Managing Millennials: Eric Hassen Discusses the Importance of Balance and Clear Communication

We now move on to the issue of managing millennials. It’s a common complaint from managers that millennials simply don’t want to be managed. First, we have Eric Hassen, the vice president of test engineering at Saline Lectronics, to give his views on the millennial workforce in manufacturing, along with tips to successfully manage and grow them into becoming strong leaders.

Davina McDonnell: Tell us a little about the type of generations that you manage.

EricHassen_SalineLectronics.jpgEric Hassen: I manage a few different groups, which have varying degrees of skills and education. The mix is approximately 65% millennials to 35% baby boomers. The technical staff is made up of mostly baby boomers.

McDonnell: What are some of your greatest challenges when managing and leading millennials?

Hassen: Keeping them interested and focused on their work. They are easily distracted and need to have clear direction, and defined expectations, to keep on track.

McDonnell: With the increasing number of millennials joining the manufacturing industry, how do you see the way you manage or train your team evolving?

Hassen: I believe that training of millennials need to evolve by using technology and interactive participation as ways to keep them engaged in learning new things. Hands-on experience with immediate feedback is also necessary when training new skills. Millennials need all of the information to understand the importance of following the process, and clear, concise work instructions. Managing them requires keeping them involved in problem solving, building their knowledge base and confidence, and allowing them to understand the impacts of change.

McDonnell: Some analysts say that millennials have a difficult time being loyal to one company for very long. Do you find that to be true?

Hassen: Yes. They seem to be internally focused and are only loyal to themselves. I see far less commitment to the organization and their job, and more focus on social and personal needs. I also feel millennials have a difficult time on solving hard problems; they look for an easy solution and lose interest if results aren’t achieved quickly.

McDonnell: Do you think companies need to have a new set of engagement policies to accommodate the millennial generation?

Hassen: I think all company policies should be reviewed and adjusted, as the company evolves, whether from a business perspective, or changes within the workforce. From the perspective of changes for millennials, I think companies need to look at ways to retain them, by keeping them engaged and contributing to the success of the organization. The cost of training employees to be effective contributors to the company are high, and retaining them is essential. Many companies are making changes by becoming more flexible and casual with business requirements.

McDonnell: What unique challenges do you find in training or managing millennials?

Hassen: A challenge I have is making sure I’m clear in my communication. Sometimes, I’m amazed at what someone heard versus what I said. They seem to have a high confidence when they say they “got it”, but later we find out a detail was missed. Some struggle to take notes. I also find that millennials are not observant and don’t challenge things that don’t make sense, they just keep going along. Another challenge in managing is the conflict between the baby boomers and the millennials. It can be a struggle having them see things from different perspectives, both sides. Boomers see millennials as lazy, unproductive, and careless. Millennials see boomers as picky, cranky, and micromanagers. When conflict arises, both parties need to talk through the issue with a third party to get to common ground, which is easier said than done.

McDonnell: How do you inspire the millennials in the company to strive more and perform better?

Hassen: Keeping them involved with problem solving and new assignments. Empowering them to make changes they believe will improve things.

McDonnell: What advantages are you finding that millennials bring to the table?

Hassen: They are more technically advanced, pretty easy to work with, and eager to learn. When asked, they have ideas on how to do things differently.

McDonnell: The older generation will eventually vacate many leadership positions. Do you think millennials have the patience and perseverance to become leaders?

Hassen: Yes. I believe they will figure out what’s needed and adapt to be successful.

McDonnell: Finally, how do you attract millennials to join the company?

Hassen: We are in the right industry for them, most think they know everything about computers and electronics anyway, so it’s easy to get them in. Our challenge continues to be keeping them challenged, valued, and interested in the manufacturing processes can be repetitive.

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2017

Managing Millennials: Eric Hassen Discusses the Importance of Balance and Clear Communication

02-27-2017

We now move on to the issue of managing millennials. It’s a common complaint from managers that millennials simply don’t want to be managed. Eric Hassen, vice president of test engineering at Saline Lectronics, gives his views on the millennial workforce in manufacturing, along with tips to successfully manage and grow them into becoming strong leaders.

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Millennials in Manufacturing: Zach Tondreau—Motivating Millennials

02-13-2017

Over the past two years, Zach has moved up starting as an associate, progressing to associate coordinator, and now as a production lead at Lectronics. “This is my first job in manufacturing and it has been very rewarding. I’ve always tried to do quality work at any job I’ve had, but never received any recognition for it. I feel fortunate to have my hard work appreciated.”

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Millennials in Manufacturing: Tom Scales—Manufacturing from an IT Perspective

01-30-2017

This week, our featured millennial is IT Manager Tom Scales. He talks about loyalty, work ethics, motivation, leadership, his greatest challenges from an IT perspective, and what he thinks the manufacturing industry should be doing when it comes to attracting more millennials to join this field.

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Millennials in Manufacturing: Mya Walton – The Millennials' Advantage in Manufacturing

01-16-2017

We continue our series on Millennials in Manufacturing with Mya Walton, associate coordinator in the test department at Saline Lectronics. She talks about how working in the manufacturing industry opened up a new world of possibilities for her, and how it feels to be creating products that help other people, such as heart monitors and black boxes.

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Millennials in Manufacturing: Andrea Tarhanich - What’s Driving Millennials to Thrive—and Stay—in Manufacturing

01-03-2017

For our ongoing series on Millennials in Manufacturing, we next feature Andrea Tarhanich, a millennial who has been with Saline Lectronics for more than four years. In this article, Andrea talks about loyalty and work ethics, leadership, and effective strategies to attract millennials to the manufacturing world.

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Back

2016

Millennials in Manufacturing: Kyle Robertson – A Rewarding Career

12-19-2016

For our ongoing "Millennials in Manufacturing" series, we next feature SMT Technician Kyle Robertson. He discusses how working for Saline Lectronics has provided him the opportunity to learn new things related to the electronics industry every day and to witness the latest, most exciting technologies being developed.

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Millennials in Manufacturing: Cathy Cox – Multiple Approaches to Solving Problems

12-05-2016

Next in our Millennials series is Cathy Cox, a process engineer at Lectronics, who is in charge of all the first-time build customers, where she manages the entire assembly process figuring out the perfect assembly plan for each product, and the best schedule to deliver each customer the best product. Find out what she has to say about the challenges of the job.

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Millennials in Manufacturing: Mike Scaparrotti – A Different, yet Rewarding Career Path

11-21-2016

Our next millennial to be featured is Mike Scaparrotti, a purchasing agent at Lectronics. As a millennial, Mike said that majority of the younger generation do not want to be micromanaged. For him, having a valued opinion and being able to influence change when needed are what motivates him in his job.

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Millennials in Manufacturing: Alex Johnson – A Long-term Career Prospect

11-21-2016

The next millennial in this series is Alex Johnson, an associate engineer at Saline Lectronics and who has been with the company for over two years. Even though Alex received a lot of negative information about manufacturing throughout his lifetime, his work experience in engineering has directly challenged those preconceived notions.

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New Column: Millennials in Manufacturing

10-25-2016

New columnist Davina McDonnell will be writing on the challenges millennials face in the workplace, and the unique dynamic between millennials and the industry veterans who manage them.

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