A change is coming. You can feel it in the air. See it in people’s eyes. Hear it in the footsteps marching down the halls. Though many choose to ignore it, the tide is turning. The workforce is changing.
With every new generation entering the workforce, change is bound to occur. However, this difference that has manifested as of late is drastically different than when any other generation turned in their school books for a punch card. For the most part, older generations tended to accept certain expectations as “just the way it is,” from wearing a suit in the office to working 8-5 to work life outbalancing home life. And in some instances, these traits were even strengthened by Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.
Enter the Millennial. Determined. Focused. Optimistic. As the largest generation since the Baby Boomers, these workers are bent on making a difference in the world. They are eager to prove themselves and want meaning over monotony.
According to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans with bachelor’s degrees rose 25% between 2002 and 2012, totaling 41 million. The number with an associate degree also rose 31% during that time. And most of all, there are 45% more with master’s degrees and 43% more with doctoral degrees. This is a major shift in the characteristic of the workforce. What once was a prestige level of education is now the norm. Having a degree doesn’t automatically set workers apart anymore nor does it make one more valuable than another. Even though higher educated individuals have leveled the playing field, there are higher expectations for these individuals making the leap from the classroom to the office.
Entry level workers are no longer satisfied easing into new roles –it is a fly by the seat of your pants, hit the ground running mentality. With technology at their fingertips, this group of individuals is focused on minimizing the learning curve as much as possible. They expect to make a difference off the bat and want to know their companies realize their impact. One reason new employees are averaging only two years per job is that they are more likely to seek better opportunities if they arise. They can be loyal, but workers need to feel like their work is meaningful and fits in with their life interests.
With the risk of having a revolving door every couple years, hiring these entry level workers can bring a fresh take on business strategies, community relations, and communication tactics. This group of individuals grew up in the computer age; they have lived and breathed digital communication from email to Instant Messenger to texting to social networking. There is no technology that makes this generation anxious, unlike some older generations, which can be a great asset when it comes to introducing new strategies. They are constantly looking for the next best thing, so that enthusiasm for innovation can help usher in new ideas and concepts to keep your brand relevant. And with their culture of constant communication with their peers, they can be staunch advocates for your organization.
High Risk, High Yield
The higher the risk, the higher the yield of investment. Understanding that these new faces are an integral part of your business’ success is the first step in staying ahead of the curve and retaining this highly energetic and optimistic group. It is risky taking in individuals who may not be as loyal as seasoned veterans, but if you focus on their strengths and engaging these workers, you will create a culture of change – hopeful, optimistic change.
What have you experienced about the new face of entry level workers? Let us know in the comments section below.