It’s May 2017 which means thousands of high school and college students are graduating and, if not already, will be flooding the workforce looking for a job. As business owners, hiring managers and co-workers we all have the same fears… what will this new generation bring to the workplace? How will we interact with so many different viewpoints? Who are these people? Why do they think they know everything? When will they actually contribute?
These are all valid questions but they do not address just one generation or one point of view. In today’s society we have the most diverse generations trying to collaborate and work together and each generation brings to the table a different view point, a different skill set, a different passion, and a different why. It is our job as leaders to build a culture within our organizations that allows for growth, diversity, understanding and structure.
We need to focus on the positives of each generation and not the negatives. I hear from many business leaders and employees the negatives of each generation and that is what is focused on. But what if we focused on what we can learn from each other (value our differences), how we can utilize technology in a different way (iGen self-taught via YouTube), who our consumers are (the marketplace is highly impacted by all generations), why do people utilize our services/buy our product (convenience, environmental, technological), and when we can make a difference (environmentally focused). The results could be extremely impactful to our organizations.
Understanding each Generation from Baby Boomers to the new Gen Z or iGen and tapping into the value that each generation brings can make our organizations stronger from the inside out. People are the life-blood of our work and with that comes challenges, but the way in which we tackle those challenges and turn them into opportunities defines our successfulness as a business owner, manager and workplace
Fun Facts on the generations in the workplace:
Bill Clinton was the first Baby Boomer to serve as President
Not your typical Senior Citizen (i.e., Jerry Seinfeld, Stevie Nicks, George Clooney)
78% are online
Post World War II
No member of Gen X has served as President
Highest amount of debt; credit card reliant
Sandwich generation/ caring for children and parents
1st Gulf War crisis
Family is a high priority/ strive for work life balance
Highest percentage of students in college/or workforce with college degrees
Huge student debt/makes loyal employment
Defined by school shootings & 9/11
Do not remember a time without social media
Highly educated; formally through college but also self-taught with YouTube & Pinterest
Eco-conscious/ Humanity’s impact on the environment
Post 9/11 era