As you may know, we recently ran a social media competition where we asked our Facebook followers for a topic they wanted advice on. Last week I wrote a blog on our first topic: Sexual Harassment in the workplace. Another topic we received from Kim van der Linden; Head of Operations at Associated Media Publishing was: ‘How does a company strategically position themselves as a preferred employer with such a diverse mindset of the various generations of the Gen Z’s, the Millennials, Gen X or Y?’
This is such an interesting topic question, and I am glad it was brought up. These different generations have completely different mindsets, and these different mindsets has a direct influence on the productivity of businesses today.
Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of these generations will help you re-shuffle and re-model your business to accommodate their strengths and increase their effectiveness.
Since there is a lot of information, I have made it easier to digest by placing the information into a table:
|Gen Xers are often labelled the “slacker” generation, uncommitted and unfocused.
They are the first generation to have experienced divorce on a large scale and are likely to have changed careers several times.
Gen Xers are considered more likely to want to keep their heads down than to change the world.
|Most organisations believe Gen X are the best overall workers.
Gen Xers are committed to juggling work with family time, and favour work-life balance in an organization.
Gen Xers are considered to be the biggest revenue generators overall.
|This generation is less inclined to say something if they disagree with management than their successive generations.
Gen Xers value being able to do things quickly and are less likely to spend overtime completing something perfectly.
|Provide these employees with meaningful and substantive assignments.
Set tasks that allow them to remain focused.
Set bonuses and quarterly raises in place to keep them focused and incentivized.
|MILLENNIALS / GEN Y
|Common put-downs include lazy, debt-ridden and programmed for instant gratification.
They are portrayed as demanding and unrealistic in their career aspirations.
|Millennials are considered the most independent workers.
Millennials are concerned with ethics and the social responsibility of the organization.
Millennials have grown up sourcing information; they need to be left to create their own processes rather than being told exactly what to do
|Due to their independent nature, Gen Y are not as interested in teamwork.
Their work ethic is weak.
They are impatient when it comes to career growth.
They are likely to leave before 2 years if they feel their leadership skills are not being developed.
|Put flexible working hours in place.
Make sure your business has a community focus.
Create small scale opportunities where these employees feel as though are being promoted.
Have regular training opportunities.
Pay attention to creating a culture and a team spirit
|GEN Z /
|This is the first generation never to have experienced the pre-internet world.
In South Africa they are known as the ‘born frees’ as they were born post-apartheid.
|The most tech competent of any generation, Gen Zers are able to pick on developments quicker than other employees.
Gen Zers are natural entrepreneurs.
Are able to multi-task unlike any other generation using up to 5 screens at once.
|Are more cynical than their predecessors, favouring a realistic outlook over the idealism of Gen Y.
This generation is not likely to show too much company loyalty.
They are very reliant on technology to solve problems for them.
|Create a collaboration between technology and personal attention
Provide the latest technology platforms and equipment.
Offer work-from-home/remote packages.
In conclusion, for your business to position themselves as a preferred employer, it needs to be flexible and adopt strategies that incorporate all these generations, but with a focus on the upcoming employee generations to attract the highly talented new workforce. For the Gen Y’s and Gen Z’s in particular, your business needs to create a relaxed culture (gone are the strict have-to-wear-a-suit-to-work days!) where each individual feels as though their input is valued and that it will be rewarded (with training, a raise or two, and with some kind of a promotion!).
Most companies need to change from environment, technology, flexibility, culture and rewards, but most don’t seem to be ready or willing especially while still being led by Baby Boomers.
The is a war for talent, are you willing to make the change to attract the best candidates?