Human beings love to categorise, don’t they? When we talk about generations, we are usually referring to our family, who fits where and how we can trace them back. Or we use it to complain about their music. When marketeers talk about generations, they mean people grouped together sharing birth years spanning 15-20 years who share certain characteristics. Based on the work of Neil Howe and William Strauss, the Generations help us understand people’s attitude to life, leisure and society and have an interesting application to work.
What were your early career drivers? If you’re a leader whose first thoughts are ambition, climbing the ladder, becoming a manager, responsibility and recognition, then there’s a good chance you occupy a different generation to the people you are now managing and the teams you now lead. Perhaps you are a Baby Boomer managing Millennials or a Gen X leading a team of iGens.
Our work world has understandably changed in the last three years and people now don’t want what they wanted before. Younger team members have their own set of drivers and include prioritising health and wellbeing over ambition. Older team members who took early retirement after the pandemic may well be on their way back in to work, having discovered they can’t make the finances stack up for a longer later life.
A lot has been written about The Talent Challenge and The Great Resignation and it’s depressing. The good news is there is a lot you can do to counter these trends.
The key is get inside the heads of the people you’re trying to recruit and retain and find ways to appeal to them. This involves thinking differently about what you can do to attract good people and keep them once you have them, during one of the biggest challenges ever faced in our work lifetime.
What got you here really won’t get them there anymore.