Millennials sometimes get unfairly labeled as tech-savvy yet lackadaisical and self-absorbed.
But whatever the generation's psychographics might be, employers are going to have to figure them out soon because millennials are replacing retiring baby boomers.
Auto companies face a rapid learning challenge to understand the values and motivations of young workers to be able to attract and retain them, says Mary Reardon, senior manager of talent acquisition at Continental, who is scheduled to speak Thursday at the seminars.
"We really have to look at how we can engage and retain the top talent in each of these different generational areas, to make sure we're successful as a company and even as a manager and a leader within the organization," Reardon said.
Automakers should evaluate benefits, employee programs and practices to drive retention, Reardon said.
"We have to look at the type of work environment, and the flexibility within the work environment, to be able to offer each of these different generations a place to feel empowered and set up for success."
As millennials continue to flood the talent pool, Reardon said this is the first time the industry must learn how to navigate a generation that has "unique expectations."
"Millennials really aren't just motivated by a paycheck," she said. "They really want a purpose. They want career development probably a little bit sooner than the generation before, and they really want the leaders to not micromanage them."
If not, she warned, millennials are open to moving on to the next employer quickly.
"From what we've seen in the past, millennials want those constant ongoing conversations with their leaders. So that's something different that a lot of our leaders need to be retrained on," Reardon said. "It's not just the annual review, the midyear review and a one-on-one once a month — they really want that constant communication and interaction."