“There was no respect for youth when I was young, and now that I am old, there is no respect for age -- I missed it coming and going.” ~ J.B. Priestly
Much has been made in the press about the difficulty employers are finding with new hires from the generation known as the Millennials (born 1981 and up). Different world views, different economic realities, and different technological and cultural upbringing has created a wider generation gap in the office for these young professionals than with previous generations. The solutions to fix this "gap" are not that difficult!
I’ve addressed this already in previous blog posts ...
Here at BRODY, we even have a specific program known as “Bridging the Generational Gap,” designed and delivered by Senior Facilitator Amy Glass. If this is a topic that concerns you (or for which you can use guidance), take a look at Amy’s interview in the April/May/June issue of Selling Power magazine, entitled "Understanding the New Generation of Reps."
I’d like to add a bit more on this topic, specifically for coaches, trainers and hiring managers who work with this generation, also known as Generation Y. It’s really worth your while to put a bit of extra attention, energy and understanding into training this group, because they are innovative, sharp, and eager to learn and advance -- despite all studies and jokes to the contrary.
“The older generation thought nothing of getting up at five every morning - and the younger generation doesn't think much of it either.” ~ John J. Welsh
Here are four tips that will help bridge this generational gap and create a happier and more productive workspace, with loyal, engaged employees who are meeting and exceeding your expectations:
1. Set clear expectations from the get-go. They can include dress code, cell phone use, and anything else you’ve experienced difficulty with in the past. This is helpful for all employees, regardless of generation.
2. Let new hires know exactly how feedback will be given. Does your firm have specific protocols for feedback on an ongoing basis, or is there nothing other than an annual review? This might not be enough -- why risk discouraging or even losing new talent (of any generation) because no effort was made to evaluate, course-correct, or give praise when needed throughout the year?
3. Show respect, regardless of how much experience your employee has or doesn't have. This is old news, dating back to Methuselah. You’ve got to give it to get it, and especially with this younger generation.
4. Offer in-house or outside trainings, certifications, and other educational opportunities. You’ve hired them, why wouldn’t you want to make the most of them? Continuing education is always a win-win for any company.
What if you are already experiencing generational friction and frustration with your new generation of employees? Address it honestly, in a non-threatening way. People see things very differently -- until you discuss it, you’ll only be making assumptions. And you know what they say about assuming ...
As you can see, although these tips are written specifically to address the latest generation gap we’re all hearing so much about, in fact they are tips that have stood the test of many generations. BRODY celebrated its 30th Anniversary this year, and this is the same kind of advice we’ve always given.