Just as you’ve finally started to figure out millennials and their motivations, it’s time to start preparing for the next generation — generation Z or the iGeneration. The Wider World of Business article (Preparing for the iGeneration) we shared in Saturday’s E-Watch Daily laid out some of the defining characteristics of this group. This generation was born between the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, and with the oldest among them graduating from college this spring they’re about to enter the workforce.
With this latest generation starting to work, you could now have four generations (or possibly even five) working in your dealership, all with different priorities, motivations and personalities. In the “Preparing for the iGeneration” article, author David Stillmann said, “It’s not about ‘out with the old and in with the new,’ it’s about anticipating where the conflicts might be and how best to prepare. In the ’90s, leaders were not ready for Gen X when they showed up and they paid a serious price for it.” It wasn’t until just a few years ago that talk about Millennials really seemed to surface, and with the oldest Millennials in their mid-30s, it seems like we might have missed the boat on being prepared for them, too.
So, as we prepare for this next generation here’s my advice: talk to them, get to know them. The best way to learn about someone is by talking to them and taking an interest in their life. And while you’re at it, talk to the Millennials who work for or with you, and the Generation Xers and the Baby Boomers. I have a sneaking suspicion we’re not all as different as all the articles out there might suggest. I manage to have numerous successful interactions every day in the workplace with Gen Xers, Baby Boomers and other Millennials. I’m sure you do too. It’s important to keep in mind that everything we read about any given generation is generally a broad description and doesn’t necessarily represent the individuals you interact with. By talking with your younger employees — and the older ones for that matter — not only will you understand them better, but they’ll likely enjoy coming in to work more each day and will care more about their work and the dealership just by knowing their employer and managers care about them.
Sure, there will likely be a few eye rolls here and there from each generation, but there will also be mutual respect. At the end of the day, what you want are employees who enjoy coming into work and who care about your dealership and its customers. You’ll likely have that if you build a relationship with them.