As leaders/ CEOs, the culture you create, the tools you provide, and the general environment you establish can go a long way in attracting the best of young workers. In order to do this, there has to be a willingness to understand and embrace their difference, and a commitment to evolve at every step. In order to be equipped to deal with the newer generation and their unique sensibilities, the following list could be of help.
Embrace New Technology
Employers are commonly wary of the distractions and complications that social and digital technologies used by the younger generation bring. However, as the demographic of organisations shifts to include more Millennials and Gen-Z’ers, leaders will have to adapt to the needs of these digital natives.
And to do this, they must immerse themselves in the new digital habitat- where young employees prefer to work from different locations, travel more for their jobs and long to stay connected at all hours of the day. 26 percent of Millennials say they plan to work in two countries, and 19% want to work in three countries. Employers who recognize the distinct advantages of emerging mobile social and networking technologies will therefore thrive.
They must also work at providing varied opportunities for internal communication for this generation. These opportunities go far beyond Facebook or the intranet. The future of the workplace will be wearables, robotics, and virtual reality.
The NHS in the UK, for example, has begun to train their doctors and nurses with the help of virtual reality. Instead of learning their trade through real-life operations and emergencies, VR technology enables them to acquire and train their skills with minimal risk involved. These new methods can potentially save lives.
Continually Converse with Millennials and Gen Z
CEOs must develop a culture of effective communication across departments and functions in their organisation. Steps like this would discourage attrition within newer ranks of employees, because Millennials and Gen-Z crave a steady flow of conversation and frequent feedback more than any generation before them.
Companies seeking to be an employer of choice must leverage the collaborative revolution taking place and provide the technology, tools, and processes that facilitate and encourage it.
Conversation and feedback can take place through digital mediums but it is important to understand that the younger generations want face to face interactions as well. In fact, they prefer personal recognition, network building and teamwork and find it useful to increase their motivations and aspirations in the work place.
CEOs must keep this need for interaction in focus, to balance it with the advent of newer technologies that threaten the utility of constant human contact.
Provide Opportunities for Learning and Development.
Millennials and Gen-Z’ers have grown up in an environment of rapid technological change, constantly surrounded by easily accessible information and stimuli. They are impatient, eager for new experiences, and they thrive on short-term goals with visible results.
These character traits can cause tumultuous changes within an organisation and disturb stability of the workforce. To balance and check this, leaders must equip managers to help the new workers identify opportunities to develop new skills- which will help to foster mature and efficient attitudes within them.
Leaders must work with their project heads and team managers to come up with plans that can maintain Millennials’ attention. One way to do this, is by frequently assigning new and different projects or temporary positions within the same company.
Offer a Balance between Personal and Professional Life
The contemporary world is based on the principle of “everything at once”- a constant dynamism that rules all. Since the younger generation has had the most exposure to this world, they are expert multi-taskers and are constantly connected and plugged into various channels of information. For this reason, young workers expect flexibility and autonomy in their work.
CEOs can fulfill this desire by strategically devising plans that ensure that they receive the maximum productive output for their business, without tying Millennials and Gen-Z’ers to a 8 Hour office schedule, in the confines of an office.
Create Opportunities for Different Growth Avenues
More than any previous generation, Millennials make career decisions with more autonomy. Their work is defined by a need for inspiration and a drive for growth.
If they cannot identify a clear purpose to their work, do not see development opportunities within the company, have a hard time balancing work and personal life, or don’t have a good relationship with their superiors, they will look for an exit.
To retain them, it is therefore advisable for leaders to plan more frequent career conversations and have personal exit interviews with the unit head. It is very important to understand what failed when an employee leaves.
Foster their Digital Connected-ness
There’s no question that Gen Z and Millennials are very adept at technology, in particular, social media technologies. Their presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram has necessitated these as daily parts of their life, and now inevitably a part of work, as well. They simply cannot conceive of an unconnected, isolated life and studies show that 56% of Millennials would turn down a job that denied them access to social networks.
Leaders, instead of seeing how technology and social media hinders productivity, must work to leverage these to their advantage. For example, inverse mentoring programs could help older employees learn from Millennials’ technological skills. Including the tech savvy generation in evaluation of new purchases and technological developments could also benefit business.
A great strategy for businesses looking to expand their digital footprint can be identifying social leaders among millennial employees and turning them into brand ambassadors. This can be done by including them in employer branding activities or internal focus groups, taking them to job fairs, or making them spokespersons for the company on social media, for example.
Create a Strong Company Culture
Far from being too caught up and self-centered to notice what’s around them, Millennials and Gen Z employees are attracted to companies with a strong culture and values that are in line with their own ideals and lifestyle.
Leaders must work to build a tolerant, sustainable and pro-active enterprise so that their workforce, especially the younger ones can feel like they are part of something worthwhile that has a meaning beyond making money. They are motivated by being part of something important that positively affects their world.
If the company culture is not consistent, Millennials and Gen Z’ers will quickly grow disillusioned and seriously reconsider whether they will stay with the organization.
(Edited by Anu Choudary)
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