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Millennial Problem Solvers: How to Lead the New Generation to Their Success and Yours

This is a guest blog by  Nicolle Lamb, SVP Client Services at Dealer Inspire.

She is speaking at the DrivingSales Executive Summit on Millennial Problem Solvers : How to Lead the New Generation to Their Success and Yours

Most of what you hear about working with Millennials is not positive. What I observe at conferences is that sessions about Millennials usually focus on their lack of drive, fickle nature, and lack of loyalty. But truly, couldn’t that be said about every generation? There are many examples of these characteristics in each generation through the years.

What we aren’t giving them credit for is their desire to make a difference, problem-solve, and be a trusted member of the team along the way.

The success of Dealer Inspire has relied heavily on Millennials, and our team is hard working, dedicated, and loyal. Our average age is 27 years old, we went from 30 to 480+ employees in less than 4 years, our employee retention rate is 99%, and our client retention rate is 99%. Are you wondering how we made that happen with a generation most people misunderstand?

We are doing some key things that engage Millennials, and it’s important for us to take ownership of how we are managing them. When things aren't working it's on us. It's not on them.

At DrivingSales Executive Summit 2018, I want to help our dealer partners change the way they hire and train their staff. I have been asked many times by my clients, “how do you do it?” “How do you hire these amazing people?” This session will give them all of our secrets to success. And with these few changes, they too can have an amazing loyal, driven team! Let’s work to solve the most important challenge of your dealership: hiring and maintaining driven, loyal employees.

It’s not difficult, but it does require a change of mindset and management style.

My session will review where to start, and where most companies go wrong when it comes to Millennials.

● Start with a culture

● Create a clear path for growth

● Hire the right people | Seekers

● Ask them to share their feedback | Measure anonymous feedback through software

● Give them the questions, not the answers

● Then, trust them, encourage them, and support them

What are our most profound pitfalls?

● Treating them like a rookie

● Telling them they need to earn their stripes

● Bossing them around

● Giving them the answer and never asking them to solve the problem

This is the most important part: you have to be prepared to listen! Many times I hear, “I didn’t have anyone handing me the keys”. Well, that’s not a great way to look at it. Was how you were brought up in the workforce the right way? If you peel that back, can you see that this is the right way to do it? Through encouragement, recognition, coaching/mentoring, and fostering a good work environment, we can build the most dynamic team and carve out success for your business.

These employees are not afraid to tell you exactly what they need to feel good about their role and be loyal to your company. All you have to do is listen. Don’t you often wish your spouse came with a manual that would tell you exactly what they needed? So many times you didn’t know what they were thinking or what they needed, and you’re left saying, “I wish you would have just told me!” Well, this generation will tell you. And if you are listening, you are winning!

Today, I am the Senior VP of Client Services at Dealer Inspire, and as you would expect I manage a dynamic team of Millennials! My current team is made up of 78 team members, of which 90% of them are Millennials. Investing my time into the leadership team and the performance management team has always been my focal point and it is a key driver of the team’s unprecedented success.

I find and hire overachievers — that’s one of the core characteristics I look for — but you cannot hire overachievers and then tie their hands behind their backs. Put the problems in front of them and encourage them to find the answers — you will be amazed at what you find!

Tracie Costabile

Agreed!  This generation is so much more savvy than they get credit for.  They're not invested in the old trope "that's the way it's always been done."  If they see a better way, they'll go for it!  And who doesn't need and want more innovators, am I right?

John Bergquist

I think giving somebody a problem to solve instead of feeding them answers is crucial in most situations whether you're teaching employees, students, or your own kids.

Amanda Gordon

Great info. Simply asking for feedback and getting their take on processes is huge!

DrivingSales News

Nicolle did a great job writing this blog, I think it's fair to say her breakout session at DSES will be just as insightful!

Sherri Riggs

Tracie, I LOVE your comment! As a millennial I sometimes get offended at the lack of trust that is offered. While I was reading Nicolle's article I was very happy to see someone see my side of things!

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