Tag : reverse mentorship

Digital Talent Doesn't Want to Work For You... And Why You Should Care

What is digital talent? I’d define it as the very large toolkit that digital natives (those aged 20ish to 35ish today) have acquired by being born at a time when using the computer was part of growing up AND when having access to the Internet anytime, anyplace is expected.

Whether we like it not, this group of employees has a skill set (beyond their computer skills) that growing companies need:  adaptability, a willingness to help and an energetic engagement.

Many companies “don’t like”  that they want to shape their future (interpreted as entitlement), a desire for work/family balance and a willingness to sacrifice  for it (interpreted as lazy) and a desire to make a difference (interpreted as ambition without dues paying).

Check out this article on why digital talent needs to be attracted to your organization from the magazine Fast Company.  “The opportunity to do great things, to make a real difference, is what drives most digital talent. Most companies don’t offer this, so they skip your company and work somewhere that’s more innovative and exciting.”

By innovative we don’t mean you need to have the latest and greatest technology, it does mean that your leadership is committed to understanding digital tools and is willing to learn, collaborate and change.

What can you do to attract digital natives?

  • Give them an appropriate mentor.
  • Give them meaningful work.
  • Loosen the reins a bit.
  • Say thank you more often than you used to.
  • Reward risk taking and small failures.

And for heaven’s sake LIGHTEN UP! Have a little fun, engage them in ‘convo’ (conversation), learn their language, ask for their help and most of all, listen. There’s so much great stuff to learn.

What's the Matter With Kids Today?

Every generation thinks the ‘young people are lazy and ungrateful. That’s just the nature of the beast. What’s happening at work today is 3 (sometimes 4) generations trying to get along at work.

Boomers are workaholics, GenX are more balanced but are still pretty ‘go along with the system’ type folks.  And then there are these GenYers (aka Millenials). I have CEOs and executives asking me everyday… what’s the matter with these kids?

My response to them is, “There is nothing wrong with them.” We expect them to somehow automatically know what to do at work; how to dress, how much time to spend on their phone, when to show up, etc.  We get upset when they don’t do everything we think they should.  How would they know? Osmosis? I can only speak for my own 2 ‘twenty-somethings” when I say they have minds and goals that are all their own.

According to CPA success in a blog post about Millenials, there’s a comment I agree with:

“You can’t pigeonhole Millennials as entitled and self-centered. Sure, some fit the bill … but many of them don’t. Many of them blow that generalization out of the water. Many of them are ready — are starving — to lead. All they need is our support.”

What they don’t tolerate well is sitting around, blah, blah, blahing about stupid stuff and not doing anything.  So what are you and I going to do about this? We can complain about  how they “don’t get it” and “take away their phones” when they are work or we can engage them in a conversation about what needs to be done. I am Board Chair of a small non profit and we have 8 GenYer’s on the Board. They are caring, involved, willing, kind and hard working. They want to make a difference so let’s give them a chance.

How about starting the dialogue with an item or two from this list:

  • Life balance
  • Leadership
  • Proactive, goal-focused planning
  • Networked collaboration
  • Embracing and adopting technology

If you have an open mind and heart, I’ll bet you hear some amazing things.  Let me know how it works out.

Image credit: Marilyn Manson Back seat Cuddler