Welcome to another year of discussion and confusion about managing a workforce comprised of more generations. Each generation next will be different than the one before. Our job as leaders is to adapt while focusing on the future of our organizations. Where do we start?
We are officially calling this youngest generation ‘Z’ and we know a little more about them as they emerge into adulthood and employment:
- These are the first true digital natives. Gen Z’s have known technology their entire lives, whereas Gen X and older are
digital immigrants – they learned technology post-childhood.
- They are a large group – estimated at 65 million people. By contrast, Millenials are estimated at 71 million people, and Boomers still reign as the largest group in history, at one point measured at 74 million people. What can we expect from this large group of new workers? They are less focused on work-life balance than the Millennial population. But not by much.
- These workers are looking for opportunities to advance and excel in a slightly different way – if you thought your Millennial population was focused on fast advancement, you’ll be even more amazed at the speed the Z’s look for advancement.
- The Gen Z population relies more on YouTube than Amazon, also a shift. What is your opportunity to use more video in your staff development? New phone system? How about a 3-minute video on how to use it? New software? How about a quick video introducing the two or three things most appropriate for the audience? This may mean multiple videos for the various roles in your organization. It also might mean faster return to productivity.
What if you transformed your company LinkedIn page to a YouTube channel? Put your onboarding video, along with a number of other clips that will attract your next employees and connect your current team. What would be one step toward more video in your organization?
We have two workforce generations interested in advancing quickly, what do we do to address it? Instead of noticing the differences, prepare micro moves in responsibilities, challenges and advancements. Consider how you can grow technical skills alongside relational skills, setting goals that are part of the advancement path for your people.
Sometimes the challenges of a multiple generation environment seem insurmountable. Our opportunity is to be curious and consider how we can integrate and adapt so the youthanization isn’t your euthanization.
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