In just five years, Generation Z (born between 1990- 1999) will make up more than 20% of the workplace, and within two years Generation Y, or Millenials (born 1980-1994), will make up 50% of the workforce. These younger generations entering the workplace come equipped with new ideas and expectations for the professional world. Are you ready to accommodate these generational shifts? Here are some suggestions to keep your company ahead of the curve and create lasting, multi-generational pillars for cohesive company culture.
Creativity & Collaboration
Younger generations value innovation and creativity in the workplace. They thrive on collaboration and interaction. To encourage this, use cross-departmental meetings to foster innovation and creativity.
Company-wide events or meetings to introduce new team members and updates on company initiatives promote a more cohesive dynamic. At Greenleaf, every month we have a company-wide "huddle." This meeting is for managers of each department to give quick updates to the rest of the company on important big-picture projects they're handling and also makes time for cross-departmental praise. My employees have the opportunity to express gratitude for team members (in their department or not) in a company-wide setting to recognize people who are fostering our core values.
Both Millennials and Generation Z crave coaching and mentorship when entering the workplace. They value learning from their superiors and want recognition for their hard work. Mentorship programs for young employees are proven to increase retention and leadership potential while making a lasting professional impact.
If your younger team members are slow to pipe up in meetings, ask for their input and actively encourage their participation. Younger generations may have fresh ideas that are different enough from the current thinking that they can tend to be quickly dismissed. Make room for opportunities to present new ideas to foster their creativity and growth, and show recognition for a job well done.
Adapt To Change
With change comes avenues for opportunity. Embrace the digital advances that come with more traditionally tech-savvy generations, which can provide new solutions. Could a collaboration with a local university to allow their marketing students to work on a case study on one of your business challenges unearth some fresh ideas? Could loosening up your office hour protocols to allow more offsite work promote productivity and creativity?
It's possible to evolve with the shifting generational landscape while holding on to your company mission and values. The business world is changing with this shift, and your company's health depends on managing changing values and work styles with a proactive and inclusive approach.