Dave Rees, Chief Sales Officer at SThree, discusses the importance of balancing the needs of different generations in the workplace.
Business leaders have to evolve to attract and retain the best talent, with more and more millennials and Gen Zs entering the workplace.
And many organisations are now placing a huge focus on how to become more relevant to those generations, who were born from 1980 onwards and have grown-up in the age of the internet and social media.
But are they right to do so?
It’s estimated that millennials will make up 75% of the world’s workforce by 2025, but some businesses are still unsure of what they and Gen Zs want from the workplace.
This was reflected in this year’s Deloitte Global Millennial Survey, where 49% of those surveyed said that they would, if given a choice, quit their current jobs in the next two years.
What do younger generations want from work?
The Deloitte survey also found that millennials and Gen Zs will generally support companies that have the same values as them but will end consumer relationships where they disagree with a company’s business practices, values or political leanings.
While many still want to be wealthy, the younger generations are now more concerned about climate change, protecting the environment and income equality. At the same time, they want to travel the world or have positive impacts on their communities.
And there is a growing desire from people to work on exciting short-term projects, which is driving the growth in the ‘gig economy’.
In the seventies, eighties and nineties, people thought their livelihoods were reliant upon big business but there has been a shift towards people not just wanting one big opportunity their whole life.
A lot of people now have a perfect world vision and need two or three jobs to find the culture, balance, flexibility or the conditions that fit their needs.
It means that organisations need to be more focused on delivering the promises they make to their employees or risk losing them to companies that will.
But those same organisations need to strike a balance between evolving with millennials and Gen Zs and not forgetting about previous generations.
Why bother about older generations in the future of work?
If you go back to the book Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell, it talks about the key to mastering any skill being 10,000 hours of practice. Sometimes experience is vital to really understanding what is needed in a job role and those with the ability to pass that knowledge on are often undervalued.
If you were going to have open heart surgery, would you want someone fresh out of university with limited practical experience doing it or would you prefer it was done, or at least overseen, by someone with years of experience?
Of course, you want the energy, dynamism, skills and fresh ideas that the younger generation can bring but you’ve got to have the experience to help nurture that talent and offer ideas and skills that can only be honed with years of practice.
People are living longer and healthier lives, and while the career span of younger employees is extending, the number of people over the age of 65 is continuing to grow. Businesses have to remember the value that all of the generations can bring.
Success is about evolving while balancing the needs of the entire workforce, offering flexibility, delivering on promises and being driven by a clear purpose.