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Having a wide range of generations represented in your workplace increases innovation and creative problem solving and helps you understand a customer base comprised of a variety of generations. Be mindful when discussing generalities about generations, you’re doing so with the intent of gaining insights that build bridges, not to pigeonhole or create walls.
Don’t get overwhelmed by having to understand new generations every ten to fifteen years; generations don’t change overnight. When we look at generational trends and shifts, we look at parenting trends, technology, and the economy and job market. For example, Gen Zs tend to be parented by Gen Xers and take on some of their parents’ mentality; they might be a little more conservative with their paychecks and look at multiple streams of income. On the other hand, Millennials, who were often raised by Boomers, tend to be dreamers, believe that they can do anything if they put their mind to it, and be a little less concrete in the way they think about the future.
More and more, companies are understanding the importance of embracing tech, not just for the sake of being “cool,” but to shorten processes around application and onboarding and as an opportunity to connect quicker and more efficiently with current and future employees. They’re taking on the mindset of bringing in younger generations who grew up with the technology to help make it happen instead of trying to learn it themselves.
Organizations are also starting to offer more mental and emotional health resources and acknowledge those as important issues. While older generations appreciate those resources too, the younger generations are expecting that their organizations will protect their emotional well-being as well as their physical well-being.
Don’t get too focused on the next generation. You need to pay attention to your older employees too! Developmentally, the younger generations are often settling into a community, while the older generations are looking to leave their mark on the world. Gen Xers and Boomers are more likely to be thinking about their life dreams and how to make their mark than Millennials and Gen Zers, but the latter are the ones often getting those questions.
Be careful not to get hung up on the big picture trends; generational research plays a small role in terms of understanding the people that work for you. It’s better to know their individual stories and what motivates them and to spend your time and energy listening to the people right in front of you.
In this episode’s listener mail, we’re asked for suggestions for people experiencing scope creep as it relates to their role. In the news, McLean and Company issued a 2023 HR Trends report.
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