HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS: THE YOUNG PEOPLE ARE COMING.
Into your offices, that is.
And if they aren’t, then why? By 2020 – that’s less than a year’s time – over half the workforce will be comprised of people born after the 1980. If you’re not seeing a huge change in your team demographics as it grows or struggle with keeping grads for long, we can bet it’s probably because of one of the reasons below.
If you’re wondering “why do I have less twenty-somethings than is considered normal?”, this one’s for you.
P.S. If this reminds you of yourself, even a little bit…
…then we guess you have your reason.
You want people who’ve got their hands dirty in the past, convinced that anyone who comes to you knowing nothing won’t have the bare skills and knowledge necessary to succeed from the get-go.
But do you have any idea what you’re letting go at the expense of wanting the finished package? Talent, that’s what.
Don’t get us wrong – we’re not saying make the applicant with zero Adobe Creative Suite skills your Head of Design and give someone a go at playing doctor when they’ve never done a day of medicine. But if your prospective future employee has that spark and the drive to give the job their all – and all that’s missing from their CV is a few lines about some six-month unpaid internship – what’s to say they won’t stun the masses and go on to become one of your key players?
With online courses, YouTube tutorials and a plethora of books to be read that cover everything there is to know, is an official certificate or degree the only proof that’s worthy? Surely if someone upskilled themselves, they’ll be willing to do it again?
Young people are malleable – they have the perfect amount of flexibility and agility to be shaped into whatever you coach them to be. Use their natural strengths, because sometimes, a slight push is all they need to really come into their own.
It’s often said that in order to feel the part, you have to look the part – but judging a book by its cover is dead.
There are ten year old prodigies becoming CEOs wearing the stuff their mum bought them, and Steve Jobs wore the same outfit everyday.
Think about it like this – your team have a good head on their shoulders and the desire to climb when they’re clad in whatever they deem comfortable. The recipe for success is already there.
Throw on an uncomfortable suit as a mandatory measure, and they’ll be far too focused on the suffocating tie wrapped around their necks than the task at hand. The millennials and Gen Z have the power to write whole dissertations in their pyjamas (believe us, we’ve been there) – don’t package them as something else when the raw talent’s already there sans-dress code.
You’re a ‘rocketship’. You’re constantly scaling heights and stopping at nothing to go about it – but people (and hear us out on this) aren’t as simple as step-by-step business plans and solid KPIs.
It’s a tumultuous time for the post-grad. They’ve swapped regular lie-ins and optional lectures for fixed our weeks and early mornings. And that’s just for starters.
The ‘just be happy’ mantra that mental health is used to being combatted with doesn’t sit well with us. Neither does a closed door policy. Brushing things under the carpet won’t speed your team up, believe us. In fact, it’ll cause disaster in the long run.
The lines between work and play are blurring, and if you don’t address this shift, you’ll create a team that clock-watches and only turns up for their salary. Do anything you can to engage with your workforce. Encourage open dialogue, and don’t be under the mindset that it isn’t your responsibility to support them in personal matters. It’s what we actively encourage at Orama HQ (shameless plug time), and we’ve had fourteen quarters of constant growth in every sense of the term, so it can’t be that destructive.
Go above and beyond to acknowledge your team are people with people problems, and they’ll repay you with their time and effort (and, you know, by not being convinced you’re a heartless zombie).
The workforce steadily populating offices now are nothing like the workforce you’re used to dealing with.
They don’t think of the working world as the be-all-and-all. We’ve got family to visit, friends popping their international backpacking tours on instastories, (and Louis Theroux’s worldwide escapades are only a Netflix search away). Seeing the world as much as we can has taken centre stage, and settling has taken the backseat.
Having a fixed number of holidays tells your team ‘I don’t care about your dreams as much as I care about controlling the fun levels around here’. The conflict is that we want it all – we want to have fun, but equally want to earn and develop. Upset the balance of the force, and all we’re gonna be thinking about is how we could be posing on Swiss mountains rather than enviously giving out likes to those (literally) living the high life on a summit.
Investing in our dreams is investing in us completely. Investing in us completely makes us want to work hard for you. Trust us to not take the biscuit and book an eight week cruise three times in a year, and we will reward you with our loyalty.
Newsflash: no one likes being taken hostage. Not even if they’re being paid for it.
The world of old presumed that every single one of us on the planet can be productive in the exact same place. Then came Slack, Google Hangouts and every social media app under the sun, and suddenly you could do absolutely anything you wanted from anywhere on earth – even work. Except, some businesses haven’t caught onto the beauty of this diaspora and fancy sticking to tradition.
We get it – you want a busy office, an office to represent how much you’re thriving. But how is someone going to be engaged and invested completely in your growth when they’re thinking ‘I’m a young person, get me out of here’ most of the time?
You have to trust that your designer will have those mock-ups sorted, even when he’s basking in the Barcelona sun or clocking in from the comfort of his own sofa. Especially when he’s doing these things. You chose this team because you knew they were the best – don’t let convention get the best of you and sacrifice talent for approval.
While it might be a nice feeling to hit a good strike, the odd game at lunch doesn’t necessarily count as the epitome of workplace culture to us Gen Zers.
Whether it’s pool, or Scrabble, Fifa or a classic Singstar sesh, no one’s going to think ‘I can’t possibly leave after Lily smashed that rendition of “Africa”’ when a better offer comes along with real benefits.
No matter how much Lily sounds like Beyonce.
Real culture to us are things that make us feel comfortable (and no, that doesn’t mean you invest in an army of beanbags. Sitting on one might make a young workforce feel at ease for about three minutes, but if it’s positioned in an environment that neither inspires nor upskills them is it really worth it?). They’re initiatives that provide Gen Z affirmation: regular coaching, personalised rewards for hard work and sick days without a grilling involved aren’t exactly as slick as fancy gadgets but that’s the point – a good culture isn’t the lovechild of money and rocket science.
No one is going to feel like they’ve found ‘the one’ (job, not significant other) when they’re subject to the boiler room lifestyle the minute they clock in. Rid the office of boundaries, set a clear mission for the team to be inspired by and ensure everyone, from COO to newest intern, feels equally integral to operations.
The era of hierarchy is gone. The era of collaboration has arrived.