By Mary Beth Rogers, ED.S., CFO, MSBO Board President, Executive Director of Business Services, Clarkston Community Schools
My next few monthly newsletter articles will dive more into each of my three presidential goals. One of my goals is a better understanding of Generational Change and why it should matter to us as school business officials. The definition (google.com) of Generational Change: “Generational change is something that happens to a population over time. A generation goes, and a generation comes”. The current workforce consists of 5 generations: Silent Generation 2%, Baby Boomers 18%, Generation X 34%, Millennials 38% and Generation Z 6%. Each generation has lived through different times and experiences that have molded their value systems.
You can see vast differences in attitudes between Silent, Boomers and Gen X to the Millennials and Gen Z. Why does it really matter? The new generations, Millennials and Gen Z, make up 44% of our population and with the Boomers leaving the workforce it will soon be over 50% of the population. The Millennials and Gen Z expectations differ in the workplace.
Baby Boomers have been content with devoting their lives to the work they found. However, Millennials and Gen Z seek purposefulness that serves both themselves and the communities they care about. A balanced work life and purposefulness are driving forces for the Millennials and Gen Zs.
Taking the Millennials prioritization of working at companies with similar values, purpose and work life balance a step further, Gen Z has no problem leaving a company that contrasts with their values and belief system. Gen Z is known as the generation with the least regard for salary, often placing workplace values over pay. For this generation, these values include meaningful work, inclusive company culture, mental health services, open communication, professional growth, mentoring opportunities, autonomy, collaboration and flexibility including remote work options.
The three top priorities the new generations expect from an organization are to care about their well-being as a person (their life inside and outside of work), respect as an individual and team member and inclusivity. They want their voice heard and to be part of a great inclusive team. An organization that does not offer these three priorities to their team members will run the risk of becoming stagnant and lack healthy growth. A great leader’s number one priority should be the well-being of each of their team members as an individual and as a valued team member because without them there is no business. The Gen Z has no problem leaving if these values are not met. Retention will be key with the new generations.
Another focus should be educating all generations on the differences and encourage all generations to embrace the diversity. This can start with professional development on Generational Change and coaching and mentoring opportunities. Quality mentoring programs are valuable for the mentee, yet mentor can learn from the mentee – it is a quid pro quo relationship. It is imperative to invest in all your team members all from the Boomers to the Gen Zs. This begins with embracing the generational differences, from the older to the younger generations and everything in between.
Workplace values are the most important guiding principles for how, when, and why employees work and stay. Over time, these values have become increasingly progressive in the workforce, transforming from work-centric ideologies to person-first mindsets. Invest in your team members. A lot of change is happening, and companies have a difficult time keeping up. Most organizations forget to prepare for the next phase and or next generation.
I would like to share a story and quote from my son Andrew Travis who is a Millennial and works for a company whose demographics are primarily Millennials and Gen Zs. “I work for Cardinal Group out of Denver. Cardinal Group feels like family. It is a genuine warm feeling I have every day – even though I work 100% remote (from home). Every day I feel like I am still part of something big, real commitment and care from my company. My company does an outstanding job of business resource groups (BRG) that make every team member feel part of something. I work for a company that is on the Glassdoor Best Places to Work list just below Delta. We make that list because the team members feel it is the best place to work for. We are not employees. We are team members. We feel valued. The Gen Zs want to join an organization to help themselves become the person they dream of.”
We, as business officials, need to understand, teach and embrace these differences or take the chance of falling behind. The diverse generations including the Gen Zs have so much to offer. The workplace can no longer be a “one size fits all” mentality. Flexibility in the workplace will be key. Provide a workplace that meets all generations’ expectations with the understanding that soon 25% of the workforce will be Gen Z.
Other Articles in this Newsletter
- Celebrating MSBO Member Accomplishments
- Don’t Miss These Professional Development Opportunities
- Don’t Miss Out on These Scholarships
- Is It Your Turn to Give Back?
- Let MSBO’s Leadership Institute Change Your Life
- MSBO Update – Robert Dwan
- Overcoming Fear – Brian Marcel
- Thank You to ASBO Michigan Reception Sponsors
- Welcome New Members