How to Help Your Millennial Employees Succeed in the Meeting & Event IndustryJune 10, 2019

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June 10, 2019

How to Help Your Millennial Employees Succeed in the Meeting & Event Industry

CIT-June-Column-Orozco-Alina-110x140Alina Orozco has been in digital marketing and social media since its inception and enjoys watching trends and helping brands develop their digital identity. At Elite Productions International, Orozco is responsible for showcasing the innovative designs and creativity of the team on a daily basis — as well as crafting their online presence. Learn more about Elite Productions International by following them on Instagram @epievents.

Millennials comprise nearly 35 percent of the American workforce, and with the event industry projected growth of 10 percent by 2024, more and more millennials will be entering the most stressful job as rated by CareerCast — event coordinator — for the sixth year in the row.

“As someone incredibly passionate about this industry, my hope is that millennials don’t allow the stresses of this career get in the way of the greater things and miss out on the amazing experiences and opportunities this career path can provide,” says Pawntra Shadab, vice president of events & marketing at Elite Productions International (EPI).

So, how do we ensure lasting success instead of a quick burnout for millennials in our industry? We merge the best practices between all generations and pave the way for millennials to utilize their innate skills such as tech, while combining tried-and- true practices of the older generations.

Millennials Are Greatly Contributing to the Planning Industry

Millennial contribution to the industry has been indispensable, especially in advancing the role of technology at meetings and events. Millennials certainly know and understand tech, and are excellent in utilizing their expertise at live events, from mobile event apps that provide instant feedback from attendees to second-screen technologies that turn smartphones into additional viewing devices, or wearable technology and social sharing.

“Millennials are deeply and inextricably integrated with the tech that has been available to them for as long as they can remember. While this can definitively be problematic, it also means they are leveraging tech at a level that seems foreign to other generations, ” says Bobby Dutton, director at Groove Boston.

Millennials Can Utilize Tech Savvy to Cultivate Connections

According to a recent survey by Cvent, millennials were 50 percent more likely to say social media and blogs are highly influential when it comes to evaluating a venue, compared to older generations. Millennial planners rely on online reviews, ratings and opinions, rather than word of mouth or other trusted industry sources.

Millennials were also 37 percent less likely to source directly through a venue, valuing convenience rather than an established relationship with a vendor. While older generations center their businesses around repeat customers.

“Over 50 percent of our business is repeat, so we strongly emphasize the importance of keeping those relationships strong. There is no better way to begin a relationship than looking someone in the eye and having a conversation together,” says Francesca Lombardo, creative marketing director at Lombardo’s, a wedding and event venue.

While millennials may have an aversion to one-on-one interaction in person, with tech in the mix, millennials can create other connections and cultivate relationships in the industry by incorporating FaceTime calls or Google Hangouts and other programs to achieve the same goal.

Millennial aversion to using the phone can delay and complicate a simple transaction with a client or a vendor, so they should consider the most effective method to relay messages or information, be it a phone call, email, or in-person meeting. Regardless, one of the most invaluable skills of the job is listening and hearing what is truly being said.

“In this industry, we have to learn to adapt to different communication styles. Some clients are comfortable texting, others prefer we meet in person. It’s all about being flexible and open minded,” Shadab says.

Finding the Balance

Event planners are typically meticulous about their work and appreciate every detail. While these are crucial traits, they can also become self-sabotaging. The email trail and the to-do list leading up an event can become overwhelming, and millennials need to know how to delegate as well as balance the work.

Millennials get a bad rap, but lazy isn’t an adjective most employers would use to describe their millennial employees. A recent Project Time Off survey found that young people see themselves as “work martyrs,” and 48 percent of employees born between 1981 and 1997 hoped their bosses would think of them as such.

About 25 percent of millennials felt nervous when requesting time off, as compared to 14 percent of Generation X and 6 percent of baby boomers.

“In this day and age, we have the ability to make ourselves available literally 24/7. Therefore, integrating work into your life when it makes the most sense for you personally is the best way to achieve a balance,” says Alisa Walsh, director of business development at EventWorks.

“If you feel most productive in the early morning, wake up and blast a few emails out, then go work out or meet friends during lunch to reenergize. It’s more about creating an environment where you will perform your best both personally and professionally,” Walsh says.

Event planning is a stressful, often glorified and misunderstood job, and with an influx of millennials coming in, we have to work to create a healthy environment.

“I keep a work calendar and social calendar, which helps me balance my life. I schedule myself time to be with friends and family, exercise, take trips, etc.,” Lombardo says.

Though I believe that if we work together by marrying the tech resources millennials bring to the table with the existing industry practices we will create an incredible future workforce, and one that is less stressed. C&IT

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