Green Guides features a rotating panel of LCOs sharing their real-world experience on how to build and grow a successful lawn care business.

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It’s no secret that millennials have gained a horrible reputation within the workforce. Born after 1980, millennials are often thought of as lazy and entitled by older generations. By many accounts, this poor repute can be credited to companies generally having a difficult time understanding, managing and working with them.

Plain and simple, millennials are the future of the workforce. They offer innovative ideas, tech-savvy tendencies and go-getter attitudes. To stay relevant in today’s changing lawn care landscape and to ensure your business is on track for long-term success, it’s necessary to dismiss the common myths associated with millennials and instead learn best practices for attracting, utilizing and leading them.

Initial attraction.

First, you need to make sure the open positions available are being published on the most effective job boards and media to reach them. A key medium is social media. Whether it be a post on Facebook or LinkedIn, the amount of time millennials spend on various social media channels is at an all-time high.

When working toward attracting millennials, it’s important to keep in mind that millennials are not just looking for a job to make money, but a secure, meaningful career. Make sure a potential career path with the company is clearly defined and outlined so they can see that your organization wants them for the long run. Deliver a message implying that by joining your company, a candidate will be surrounded with like-minded individuals who will nurture and invest in their employees to learn, progress and grow.

The right culture fit.

One of the most important elements to attracting and retaining millennials is to offer a company culture conducive to their mindset. Studies have shown that millennials are looking to be part of something larger than just a company working toward a profit. They want to make an impact on the world and be part of a fulfilling organization with purpose. By clearly conveying the positive effects of your lawn care business on the environment and community, they know they’ll be joining a progressive group changing things for the better.

Bluntly state what makes your company culture special. Millennials want to be part of a company with a legacy and an encouraging work environment that shows its appreciation. They want their efforts to be noticed and acknowledged.

Managing Millennials.

Once you’ve hired millennials, an entirely new set of challenges is presented when figuring out how to manage them. Often perceived as stubborn and disrespectful, the most important thing is to remember that millennials are really striving to make a difference and contribute to the business. With that in mind, effectively managing millennials starts with your approach. When giving assignments, be insightful and offer a two-way stream of communication. Rather than ordering an employee to do something with no explanation, contextualize the assignment. Provide them with a few sentences on the effect the outcome of the project will have on the organization and welcome input from them.

Another key to successfully leading millennials is constantly providing feedback. Most millennials seek feedback on their actions frequently. Encourage this attitude by always commending a job well done, or by providing constructive criticism and pointers for areas of improvement.

Lastly, a major factor in successfully managing millennials is encouraging a collaborative versus competitive organization. Millennials are used to and prefer to work in groups. They are very capable of playing off one another’s strengths and weaknesses and often produce the best results based off a group consensus. Encourage a collaborative culture where everyone is invited to participate and share ideas. With this, it’s important to make sure that employees don’t lose their identities within the business. While working and deciding in a group is enjoyable and effective, nobody wants to lose their individuality.

Ultimately, attracting the right millennial employees and effectively leading them can heighten your business to an entirely new level. Make sure you present your lawn care company as an exciting opportunity, looking to make a difference in the world and from there enforce a strong company culture with a collaborative approach.

Steve Sartorius is owner of Weed Man Twin Cities and received its Emerging Leaders award in 2015.