Whether you're ready or not, we Gen Y-ers are spreading through the workforce like wildfire. And what's next? Gen Z is just around the corner from joining the party. Should companies have prepared for this change? YES. If changes were not made for the immersion of Gen Y-ers, take that as a learning opportunity, and implement "next" practices in preparation for the next round of Millennials, Gen Z. The Millennial generation has a much different take on the workforce and what the future looks like. This is neither a good nor a bad thing. It is exactly what it sounds like: different.
Let's talk stereotypes.
- Millennials: pretentious know-it-alls who possess a dire need for instant gratification...whether they deserve it or not.
- Baby Boomers: People typically old enough to be our parents who firmly believe in their systematic ways...Why? Because they said so!
Is there some validity to both stereotypes? Sure. But I think it's more prudent to say that baby boomers DO know what they’re doing...after all, they've been out there doing it for much longer than us rugrats. However, do we Millennials have a fresh take on new practices? Of course! So where do we go from here? We have two TOTALLY different generations TRYING to work together. My attempt at a compromise:
- Baby Boomers: Please prepare for us. Maybe you’re not totally thrilled to have us, but we are SO anxious to embark on this "real world" journey we’ve been told about.
- Millennials: You prepare too...It is not going to be easy to persuade potential bosses of your "expertise" in a field you have little or no experience in yet. You are selling your personality and work ethic. Go with it.
- Baby Boomers: Embrace flexibility. This is something all of your employees (not just Millennials) will appreciate. If your employees can work hours when they are most creative and\or most productive, what’s the harm in that? If they need to take a loved one to the doctor during the day, but continue to work when they return at home at night to finish a deadline, why not? You’ll always have the sneaks that abuse the system, but on the other hand, your hard-working employees will appreciate you and their jobs SO much more. I KNOW you want talent retention.
- Millennials: Be patient. This is me preaching to the choir. It is so hard for us to wait for something we want so badly, we can taste it. But let’s realize this is a transitional period in the workforce and if we want to make a good name for ourselves, we must have some grace, and wait our turn.
I could probably keep the numbers going, but the likelihood of you reading down to number 100 is slim – so I’ll spare you. You’re welcome. The bottom line is, the mesh of Millennials and Baby Boomers is a change we cannot avoid. We all want to be progressive, and in order to do that, we must embrace this huge business transformation by blending "best" practices with "next" practices.