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Ask Kirubi

Working with different generations #AskKirubi

Millennials…also known as Generation Y or Echo Boomers. They are the young employees at our workplaces who make the work environment very interesting. Currently, you will not walk into any office and fail to get one because they entail about 50% of our workforce.

Let me first take you through the transformation of the career generations at the workplace.

A while back, our offices were flooded with the traditionalist workforce. These are the workers who believe in the old systematic way or basically archaic methods to get work done. These are persons who follow work processes to the latter and are not really concerned with new methods that make work simpler.

After the traditionalists came the Baby Boomers. The only difference they had from their predecessors is that they are more of team players and are comfortable with verbal and personal interaction as a way of communication. More often than not, they follow what their leader says and are not known for challenging the status quo.

Succeeding the Baby Boomers is Generation X. With these individuals communication has taken a completely different course. They embrace technology, work independently and prefer to use voice and emails to convey their messages and ideas. They have been able to make the world a global village by use of new media.

As technology kept evolving, Generation X kept adopting new ways of working and communicating which gave rise to the Millennials. These are the current majority of workers in our offices. They are tech-savvy, have great ability to multi-task and their main motivation is to reach their own personal goals. They prefer an instant way of passing information; Instant messages, Instant emails, Instant video and voice calls, not forgetting the use of social media.

We must appreciate that it’s not easy working with or managing various generations at the workplace. Management are interested in results, profits, efficiency but these generations particularly the millennials feel that the workplace needs to accommodate them better.

How are we managing the workplace to make sure we accommodate these generations so that we increase efficiency?

The perception given to the Generation Y is that of lazy individuals who look for the easy way out and want ‘hand me downs’. The earlier generations might be skeptical about them but I feel if we give them a chance to lead and use their creativity, they will do well not only for themselves but for the workplace.

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There is so much we can learn from this new breed of tech-savvy individuals. From my experience, sitting with them and giving them a chance to teach you new ways of getting work done actually improves the work relationship within the company. Take it from me, you can do with the energy, passion and creativity that they have. You may be wiser but they may be more effective. We need one another and it’s vital to create a working environment that supports the growth and development of these young people.

Remember, they need mentors and teachers who will guide them as they move up the corporate ladder. Be willing to teach but also be willing to learn.

While most companies do their best to embrace millennials, they too must do the same due diligence to their employers. Work cannot always be fun, games and social media. Learn to do more than what is required. Step out and show the world what drives you and how effective you can be. Leadership is earned over a period of time and is based on your actions. Listen, learn and value everyone around you.

I applaud those who have experienced the value of having a younger workforce and are doing their best to continue mentoring them and giving them opportunities.

Let’s be open to working together for the greater good of our society.

“Individual commitment to a group effort–that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” –Vince Lombardi

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