Editorial: Businesses prepare for the next generation


The Lima News

Businesses need Millennials to step up. Millennials need businesses to step up.

Apparently, they’re both on the same page, knowing what the other needs in this region.

On Sunday, the second Celebrating Our Spirit section arrives in your Lima News. In these 22 pages over two weeks, we’ve documented the growing needs of employers as Baby Boomers near retirement age. There’s a great demand for qualified employees to replace them when they’re ready to relax.

None of that should be a great surprise. Given the trend of smaller families, people understood the workforce would have to adjust when that generation was ready to retire.

The real surprise — and it’s a delightful surprise — is how thoughtfully some businesses dealt with this issue.

It’s too easy to jump into stereotypes when talking about young workers, blaming their goal-driven nature on a society too willing to hand out participation trophies. These businesses looked beyond that superficial level and realized what these young employees want.

They want to be valued. They want to see a path forward. They want to enjoy their work and their coworkers. They’re not necessarily as driven by wage and benefits as the Baby Boomers might be.

We must celebrate the spirit of these companies. They could just complain about kids today and not adjust their ways. They could try to force younger workers into their style.

Instead, successful businesses are saying the right things and doing the right things to attract young talent.

They’re working to be more appreciative of younger workers. They’re learning to offer more constant feedback, both positive and negative.

They show a path forward. They try to identify future positions someone might be able to fill. They build apprenticeship programs or assign mentors.

They understand the importance of building a culture inside their walls. They provide meals or fitness areas. They bring amenities closer to the workers.

They believe they’ll be rewarded with future success. They’re already rewarded by having fresh young minds, often already immersed in technology, coming through the door.

We hope other businesses will learn the lessons of these companies. Being stuck in an old mindset can be dangerous when they world around you changes, including the minds of the people around you.

We also applaud the efforts of organizations such as Link Lima, OhioMeansJobs, Allen Economic Development Group and Putnam County Educational Service Center. They’re doing more to bring high schoolers and middle schoolers out into the community to see the opportunities around them. It benefits us all to keep the region’s best and brightest here into the future.

With the foundation set, now it’s up to those younger employees to fill the voids of the retiring Baby Boomers. It’s up to them to make those businesses succeed and make our region succeed. Then we’ll truly be able to celebrate our spirit.


The Lima News

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