Have you seen this video?
What do you think? It made me think…….. It also chimes with current recruitment shortages, and links to thoughts around multi generational working.
One of the areas I like to concentrate on is how we interact at work. There has been lots of research focused on what each generation can learn from each other with some fascinating work explained here:
That is one side of learning about each other, but how many of us Generation X or Baby Boomers have really thought about the issues Simon Sinek talks about? Many of us are responsible for the next generation and how they have been brought up, developed, educated and introduced to work. Some of us take time to really get to know how our colleagues think and how they prefer to work, others are ingrained in “this is how we’ve always done it”. Innovation and creativity can come from anywhere, but questioning is vital to really bring new ideas forward.
Multi generational working has huge advantages. Experience and corporate history is absolutely vital. I once heard about a large redundancy programme at a manufacturing plant. A particular individual had been shaping a pipe over his knee for decades. He opted for voluntary redundancy and only when he had gone, did anyone realise that the shape of his knee was vital to the production! They had to buy him back in to take a cast of his knee!!!
We sometimes make enormous assumptions about technology, and there are times when we are right. Generations Y & Z have been brought up with technology in their lives since they were born, and they tend, in the main, to adapt to changes in technology very rapidly. Often, due to the high use of technology, their ability to multi task is exceptional. Alongside that is also a desire to be constantly stimulated. They may get bored easily (but that isn’t restricted to Gen Y & Z (Millennials)). We need to consider that in terms of work allocation.
What is becoming apparent from the research and rhetoric is that there are certain parts of the psychological contract that younger workers truly value. The most talked about is flexibility. Some of us from Gen X or Baby Boomers may prefer clear definition between “work” and “life” (Not all, I’m trying hard not to generalise), but those lines blur comfortably for many of our younger colleagues, and organisations would do well to explore that and how it may work with traditional working hours. I accept that often specific roles need to be available for customers, clients, patients etc., but many roles do lend themselves to some form of flexibility.
So, my reason for writing this is to encourage organisations to start the conversation. Finding out what we value from each other as individuals, where our strengths lie, and how we can ensure that rather than generalising about what each “generation” does, appreciating the differences and embracing what we do that is the same. Everyone is learning at work, as workplaces don’t stand still, so open minds and open communication can really help, and through such learning we can work out what we need to do to attract the next generation of employees. This will be increasingly vital as the job market tightens and we are fighting for skilled people.
We have recently seen that the Armed Forces and Police are struggling to recruit the numbers they need. There are multiple reasons for this (no one easy answer) but maybe understanding what people really want from the workplace and considering the gains from employing across the generations, might ease the burden.
I always want to hear what others think about such ideas…………