Last week I was asked to speak to a group of Grade 11’s in their careers course about Entrepreneurship. I decided to do so because not only does it allow me a chance to give back to my community, but it also helps me with continuing research on understanding more about the distinctions between various generations.
I can summarize my findings for you quite simply: if you’ve been concerned with how to integrate younger generations into your existing workforce today, then you haven’t seen anything yet.
Now, I’m not here to suggest anything that is bad. Of course each generation brings with them significant value and insights. But to be clear, the freedom and lack of structure that students today are exposed to is in stark contrast to the expectations of most organizations.
Virtually every student in this Grade 11 class had a smart phone and the phone generally never left their hand, in turn, influencing their ability and desire to pay attention.
When I discussed how to identify a career that supports their desired lifestyle, very few understood what it would actually cost to live (we did an exercise to consider the costs of living following post secondary education).
Approximately 2 out of 12 students actually had a job. They were all in the ages of 15 to 16 years of age.
Driving a car was something they were looking forward to in the coming years, not something they were already doing. No one had plans to have their own car but expecting their parents to provide one.
I could go on, however here’s my point.
The “next” generation to enter the workforce in the next 8-10 years has, once again, very different needs than the generations that exist today, namely:
- They are more heavily reliant on technology, specifically that which is portable
- They have a diminished ability to communicate openly in groups
- Their ability to pay attention continues to diminish
- Their understanding of authority (for a teacher, boss, parent, etc.) continues to evolve
- They have increased freedom to come and go as they please and set their own agendas and priorities
How will these distinctions affect your team? More importantly how will this affect your organization and connections with your customers?
It strikes me that we haven’t yet learned from the “shock” of integrating millennials into our workforce, that being that, we need to stop worrying about what’s in front of us and instead consider what’s on the horizon.
Maybe it’s time to start thinking about Generation Z, rather than continue to focus on millennials? After all, 10 years as we know will be here in no time. Are you prepared?
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© Shawn Casemore 2016. All rights reserved.
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