Thursday, 29 October 2015 14:00

5 Ways the Hardwood Lumber Industry Can Appeal to Millennials

It’s probably safe to say the hardwood lumber industry is conservative by nature. Many lumber mills are family-owned and leadership is passed down generation to generation. Much of our industry can be characterized as “small business,” and we consider certain ingrained principles to be integral to our success.

Baillie Lumber TraderAt the same time, no one can deny the world around us is changing—and nowhere is this more evident than in the presence of Millennials in the workforce. To stay healthy and competitive, hardwood lumber companies must find ways to attract and recruit young men and women who may not presently think of our industry as a place they want to work.

Here are five suggestions we have found to increase the success of hiring Millennials into the hardwood lumber  business: 

1. Be a brand they can relate to. Millennials are drawn to companies they can identify with on a personal level. Before they’re willing to look further, they want to get a sense of your internal culture, how the organization is structured, whether employees feel like part of the growth strategy, and so on.

HR and marketing expert Catherine Miklaus advises employers to pay special attention to their career and recruiting efforts, ensuring there’s a consistent brand message throughout and offering a glimpse into how things work in your business.

“If your company is a great place to work, your employees will show it,” Miklaus writes. “Reviews and employee comments in social media will paint a picture of an excellent talent brand … If your company’s employees aren’t having a good experience, Millennials will see it.”

2. Demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility. Millennials are, generally speaking, driven to work for a business that’s “more than just another company.” They want to be part of an organization committed to bettering society and the world we live in.

Fortunately, we in the hardwood lumber industry can point to our environmentally-friendly policies as a key hiring resource. If you’re not doing so already, promote your eco-friendly policies, our natural and sustainable products and the carbon neutral story of wood when communicating to this socially conscious segment of job candidates.

3. “Millennial-ize” your website.

After coming across your job posting, the first thing Millennials will do is check out your business website. A sophisticated and engaging site instantly lends credibility to your business, particularly with respect to ease of user interface, lively content about your current workforce and plenty of images. They’re also checking for signs of a thriving social media presence.

If your website doesn’t lend itself to a favorable first impression, your recruiting efforts may be in vain. “In the Millennial mind, an outdated website is an outdated company,” says Gabrielle Jackson, founder and CEO of The Millennial Solution.

Jackson also urges businesses to make sure their website and hiring platforms are optimized for use by tablets and mobile devices. Since Millennials use their phones for many daily activities, they expect your business to have a mobile-friendly digital presence, too.

4. Take the interview process to the next level.

Keep in mind that when you’re interviewing a Millennial job-seeker, he or she is evaluating you, too. If your interview process feels routine and uninspired, the candidate may not feel particularly excited about coming to work for you.

Instead, focus your questions on their motivations and ambitions. Ask them about previous job achievements and what part of their jobs made them feel most engaged. Dig deeper into why they might want to work for your company and what would likely inspire them in their new position.

5. Show a clear path to career advancement.

Millennials understand that in today’s job market, they will likely work for numerous employers in the course of their careers. As a result, they’re keenly interested in strategizing a career path that involves steadily increasing responsibilityand meaning in their lives. Any position viewed as a “dead-end job” will quickly kill their interest in working for you.

As part of the interviewing process, demonstrate the value of the job under consideration, as well as training and mentoring opportunities your company may offer. Let candidates see how coming on board will play a key role in the growth of your business and their growth as a professional.

Like our customers and colleagues in the hardwood lumber industry, Baillie Lumber continually strives to evolve with the times and integrate new employees into the workforce. We are constantly looking for new ideas. What ideas and hiring practices are you using to attract new employees to your team?

Tony Cimorelli
Baillie Lumber
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