by Paco Collazo
With every new generation, the previous generation unearths the same old questions. And yet here I am asking them once again: Is this new generation doomed? What is with these latest trends, topics and hashtags? Is a hashtag still a thing?
It feels as if the internet has created an avalanche of fresher faces; however, the workforce seems to dwindle. Companies are encountering difficulties reducing staff rotation and recruiting.
We are on the brink of a generational shift in the workplace. Gen Z represents a quarter of the US population. Eventually it will surpass Millennials as the most populous, and the effects are already tangible across industries.
From the way they talk to the way they dress, there is a word that uncovers what this generation is all about: diversity. It is the common denominator of all their demands, and it extends beyond race and gender. Representation in different industries, commitment from companies regarding social responsibility, taking a stance in relevant cultural moments, and demonstrating flexibility toward change are just the tip of the iceberg.
There are four other generations that have shaped the workplace this new generation is entering, and they still play a big part in it. And just as humans continue to evolve, so has work and the meaning of work-life balance. There are clear discrepancies between this generation and the way older generations see the benefits of having stable sources of income over prolonged periods of time; they will devote themselves to a career or a role for much longer than someone younger.
But what is the key to staying ahead of this inevitable curve in a very dynamic industry like ours?
Primarily, understanding the requests of a mixed talent pool is crucial; fostering a healthy workforce starts by nurturing a healthy company culture. Hence, focusing on a combination of digital and face-to-face communication, where everyone feels involved in the company goals, must be a priority.
When on site, it is important to engage with your team by showing support and encouraging them to ask questions. Companies can benefit from diverse resources to keep communication in real time when installing a project in another city or country.
The importance of equitable treatment is at the forefront for most employees nowadays, as well as the opportunity to explore the ways work brings value into their lives. The way your business caters to employees’ career aspirations and professional development is closely attached to the way they will evaluate whether to accept a job offer and stay in their position long-term. Supporting employee career development through training and clear advancement opportunities can aid in talent retention.
Authenticity and personalization, and offering internal apprenticeship and comprehensive training programs, in addition to leveraging the wisdom of older generations and the digital skills of the newer ones, can be a valuable approach as well.
When hiring in our industry, we have to consider the physical element of our industry. Installing and dismantling, supervising several projects, and ensuring that the stand is up and running in perfect state (when you are on a different floor or all the way across the tradeshow) can be physically demanding.
It is important to identify the candidate who will stay the course. Delve into their past work experience to find some key indicators of loyalty and longevity. Keep in mind that workers prefer to be in organizations where they feel aligned with the values, vision and mission, so identifying those who have a similar work ethic and mindset from the get-go is the best move in the long run.
On the bright side, our industry allows us to experience new places and get to know new people all the time. Use this as an opportunity to attract talent that is interested in expanding their cultural knowledge. Traveling while enjoying what we do is a privilege not many people have.
And last but not least, when motivating your staff, you have to go that extra mile. We think it goes without saying, but the more obvious things are not that obvious sometimes. Make staff members feel appreciated and valued for their hard work. Monitor your team to verify they are not experiencing workplace burnout, and implement a good rest-work ratio to increase their productivity.