(In the Trades) Millennials Want to Know – Why Are You Still Hazing?

At the beginning of October I attended the Tradeswomen Build Nations conference in Minneapolis. I attended two sessions, both related to the shocking title of this blog. I was shocked (and still am) to hear stories from women about discrimination, hazing and  bullying on job sites.

Engaging Millennials

The first session I attended was geared towards bridging the generational divide between baby boomers and the younger millennial and gen Z employees. They asked what each group wanted others to know about themselves and what they want to know from other groups. Millennials asked the question, “Why are you still hazing?” That question struck me in the session, but was driven home by the next session I attended which was about surviving and thriving in apprenticeship.

Surviving and Thriving in Apprenticeship

Here is where the stories came out about women being discriminated against, put in harm’s way, being ignored, made to do menial tasks, had their sexuality talked about in the open, had jokes and rumors made about them sleeping with their co-workers and on and on.

Treating people poorly is not okay AND it is bad for business.

When you do not use your employees to their full potential, you are short changing your company. You are cutting into the profits of the company who pays your daily/hourly wage. When people are treated poorly it affects their productivity and their engagement. Do you know what happens when employees are not engaged? They are not fully present and paying attention. Safety issues arise. Turnover increases. New people have to get oriented to the job site. Productivity goes down. All of this costs money.

One man in this session asked what he could do to help. The consensus of the room was to treat women equally to their male counterparts. I will challenge you to treat people better AND to speak up and step up if you see or hear harassment, discrimination or bad behavior of any kind.

Act and speak to your coworkers as if your grandmother was present. And don’t tell me your have a foul-mouthed grandmother. You know what I mean.

What are your experiences? How is your company doing better? How are you seeing these issues addressed?

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