Who Are Millennials? Learn How to Bridge the Generational Gap and Hire More Young Adults

2017-03-22

Register for SNA's 2017 Legislative Action Conference (LAC)

The following is the fifth in a series of news stories exploring the exciting events at LAC.

Today, the American workforce has never been more diverse, with employees ranging from Baby Boomers to Generation X. However, the biggest workplace transformation is being driven by Millennials (adults aged 19 to 35), who according to the Pew Research Center now make up 30 percent of U.S. workers, which surpass Generation X as the largest age group of people in the workforce. Millennials tend to be multitaskers, tech savvy, and well-connected through social media. When thinking of hiring from this age group, they tend to be more team-oriented, believe in transparency in relationships with supervisors and co-workers and look to seek opportunities for career advancement.

Why do these insights matter to foodservice directors and managers who hire new staff? As more Baby Boomers retire, more and more Millennials will be stepping into management roles and leadership positions, which may significantly change the dynamics of your workplace.

What was it like at age 23 to be a school nutrition director at one of the largest districts in South Dakota?

“At the beginning of my first school year I was just swamped with paperwork,” recalled Laura Duba, RD, LN, Child Nutrition director at the Brookings School District. “Once I slowed things down and figured out what needed to be done and when, things got a lot easier—and a lot simpler.”

To better understand Millennials, the new perspectives that they bring, what they are looking for, how to attract them and how to keep them working for your team, Duba and Siri Perlman RD – two Millennials themselves – will be hosting a captivating Breakout Session at SNA’s Legislative Action Conference (LAC), on April 2, entitled, “Recruit and Retain School Nutrition Young Professionals.”

Duba and Perlman will describe their personal journey through becoming dietitians, their internships and ultimately, their decision to work in child nutrition. They will describe the school districts they are now employed in and how they compare with other size districts in the U.S. The pair will then discuss how they recruit staff in different age groups, how they specifically target Millennials and misconceptions associated with different generations in the workforce.

“What I have found far too often is individuals are defined by the year they were born rather than their work ethic and true passions,” said Duba. “But many times, kitchens are now staffed by people of different age groups, different personalities and different levels of experience. So, one of the things that we are going to be talking about with attendees, is how to bridge the gap across different generations.”

While targeting, attracting and retaining Millennials is important, Duba said the hiring of Millennials should not supersede the need to create a diverse workplace made up of people in different age groups.

Concluded Duba, “I think the most important takeaway point from this session is: keep an open mind to people of all generations, and understand that working in foodservice is not an age-level career but open to all generations.”

Sound interesting? Registration for LAC is still open. For a complete schedule, special event and general session information, hotel and travel information, and more, visit www.schoolnutrition.org/lac.

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