The jan/san industry is not getting any younger. Distributors historically have struggled to recruit young professionals and recent graduates to sell toilet tissue, vacuums and other “unglamorous” products. With Baby Boomers retiring in droves, distributors need to find replacements for these vacancies. But more than simply filling a need, distributors really should be cultivating the future.

Sanitary Maintenance asked its advisory board members how they’ve been reaching out to the next crop of employees. Not every company featured has had success attracting the new generation, but they’ve all learned some lessons along the way.

Here’s what they had to say:

Question: What can a company offer in terms of perks or benefits to attract young professionals?

Many younger professionals give feedback that they are looking for flex time, paid time off, retirement plans with immediate entry and technology.
— Charles Wax, President, Waxie Sanitary Supply, San Diego

Benefits, car allowance and a commission structure.
— Hank Josephs, President, Spruce Industries, Rahway, N.J.

We do offer many benefits but they are customized to the individual’s priorities such as continued educational support, flexible hours and an open agenda for them to know they are being mentored and valued as part of the future and not just a utilitarian temporary means.
— George Abiaad, President, Royal Corp., Santa Fe Springs, Calif.

Benefit packages for younger individuals need to be about perks and bonuses rather then benefits. A lot of young professionals are just starting out and are looking to make money and build stability and families, and are not strongly focused on things like insurance or retirement. They like that there are bonus incentives, referral incentives, company outings, etc. So there are a lot of perks that companies can look at, such as office parties, that have lower costs to a company, but huge added benefits to the employee.
— Eric Cadell, V.P. of Operations, Dutch Hollow Janitorial Supplies, Belleville, Ill.

Flexible hours, opportunity to do multiple things within the company, feel like they are growing with the company. We are conducting Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University for our people now. It’s important that we offer a culture of growth (including personal, financial, etc.), the opportunity to earn according to effort and expertise, and the ability to control their income through performance.
— Paul “Dutch” Owens, President, Gem Supply, Orlando, Fla.

Flex hours, paid medical, matching 401K or Simple IRA, paid time off (PTO) in lieu of normal vacation time or sick time, car allowance for sales reps, team building events and tickets to sporting events.
— Shelley A. Riley, President, MaintenanceMart Janitor Supply, Phoenix

More training and more technology-based sales tools.
— Chris Nolan, President, H.T. Berry Co., Canton, Mass.

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Effective Job Postings For Young Workers
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