As more millennials enter the workforce we are seeing the emergence of a new brand of “worker” creating a new workforce altogether. Dying are the days of the 9 to 5, punch in, do exactly what you are directed to do, punch out, and leave mindset. Rather than very distinctly separating “work” from “life”, the new worker, who is more driven by passion, is recognizing work and life as one in the same.
For the new worker “work” and “life” exist in technological and physical harmony because they are constantly dialed into their network in some way, shape, or form. They cannot help not to be because the new worker was born with an infinite amount of information at their fingertips. The new worker demands a sense of control over their work and wants to be an active partner at their workplace from the entry level on up to the executive level (if leadership hierarchy even exists in their organization). The new worker wants to feel a sense of contribution to a greater goal and wants a sustainable workforce. The new worker is always looking to collaborate with others within their organization and also with others outside of their organization. The new worker wants to work for herself, for his organization and also for her community.
As a result, some employers have chosen and are choosing to adapt to the needs of the millennial worker in all aspects of Employee Relations, and are flourishing as a result, while other employers are struggling to accommodate the millennial workforce and are therefore struggling to replace and maintain a high level of talent. New economy employers are recognizing the benefits of embracing the new worker in all areas of business because taking care of the modern worker means you have a continuous network of people in your employees who are constantly connected to social networks, either virtually or in-person. Almost without knowing it, they are promoting your company and its products and services to other potential talent, potential customers, potential clients, and potential business partners. As the new economy continues to dawn and workers begin to insist on having more control over their work and how they do their work employers now have to ask: Do we want to be an employer of the past and fade away with the passing of time, or do we want to be an employer of the future and thrive along with a new generation?
The 21st century worker is more diverse than ever. Even at the executive level, the workforce now consists of millennials, baby boomers, and everything in between and they are of all races, cultural backgrounds, gender identities, sexual orientations, and religions. Furthermore, it is time to consider all aspects of diversity and we must further include intellectual diversity, creative diversity, generational diversity, and diversity in physical ability when including a place at the table for all workers. The new economy will only realize its full potential if we make a commitment to help one another realize what could be incredibly diverse and varying definitions of success.
The very diverse 21st century worker needs a ginger-to-ginger to partner with them. I want to be that ginge! Or at the very least help begin an open, ongoing dialogue on how we can all partner with one another and help one another succeed despite how varied and different our definitions of success may be.