The Four Profiles: Connecting with Millennials Means Knowing Their Type

By J.B. Dimick

We often think of the millennial generation as unique— made up of individuals with special needs, wants and desires that are drastically different from any other generation. As a result, they’re often looked down upon by many, while praised by others. Regardless of what your view might be, the fact is: Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data shows that young adults ages 18-34 (millennials) exceed any other generation by number. That makes them the largest in the workforce.

Millennials are confident and collaborative. They like to use what they learn via academics in their daily jobs. Businesses and industries—millwork included—must adapt to their ways of thinking. We’re all doing that in various ways, but the one common challenge that most professionals can agree on includes the fact that we must first learn to attract them to our fields.

The millwork industry works hard at advocating. Manufacturers, distributors and dealers alike strive to connect with younger generations, in order to recruit potential employees and future customers. However, to successfully connect with them, we must understand what influences their involvement.

Another area I’m quite familiar with (in addition to millwork) that faces the same challenges is agriculture. Through agriculturally-based research, Texas A&M University found that there are four types of engaged millennials. In my opinion, this research also fits with millwork and closely resembles some of the conversations we’ve had at past World Millwork Alliance (WMA) functions. According to Texas A&M’s findings, millennials are motivated by specific characteristics of their backgrounds—including such things as the ways in which they were raised, or what they
were involved in as a child. They’re really just people who are passionate about what they do and how they do it. Their road is just a different means for getting there.

As such, there are four types of millennials.

The perpetual millennial: is motivated by his or her past involvement in one thing. They like to stay busy, while focusing on their efforts for the long haul. They like knowing things of importance.

The family millennial: is motivated by a family connection to an industry. At a very young age, they were taught the importance of being involved in family businesses and/or industries that family members were involved in. They like meeting new people and enjoy the social aspects of the business.

The visionary: is always thinking about the future and how to become an agent of change. They’re motivated by the need to be part of something greater. They strive to find the weaknesses associated with a work-related field, and want to turn those weaknesses into strengths. They look at both sides of an issue, in order to make sound judgments.

The traditionalist: is motivated by the tradition he or she associates with an industry. Their passion is influenced by traditions handed down through the ranks. They believe in education and that the public needs to recognize that fact.

It’s time we do more to understand and relate to today’s largest generation.

J.B. Dimick is VP and corporate sales manager for Cascade Wood Products and associate VP for the World Millwork Alliance

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DWM Magazine

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