By Phil Harwood
If you haven’t noticed, the next generation (Millennials and Gen Z) has a different view of their professional lives than Baby Boomers and Gen Xrs. Understanding and embracing these differences is crucial for any organization hoping to be able to attract and retain talent.
Unfortunately, many owners/managers are unable to relate to the next gen and express great frustration for the attitudes and behaviors of Millenials and Gen Z. I’ve recently had some pretty lively discussions about these generational differences, with the older generation expressing great disdain for being forced to deal with these “Tide PODS® snorting snowflakes.”
The reality is that all organizations are facing the same challenges, with a declining workforce participation rate, aging population, and resulting labor shortage. Employers who seek to understand these generational differences are going to snap up the talent they need. Employers who resist, complain, and expect the next gen to conform to their generation’s viewpoint are going to be left out in the cold.
One of these differences has to do with parental involvement. As a Baby Boomer, this is one of those differences that I see very clearly. Parents of my generation were mostly not involved in the careers of their children, especially into their child’s 20s and 30s. As we all know, parents of Millennials are often highly involved and parents of Gen Z (also affectionately called iGen) are intimately involved, even to point of being referred to as “helicopter parents” and “lawnmower parents.”
The shift in parental involvement is a great example of how these generational differences are viewed by the older generations. One view is that the involved parenting is just plain wrong; it is promoting a coddled, dependent generation. Another view is that it is not wrong in the least, but it is different, for sure. The first view will result in opposition to this new reality. The second view will result in embracing it. Which view does your organization hold?
When I was in high school, I thought the coolest car on the road was an Olds Cutlass Supreme. Today’s new drivers were two years old when the last Oldsmobile was produced. Things change. Trying to hold onto the past is a losing effort. It’s time to embrace the differences of a new generation. They are not wrong, just not the same.
Now go forth.
Tags: Millennials , Gen Z ,