company can do it seamlessly with the right strategies in place. UST’s approach to hiring, retaining, and managing employees from different age groups provide valuable insight into how companies can create a positive work environment that accommodates everyone’s needs. By focusing on core values, offering comprehensive benefits, and creating a flexible work environment, UST has attracted and retained top talent from different generations, which has helped the company stay competitive in its market.
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