DISPATCHES FROM THE 2015 PROCESS EXPO

Mentorship a must when hiring Millennials in baking industry

By Hal Conick contact

- Last updated on GMT

It will soon become imperative for the baking industry to hire Millennials, says Bakers National Education Foundation
It will soon become imperative for the baking industry to hire Millennials, says Bakers National Education Foundation

Related tags: American bakers association, Baking industry, Generation y

Companies must provide “a lot of coaching” and mentorship when hiring Millennials in the baking industry to nurture young talent, according to Dave Krishock, Bakers National Education Foundation professor at Kansas State University.

Krishock, speaking at a Process Expo 2015 session 'Where Have All the Bakers Gone'​, said finding new, young employees should be a top priority for the baking industry.

“Working in [a plant] is not very sexy, but there are great opportunities for advancement,”​ Krishock said. “Older people want opportunity to retire … Where are we going to find people to fill this pipeline?”

Mentoring the young

The main solution to hiring and keeping Millennials, Krishock said, is ensuring they are being properly coached and mentored by experienced employees of the company. Face-to-face consultations, mentoring and coaching are absolute necessitates for success, he said.

Krishock told the story of one of his student​'s​ who was hired by a company who doubted the employee's suitability for the role in his first six months. After suggesting the company give the young employee a mentor, the company called Krishock back and told him there was a “complete change” in the employee after consistent mentorships and coaching.

“Think about those of you who went to your first job, weather first grocery store or elsewhere,” ​he said. “Oftentimes, you get thrown in there with little or no training. Then you sit there, and oftentimes our interns who go out for the summer to do an internship, what they get first days is safety videos.”

“No one really wants to talk to them because they don’t know what to do with them. But there has to be a lot of coaching.”

The American Bakers Association said there are currently 1.8m jobs in the baking industry across the US​.​ With an estimated 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day across industries in the US, according to The Washington Post​, it is a must for the industry to appeal to young workers. 

Come together despite differences

There will be 75.3m Millennials in the workforce by then end of this year, Krishock said. In the next five years, Generation Z and Millennials will combine to make up more than 50% of the workforce.

While Millennials are growing in numbers, the divide still exists between them and the older generation. There are myths, Krishock said, such as Millennials not wanting to put in the hours, having unrealistic expectations of their job and not wanting to take advice.

However, the reality is that they value experience, they want more than a paycheck from work and how success is defined matters to Millennial workers.

To connect with Millennials, Krishock suggests:

  • Tout the company’s financial benefits and incentives
  • Have a good work-life balance, celebrating life and accomplishments outside of work
  • Develop a company brand and mission that can be seen and felt every day at work

Millennials like to stay hooked up and connected to the Internet at all times via devices, something Generation X and Baby Boomer workers see as a waste of time. But Millennials are “just trying to stay connected,”​ he said, something common across the entire generation.

“If they’re making up over 50 percent of the workforce in five years, we better figure out how to work with them,”​ he said. 

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