Embracing Generational Disruption in the Workplace

Tech savvy Ÿ| Always connected Ÿ| Ambitious |Ÿ Self-focused Ÿ| Eager to learn Ÿ| Don’t like to waste time Ÿ| Entrepreneurial |Ÿ Freedom-loving Ÿ| Good multi-taskers |Ÿ Feel respect should be earned by actions not titles Ÿ| Want frequent feedback and validation |Ÿ Fun-loving

According to Jonathan Ebenstein, Partner/Managing Director, Marketing, at Skoda Minotti these traits are commonly exhibited by Millennials. “Their concerns have to be appreciated,” he said, “or they will leave. We recently hired someone who left her previous firm after a couple of months because she didn’t like how she was being managed.”

Every generation is described by its characteristics. In truth, the level of disruption today probably is close to what it was when the Baby Boomers came into the workplace, only then the Boomers were the disruptees. Now that they’re on the other side of the equation, they often feel differently.

Firm leaders need to remember that the generational characteristics they are having such a hard time dealing with already are on the road to becoming the new workplace norm. And just as they are beginning to accept this, here comes Gen Z, ready to join the workforce and impact it with their own set of values.

The reaction of the Boomers probably mirrors that of the Traditionalists as the disruptive Boomers entered the workplace challenging the rules and looking for personal gratification. The duty-bound Traditionalists could not understand the shift.

As you look at the above list, though, it becomes clear that it contains many traits that today’s forward-thinking firm leaders look for. For example, firms are becoming more entrepreneurial and process-oriented, so why not hire someone with these talents—and be ready to value their input? Conversely, Millennial staff needs to understand that not all of their suggestions will be adopted.

This kind of change is not comfortable. It takes acceptance and adjustment on both sides. Still, leaders of businesses that will sustain over time understand it is an inevitable part of the business life cycle and they accommodate the change. Below, Ebenstein’s shares some of the approaches his firm has successfully implemented.

Attract and Retain Millennials:

Assess cultural alignment

> Goes hand-in-hand with motivational fit. The core values of both parties need to align. If they don’t, it’s best for both parties that they part sooner rather than later.

Offer interview training to those involved in the interview process

> Individualize the hiring process. Who needs to be involved in the process? The hiring team depends on factors such as level and interests.

Provide interview guides to ensure interview experiences are legal and on message

> Everyone needs to be on the same page so the message remains consistent

Conduct stay interviews for valued employees thought to be at risk of leaving

> Periodic one-on-one interviews to help determine what would make the job better for the individual

Assign coaches/mentors

> Support success

Pay an incentive for referrals

> Friends like having friends at work

Provide fun experiences

> Change things up. Have the partners host and do the cooking at an event like a busy-season brunch.

> Highlight what future generations love about your firm. This series of videos asks the children of employees that they think about things like teamwork and thought leadership.

Who in any generation wouldn’t like these things?

If you are someone who is looking for a new job, either actively or passively, reading this blog should give you lots of food for thought. You spend a lot of time at work, even if you telecommute or have flex-time. What is it you want from your employer? What questions do you want to ask during the interview process?

Work it backwards so you can look for green lights—and red ones. Start with the reception area. Does the receptionist look friendly? Do people at the firm generally seem happy? What reading material is in the waiting area? Is it current? These sorts of clues can indicate firm culture, so be aware of them. They should factor in as you decide whether the firm is a good fit.

The discomfort of a new generation entering the workplace is a normal part of the business life cycle. Success happens when each generation recognizes the value in the other.

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  • Date Posted

    July 7, 2016
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