This Insights article was contributed by Sal Vetri, M.S., post-millennial consultant for Leath HR Group.
Much time and research has been allocated by think tanks to decipher the different characteristics of each generation and how these generations interact in the workplace. Everyone has been talking about “those millennials” for a decade and how other generations communicate with the kids coming out of school. Now there’s a new generation — post-millennials — hello! And we’re a lot like all of the other generations: we come with many positive attributes that generations before us could supplement their strengths with and we want a little training and mentorship to help your business thrive.
The vast research and studies for discovering how to manage modern day, multi-generational teams are beneficial, and we should continue to seek mutual understanding. In theory, these studies should lead to a more productive business and ultimately a measurable increase to the bottom-line. However, when putting these new school theories to work, we still have old school barriers interfering with our business goals. These barriers are specifically interrupting the impact that younger generations can have on the workplace, especially when paired with older generations.
Younger generations enter the workplace with an updated education, natural and relevant technology skills, fresh perspectives, and a general willingness to learn/adapt. Yes, we want to learn and receive training and feedback; we want to be productive employees! When paired with thoughtful mentor/mentee relationships, new grad employees learn about leadership, business strategy, and effective practices for business. But this relationship is not just a one-way street. Older generations benefit from this symbiotic relationship too, potentially even more. Older generations gather on-the-job technology training, tips on automating processes, and fresh perspectives on successful business trends that are tied up in most new school technology. These are just a few benefits of mentorships between younger and older generations.
Businesses are often fast to develop and implement new processes, yet slow to remove outdated, existing ones. We feel excitement when being innovative but discomfort when it comes to constructively evaluating our old ways, “that’s the way we do it” or “that’s just the way John operates” or “we’ve always done it that way” are examples of cultural barriers that prevent new grads from joining your team in the first place and subsequently, sticking around. The opportunity cost of old-school experience barriers for entry-level jobs has become more worrisome today than ever before. Organizations that continue to have strict 3-5-year experience requirements for their lower-level jobs are already falling behind the competition. Limiting the access of educated, skilled, and more affordable labor is not currently a recipe for success, nor will it be in the future. The organizations that adapt first with university outreach programs (internships, co-ops, job shadowing days) will likely realize quicker returns and higher productivity levels of all of their employed generations.
This is not about the ‘fairness’ for young college graduates when entering the workplace. No, this is about creating the most productive work environment possible that will ultimately lead to greater returns. The first-movers have already began reducing the number of entry-level jobs with experiential requirements. These companies, typically found in the consulting and IT industries, have found there to be a beneficial impact to both their younger and older generations. But, business owners who employ new grads must have a robust onboarding plan to ensure success for their fresh, smart talent!
It should be noted that younger generations value productivity greatly. According to Entrepreneur.com, Microsoft found that 93% of their younger workers correlated productivity with happiness. This same survey also found that 92 percent of their younger works keep a functional to-do list. We’re seeing more young business owners and they should consider hiring the newest generations into their businesses to increase productivity because new grads are productivity masters. Let’s get to hiring new grads, folks!
Ask yourself: are we restricting younger generations from the workplace due to an outdated “experience” requirement? This is not about being fair, it is about being profitable. The impacts of a multi-generational workplace have been studied and the benefits are evident. Yet many businesses choose to avoid green talent because they don’t have dedicated resources to be thoughtful about an onboarding, training or mentoring program. There are consultants to help with this.
Call Leath HR Group today to get help with your new grad recruiting strategy, including internships, co-ops, onboarding and mentor programs. Good luck and make it a priority to meet and hire some new grads!
Lisa Leath, SHRM-SCP is the President of Leath HR Group. She is a strategic HR leader with clients across industries, from start-ups to $100M+ in annual revenue. Before starting the business in 2017, she was VP, Human Resources at an international pharmaceutical organization with 7 global locations. Prior to that, she spent 8 years with a Fortune 300 manufacturing company at multiple plants in Employee Relations and HR leadership roles. Her first job out of Penn State was in NYC, where she worked in HR at a large intellectual property law firm. No matter the business or industry, the approach to her career has remained consistent – stay on the cutting edge of benchmarked best practices, then tailor “next practice” HR solutions to specific industries and situations. She has a reputation for building great processes and strategic direction for demanding clients. Lisa is a Senior Certified Professional through the Society of Human Resource Management.
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