Generation Z is Generation Zoom

By Lee Senter

The world has not changed much since the last column. There is uncertainty everywhere. Businesses are closing and in many cases are closed forever. Many of the others are still technically open, but are hanging by a thread financially.

At my company, we have hired back the few that we laid off. We have had to do some recruiting and have hired a couple of new employees. The recruitment process was all done online. The interview process was done on Zoom. The job offer was to work from home as a customer service rep. The process was seamless. The interviews are all done on time. Geez, the Zoom generation seems to have forced us all to be more punctual.

Training online for office positions has proven tough. The long-term employees you have are likely to have to be retrained to work from home. The person working from home has many odd occurrences happen through the day that really should be controlled. The main issues I encounter is the television being on in the background and side conversations that have nothing to do with work. We have similar problems doing our daily Zoom calls. It takes some direction and training to let people know what they look like on Zoom, it can be very embarrassing if you are not aware of the things you do when on camera during meetings and your mind starts to wander. I would keep close track of these things.

It’s all very interesting, and it gets more interesting when it comes to our workers in the field. It doesn’t matter if you are working in a warehouse, or are a driver, an installer, a helper, a maintenance person or a salesperson — all of our jobs and routines have changed. Our attitudes have to be different. We have to be trained and understand all the principles of social distancing and how to wear personal protective equipment.

Many of our installers, field workers and techs have been laid off and some cannot come back because of issues with children or spouses or high-risk relatives. Our companies are doing a wider variety of tasks to make a living. Our workers are learning skills and the tricks of the trade to perform these new tasks. The workers have to wear masks in their own vehicles when they are driving around with their assistants.

At the time of writing this article, I, as a business owner, am wondering as we get a bit busier each day how I am going to direct Line 2 or 3 or 4 of my phone system when we all work from home.

It’s going to be interesting as we start using these phone systems that forward your call automatically when the call has not been answered in four rings. Many people are using government subsidy money to change, tweak or completely reprogram their customer relationship management systems to now text our customers rather than call them. Text is better than email for reminders and the “I’m on my way message.” Are you taking advantage of the opportunity?

The other big issue will be unemployment. Business owners who have spent the last several years being the beggars, not the choosers, in the hiring process see the tables turned. Now when we put up an ad we get so many applications we cannot get through the list. Many of the applicants have none of the prerequisites of the job, everyone is just desperate for a job. It is interesting how different the hiring process is now. This is the second time this month I am really stuck on which applicant to choose from.

I am hoping these changes in the times will allow us to finally get a great slate of candidates to choose from. The job candidates can now be chosen for skill, experience and attitude. I can train for skill. I cannot train someone to have a good attitude.

All I can say about the CFCRA in these odd times is that we are holding ourselves together as an association so that when our times get closer and closer to whatever our new normal will be, we will be there to provide our new world’s workforce the skills required to become installers and sales people.

Hopefully this time around we can improve the industry’s attitude of indifference towards manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines. Because as a flooring inspector, I see the quality of the installations getting worse, not better.

I believe it’s not just an indifferent attitude, it’s a lack of knowledge and skill that is making too many of our installations so bad.

So, while we have the quiet times, if you or your company would like to offer education or information on products and are looking for a way to get that information out, feel free to contact us here at the CFCRA. The only reason we are here is to act as a conduit for information and education to those who want it or need it. Come help us try and make a difference.

The Canadian Flooring Cleaning and Restoration Association (CFCRA) was preceded by the Flooring Institute of Ontario (FIO), a not-for-profit organization which proudly served the needs of flooring industry professionals in Ontario since 1962.

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