We're now in an era where five generations occupy the same workplace at once – Babyboomers, Generation X, Generation Y or Millennials and the emerging Generation 2020.
These groups of people, now all under one business roof, are bringing their different attitudes and expectations to a crowded table – everything from their work styles to what they expect from their employers.
If this is what the marketing team of the future is going to be, how can employers cope? How can they hope to get these generations to pull in the same direction, while catering to their different needs and expectations? Here are 3 ways…
1. Build the right environment for your workforce
It's a great feeling when you finally find the perfect person for your team, but all that effort will be for nothing unless you can cultivate an environment where they can develop and thrive.
For example, a bright, young mind who has as many ideas about email subject lines as they do about web design isn't going to appreciate being given a specific title and told to work on a rigid skills base.
What they are going to appreciate is being given the chance to develop their experience profiles – that is, be given the freedom to seek out new experiences and roles in the workplace.
2. Think about mindset as well as skillset
We're not saying that skillset is becoming redundant. Skillset, from copywriting to coaching, is still important – people need the right training and experience to do their job. But the important thing to remember here is that skillset can be taught. The same can't necessarily be said for mindset.
A marketing team concerned with adapting to, and working with, digital transformation and the new world of work, should be concerned with hiring and keeping people who boast attributes like openness, willingness and a preference for collaboration. Are these skills? Of course not. But are they important? Without doubt.
If you want long-term benefits, you need to switch you thinking away from just core competencies. The delicate balance of mindset and skillset is key to finding, managing and retaining the right people for your team, and letting it reach its potential in an increasingly agile and fluid workplace.
3. Accept that you probably won't be leading anyway
Traditional leadership – the kind Babyboomers will be most familiar with – was consensus-driven, and structured by routines and processes like appraisals and reviews. The boss in the big office delivered orders and his workers carried them out. But this kind of top-down, information sharing, decision making and development modelling is becoming increasingly ineffective.
The very idea of what it is to be a leader is set to change – you have to think about leadership at all levels. Everyone in your team needs to be informed, enabled and empowered to move business goals.
A Harris poll conducted on behalf of Saba found that nearly 70% of employed U.S. adults consider themselves leaders, regardless of their job title. There’s a growing sense that people are itching to lead whether it comes with the traditional leader name tag or not.
Younger generations are more expectant. You give them the opportunity first, then they prove their worth. The workplace is shapeshifting too rapidly for people to sit patiently and earn their stripes!