Countless hours and unmeasurable amounts of manpower have gone into understanding millennials. They’re a group all their own. Companies and employers continue to try and solve their ever so elusive puzzle — what do millennials really want out of a job?

Unlike previous generations, this group of talented, in demand individuals take much more into consideration when trying to find a new position. It is no longer just about the amount they’ll be receiving each pay period. And the numbers don’t lie — when their position isn’t meeting their needs, they will leave. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average millennial has held nearly 8 jobs between the ages of 18 and 30.

The center of most millennial’s employment requirement is this: purpose. Millennials want to feel that they are affecting change on a larger scale than just their to-do’s day-to-day. It’s no longer enough to sell potential talent on “what” your fleet does, you must highlight the “why”. A 2016 study conducted by Cone Communications saw as much as 64 percent of millennials were willing to turn down a job because the potential employer doesn’t have strong enough corporate responsibilities. Trucking literally makes America run. Finding creative ways to get millennials behind this cause will pay incredible dividends in the long run.

Growth in one’s personal life is a natural process. Wanting more for yourself and those around you is instinctive. But for millennials, it doesn’t end in the home. They expect the same ability to take measurable steps toward reaching goals. The trucking industry, being as fluid and expansive as it is, can be the perfect place to facilitate this kind of growth. Allowing your drivers to explore different avenues of your fleet dispels the idea of rigidity as the norm, and keeps everyone committed to accomplishing shared goals.

Millennials are instinctively first adapters. Technology comes easily to them, as they’ve been the targeted demographic for many changes that society has undergone — primarily due to the ubiquity of computers. Trucking is no different. With automation slowly becoming the norm, fleets are ever increasingly tech friendly, opening that door for millennials to come in and make an immediate impact. Their ability to hone these new systems will not only help fleets embrace advancement, but they can also be the gap between the gadgets and the older drivers with less technical literacy — lowering the turnover that is plaguing the industry.

An increasingly alarming amount of drivers in the industry have expressed their frustration with the lack of respect they feel in their positions, whether it be from their own fleet, or from outside entities. It is no secret; the trucking life can be a difficult one — but it doesn’t have to be. Recognition, praise, and positive reinforcement can be the difference between operating at full steam or losing good people. Millennials are no different when it comes to being appreciated for what they do.

With praise and positive reinforcement, millennials dispel that idea of being lazy, and prove to be just as hard working as the next man or woman. A study by Paid Time Off even showed that 23 percent of millennials didn’t want to take time off, an attempt to impress their superiors. The relationship between fleet owners and their drivers is key to a fleet’s overall success. These kinds of bonds are what millennials want out of employment — highlight them. 

As confusing as millennials may seem, and contrary to what much of what we hear suggests, they are just like the rest of us. They want to feel purpose. They want room to grow. They want to try new things. And, most importantly, they want to be respected. If the trucking industry is going to move forward, it should implement these general work practices — and millennials just might be the perfect group to help.