A Letter to the Past Working Generations – The Work Environment Has Changed
Dear Grandpas, Grandmas, Aunts, Uncles, Moms and Dads.
Dear Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials (give or take a few)
Dear Prior Workforce Generations,
WE ARE HERE!
First, I would like to start by saying we are so excited to be here! Thank you for the warm welcome. Next, I would like to tell you that we are a different type of employee to enter the marketplace and I am excited to tell you why that is and what that means for you!
The most important thing for you to take away from this is that graduating students of 2020, 2021 and now 2022 are a very different kind of graduate than you have seen before. No, the Covid vaccines did not give us third arms or extra eye balls. Covid however, did deal this generation a very interesting hand of online learning.
The individuals who just have and are about to graduate in 2022 have spent the majority, if not all of our college/university time in the midst of covid.
The process of online learning is arduous. Zoom meetings, extra readings, presentation slide after presentation slide that never seem to end. While there are absolutely benefits to both in class and online learning it is an entirely different experience. From dodging the scary prof to science experiments in our bathtubs it felt like Bill Nye was our best friend throughout the pandemic.
Take a second and think about how much of a learning curve your first year of school was back in the day. Now take the added pressure you felt when you were told to work remotely from home in March of 2020. Not to mention the underlying anxiety that the whole globe felt in the early and unknown days. That whole experience for us was life altering! From all those first year dreams like parties with friends, living in dorm and choking down cafeteria food to sitting down in our parents basement on a video lecture, muted with their video off, not having a single friend from school and never having set foot on campus … these grads will naturally not be the same as the ones who passed before us.
Sure, we all come in wet behind the ears with nervous but hungry smiles. We are excited and with a generation who was forced to be self taught and self motivated, we are ready! My generation has the ability to adapt quickly. Think on our feet. Change the way we work and learn at the drop of a hat and all thanks to the past few years. Don’t underestimate us and be sure to utilize us for more than just coffee runs.
Times Have Changed
WAKE UP. Commenting on another person’s body is NO LONGER Acceptable. Commenting on another person’s face or clothing is also un-necessary. You really want to compliment someone? How about …
“Look at these smart ladies, hard at work.”
“Wow, I just saw (insert project here) and it looks like you are taking a lot of leadership on it!”
“Your energy today is out of this world.”
“That was hilarious, you’re so funny.”
That means so much more than the former. End of sentence . Just stop doing it.
Diversity in business is an amazing asset to a company. It brings alternative backgrounds, experiences, opinions and even networks. Embrace diversity.
Welcome to 2022! Where Black Lives Matter.
Welcome to 2022! Women and Men are EQUAL and should be paid as such.
Welcome to 2022! Where pride is another form of beautiful love where individuals of any pronoun can be themselves in private, in public and in the office.
Welcome to 2022 where there are countless issues for countless people. Don’t make your judgment or opinion be another issue for someone who does not need it.
If you have read any leadership book that has ever been written on the face of the earth there are some high probabilities that you have read a thing or two about communication. The difference being, the generation entering the workforce today is the participation trophy generation. Combining the participation trophy repercussions with the mental health issues riddling our community it is important to keep communication at the forefront of thought.
Have you ever sent a text message and gotten backlash from the youth in your life? Perhaps you sent a message like “K” (which is just rude if you don’t already know.) Or maybe you chose some very unfortunate emojis that don’t mean the same thing to you as they do to the people around you. This is not necessarily your fault. Urban Dictionary can only get you so far. However, your actions still have the ability to make other people uncomfortable. So whether it is your fault or not it is still your responsibility to meet your employees where they are at.
Ask your team what different statements mean to them and figure out the best way to communicate with each of them! You don’t want someone on your team to fear being fired all day when the purpose of “We need to talk at 4:30. I will call you.” is really just to get your food order for the next corporate dinner.
In the end there is a new generation of employees that have already and are going to continue to filter into the workplace. As management, it is your responsibility to understand the changes in the workplace beyond bringing a vending machine or ping pong table in. Work with your employees to make sure that their needs are being met so they can do their job to the best of their abilities and not let anything else get in the way.