July 30, 2019

the next generation of employees

Drew Bickel

Drew Bickel
Data Scientist/GOW Consulting

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The next generation of employees the business will encounter is a group who have grown up in the personal device world. They know how to manipulate the information to get the right pictures on their handheld device and how to connect for good or bad with friends and not friends.

So what is the quality that they can bring to your company? They, for the most part, it would appear are lone soldiers and not "team-oriented" and yet let's look at that statement and dive into it.

When we see the kids standing in a group outside of the local hangout all on their phones not talking to each other we conclude that social interaction is now technical not personal. I would argue quite the opposite. These kids interact differently but clearly, they interact more.

1)  They have a wider group of people that they interact with. Instead of the small group, they now see all of the smaller groups and what they are doing. They interact with kids across town and even across the world.

2) While we think they do not talk because they are constantly on their device. that is not completely accurate. Walk around any college campus and more than half the people are on their device, they are talking, interacting with some other individual or group. The communication is broader and in many ways bigger than the interaction we had growing up.

3) Always connected, that is the fault of the current generation. We have built and are building larger, faster, more complete networks for these kids to use. We have fewer roadblocks to their interaction. So the fact that they are smart enough to use these tools in just a tribute to their intelligence.

4) "They are individuals, not team players" is a rap I hear about these kids. I could not disagree more. They just don't do the team thing as we did. It is in a broader and more sophisticated manner in which they team up. Instead of the group playing in the local field, these kids interact over the internet with larger groups to save the world while playing games. Since we do not understand that we assume they don't team up but just sit in their room playing games not spending time out with friends. I ask you to have your kids sign you onto the games you will find a large very active group. It may not look like things we played as young kids but they have a strategy, winning, losing, and consequences for actions. I would say that sounds a lot like any sport or afterschool activity I participated in.

5) They have influencers on the internet we have not vetted. These are kids on the web with ideas and thoughts and without diving into their world we will not understand. Trust that kids know who is good and who is bad. They police this information flow better than any censor.

So now lets talk about how do we help these young people invade our business world and make a difference in the next wave of business.

1) They are technically savvy so the whole training process must be rethought. Make the training interactive and mobile using the cloud and the internet. This will do two things first you will be able to train with fewer associates and it will save you time.

2) Don't be locked into these kids being in an office full time. They will work better in less restrictive environs. I know the whole thought of control. Stop and think about that, do you want productive or do you want to control? Which makes the most money?

3) Feedback is very important with these digital associates. You must put in place ways to quickly PNP ( praise, correct, praise) associates that are not in the desk outside of your office. This just means screaming "Joe get in here" to put a scare in the office is going the way of the landline at home.

4) Many of these associates will be outside the box thinkers because that is the environment they grew up in, so we must first and foremost be mindful of the direction we give. Often we are vague about getting something done this group so it will be important to have a clear direction and solid checkpoints. Although that is counterintuitive to the idea an out of box thinkers it will be helpful to this group succeeding while they grow in the business.

Finally, as employers of this new-gen, we have to understand we created a world that was different than the one we grew up in. While lamenting that the good old days were better, let's embrace the future these kids will be the leaders. It is our responsibility to open the kimono and show them the wide-open future for them to attack and achieve. Always remember our parents thought we were crazy, we did ok so will our kids if we give them a chance,

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