Recruiting a high-quality team is always a difficult task, but with labor shortages in the construction and equipment rental industry, the difficulty is compounded. It’s the main reason we built the ARA Job Board and RentalWorks sites to help attract and retain talent to rental businesses. Attracting talent is a form of marketing and when you are marketing, one of the most important things to do is understand your target audience. In this case, we have a particular need for younger talent sitting squarely in Generation Z.
I was born in December of 1980, which sometimes makes me a millennial, depending on who picks the cutoff point. I’ve often felt a bit stuck in the middle. The feeling of being stuck has also helped me see both sides and helped me bridge gaps for people who more squarely identified with their generation. While I don’t like generalizing generations, I think there is some value in looking at overarching attributes, and the rental industry has many things the “average” generation Zer would be attracted to. So why not use these elements to our advantage? Here are the top three things I believe rental companies can promote to attract more Gen Zers.
The Millennial Generation, and even more so Generation Z, are comfortable with NOT owning things. That is a large culture shift, especially for Americans and the ownership mentality of previous generations. They might not use fancy new names like “circular” or “shared economy”, but they naturally understand rental. It’s not weird to them, and it’s not just taking advantage of people who can’t afford to own. It’s making more efficient use of products and utilizing assets as a community instead of squandering it as an individual.
On average, Generation Z is concerned about the environment and how we are impacting it. If you need some proof of that, go on Twitter or Instagram to see the emotion and support stirred by Time’s Person of the Year and Generation Z member Greta Thunberg.
While you may not have entered the rental industry to save the rainforest, you may actually be doing just that! The Climate Neutral group estimates that renting equipment reduces emissions in an equipment lifecycle by 30-50%. This is achieved through more efficient transportation and logistics, maintenance practices, higher utilization, and job suitability. Letting potential applicants know that their work can have a positive environmental impact in addition to being a lucrative career is a win/win.
All companies need to define their purpose, but if you want to attract younger generations, it needs to be about more than just making money. Luckily, it’s easy to showcase how construction equipment helps build the future and event decor helps make lasting memories.
So, next time you are trying to recruit the next generation of rental rockstars, make sure to welcome them and their new ideas, talk to them about your environmental impact, and share how they fit into a bigger purpose. It can be easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the negative generalizations of a generation, but every generation and person comes with unique strengths and weaknesses. Accept the people of the generation for who they are and focus on the strengths and places where you find agreement. Once you get your message locked down, start sharing it with customers too. Generation Z customers are likely to be attracted by all the same tools as their job-hunting counterparts!