At its best, a work floor is a good reflection of society and is home to employees with a variety of backgrounds and ages. They have different educational experiences and different backgrounds. Do you employ people from generations Y and Z? If so, this can only be a benefit for your company – provided that you integrate them in the correct way. Here are a few pointers and some recommendations.
Who Are Generations Y and Z?
Generation Y is the successor to generation X and includes everyone born in the period 1982-2001. Another term that is frequently used for this generation is the millennials. This generation is seen as egocentric, lazy and impatient. On the other hand, it is also characterised by creativity, broad-mindedness and high social responsibility. Some people think that millennials bear the consequences of poor educational methods and technology, but that does not alter the fact that they are ambitious.
Anyone who was born after 2002 belongs to generation Z. These young people are quietly trickling into the employment market and have learnt from the mistakes of the previous generation. How do they differ most from generation Y? They have an extremely realistic attitude. The current threats of terrorism and other global conflicts have made them more cautious, and the economic crises have made them more careful with money. They realise only too well that they have to continuously learn new skills and have an enterprising attitude. The two generations do, however, have several things in common: the youngest generation also wants to have an impact on the world at any cost and is more engaged than ever with corporate social responsibility.
Integrating Generation Y
Millennials have been brought up with the idea that they are special and can achieve anything. When they are suddenly told in their first job that they have underperformed and do not easily get everything they want, it comes as a blow to their self-confidence. So, try to be gentler with this generation. You should give millennials sufficient confirmation and show them that you believe in them. Furthermore, it’s best not to place too many restrictions on generation Y. Millennials have strong opinions which they enjoy voicing. They are the best at multitasking, so give them a variety of tasks which let them sufficiently exploit their understanding of technology.
Since generation Y is accustomed to predominantly making contacts online, many do not invest greatly in deep relationships. They also quickly reach for their smartphone during idle moments. As an employer, you can promote their social integration by organising sports activities or after-work drinks. Furthermore, it is also better to bar smartphones from the meeting room. By doing this, millennials will listen more keenly to others in the room and will more readily enter personal conversations with their colleagues before the meeting.
Finally, a more effective way of communicating with this generation is through values. They are more interested in “why” rather than “what” and “how”. These young people want to do meaningful work. Generation Y works with greater passion if it knows the results of its efforts. What about salaries? This is not an insignificant point either. Although many say that they place greater importance on intrinsic added value, when push comes to shove, salary also appears to be a crucial element in their choice of jobs.
Integrating Generation Z
Generation Z bears the hallmark of uncertain times and social media. It is also the first generation with a genuinely global mindset. However, its most striking characteristic is perhaps entrepreneurship. Over half of the young people in generation Z would like to start their own business. To feed this entrepreneurial instinct, it is best for employers to give these young people sufficient projects of their own. Let them demonstrate what they are capable of doing and give them a chance to make an impact.
It is also best to take this generation of realists into account in your communication. Always communicate openly and honestly. This generation will, just as keenly as more senior colleagues, shoot holes in any ambiguous communication or half-truths.
Lastly, you should also make the most of this generation’s awareness about the digital world. Create content that these young people can share on social media. For instance, they could make their own videos about events or special occurrences within your organisation. This will allow them to indulge their creative side and identify more strongly with your company.
Would you like to join the discussion about integrating young talent? Feel free to contact us!
Maybe you even want to join our workshop around the theme “Millennials @ Work” this coming October in the Belgian office? Contact us for more info.