A recent Belgian survey of 1,200 employees says loud and clear what many just mumble about …working alongside people from other generations can be irritating.
The study conducted by a recruitment firm in Belgium found that 48% of employees are annoyed by colleagues of another generation. People over 30-years-old showed a greater frequency of irritation than those under 30.
In our latest Ask a Recruiter blog for candidates, we noted that today’s workplace is a mish-mash of four generations: Traditionalists (also known as Greatest Generation) born before 1945, babyboomers, born between 1954 and 1964, Gen X, born between 1960 and 1980, and Gen Y, born after 1980s, who are also known as millenials.
Each generation has its particular values, aspirations and approaches to work. For hiring authorities who aren’t part of Gen Y, interviewing these candidates can be a whole new ballgame.
The reputation of Gen Y, fair or not, precedes them. In a US poll of hiring managers and human resource specialists, 85% reported they believe this generation has a greater sense of entitlement.
The survey showed the great majority of respondents think the youngest employees expect more flexibility at work, more personal time, faster promotions and more money than older employees.
It’s true Gen Y may have attitude, but it’s not all bad, says Ron Alsop, in his book The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millennial Generation is Shaking Up the Workplace.
Alsop says a characteristic of Gen Y is that they are “bred for achievement.” As well, this group understands the wired world better than most and they’re born multi-taskers. They have much to offer the workplace.
At The Bagg Group, we have successfully placed people, of all ages, in all types of positions with the best companies in the GTA for more than 40 years. We know that regardless of their birth year, every individual ultimately wants the same thing – to take pride in what they do.
Still, when interviewing Gen Y candidates, for either full-time position, contract work, or a temporary placement, The Bagg Group recruiters suggest keeping these four tips top-of-mind:
Talk purpose: Be sure to tell the candidate, in detail, how they can make a difference, and why this job is important to the company. A paycheck isn’t the key motivator for these young workers; they want to know their efforts mean something.
Set out a game plan: Gen Y expert RonAlsop notes that it’s opportunity that attracts and retains the millenials. Let them know what they can strive for.
Spell it out: Make no assumptions. What older employees take for granted, studies show that Gen Y doesn’t. Discuss the expectations of the company. For example, these multi-taskers, who easily text while working, don’t necessarily know to park their cellphones during meetings. Similarly, if there’s a corporate dress code, explain why it’s in place. Typically, this generation needs to understand the reason behind the rule before they’ll respect it.
Welcome ideas: They want to be heard. Let the candidates know about forums for sharing their ideas. The best managers of Gen Y staff listen to their younger employees’ opinions, and let them have some say in decisions.
These strategies don’t just favour younger employees. At The Bagg Group, we know they work for everyone.
In fact, Gen Y’s insistence of having a voice is doing everyone a favour. They are prompting greater communication and openness in the workplace. And that is what, in the end, will keep people of all ages working harmoniously together. Studies show the only way to keep irritation to a minimum in the multi-generational workplace is to make sure people communicate.