For years, there’s been talk about Millennials in the workforce and how to manage or deal with them. In fact, it’s been around for so long that you’ll find corporate trainers providing courses on dealing with Millennials as managers! As we move towards the end of 2018 with another wave of Gen Z-ers entering the workforce, I feel that the idea of trying to find a silver bullet to deal with entire generations such as Millennials or Gen Z can be a little outdated.
Lifelong employment is now a thing of the past
It’s the harsh truth. New workforce entrants are living in a new reality where they are responsible for their own career.With been hearing terms like multi-skilling, second skilling and lifelong learning. We’re told that the VUCA world means that employees need to take responsibility for their own upgrading lest they are made obsolete by more buzzwords such as automation or artificial intelligence.
This is the reality of work and it is unfortunate that Millennials as a generation have been associated, albeit incorrectly with changes to a world that has become highly mobile and connected with increasingly broader definitions of success.
The real questions businesses should be asking
A former colleague of mine, who was in the business of selling job listings on a job portal mentioned that he once had an employer who was so repulsed by the idea that they had to pay to list a job on job portals. In fact, the employer truly believed that they were doing the country a service by providing jobs to the unemployed. If that were truly the case, this employer would be like a kid in a candy shop at the WSG Career Centres having their pick of unemployed Singaporeans. Or the employer would have scores of qualified candidates rushing to apply for their vacancy on the government’s Jobs Bank, now known as mycareersfuture.sg, which is free to employers. This is a human resource manager who clearly takes the term “human resource” a little too literally.
The real questions employers should be asking are:
- “How do we understand the motivation of these (not so) new entrants into the workforce?”
- “What’s the best way to engage with them to benefit both employee and employer?”
The great thing about these questions is that they don’t limit us to specific generations and are easily applicable to all employees, even down to an individual level.