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Leveraging tech to attract millennials

June 8, 2017 -  By
 Photo provided by: The National Association of Landscape Professionals

Many people pursuing landscape careers, like these students at the 2017 National Collegiate Landscape Competition, choose the industry so they can work outside. Photo provided by: The National Association of Landscape Professionals

In March, I was in Provo, Utah, at the National Association of Landscape Professionals’ National Collegiate Landscape Competition. If you have not been to this event (formerly called Student Career Days), you need to go. These kids are your future salespeople, account managers and operation supervisors. Their relationships with—and uses of—technology are totally alien to many of us, and they’re central to their career choice. In short, the technology you use can make all the difference in recruiting the best of them.

One reason they choose our industry is the opportunity to “work outside.” And like most of us, they despise administration and paperwork. If your software systems (or lack thereof) keep them inside doing paperwork, they are out.

So if you’re serious about having the best and brightest work for you, consider your technology strategy and investment to be at least as important as your equipment strategy. Millennials want to work for companies that provide tools that allow them to manage the business in real time, make the work exciting and operate outside with minimal paperwork.

Make no mistake, dinosaurs were perhaps the most successful species in the history of the planet. Today’s dinosaurs—including those of us born between 1950 and 1970—are also pretty successful, but we’re not as natural with, or adaptable to, technology as millennials are.

Many dinosaurs can recall a time B.C.—before copiers. We used mimeograph machines. Millennials cannot conceive of a time without smart devices. We dinosaurs know a life before the smart device, and it worked. Up to a point. So can dinosaurs adapt to the new technologies? Yes, but only if they want to.

Until four years ago, I used a flip phone. I actually took pride in resisting a smart device. Today, I could not function as efficiently and effectively without it.

What happened? I realized that I missed the point of the technology. The technology wasn’t just for me, it was for everyone else. The device made everyone around me more effective and efficient. There were fewer miscommunications, fewer dropped balls and more things got done.

If you’re like me, you like nothing better than getting more things done in day and having more people running around doing things for you with complete transparency as to what they’re doing, so you can make sure they’re it getting done. That’s today’s mobile technology at work.

Smart devices, software and technology can’t provide wisdom—that’s earned by experience. But they can leverage that wisdom, giving you the tools—and the reach—to direct, monitor, coach and decide in real time, so everyone wastes less of everything, gets more done and, most importantly, gets more of what they need from you: leadership.

About the Author:

Kevin Kehoe, a longtime landscape industry consultant, is the founder of Aspire Software.

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