The young adults of today—a mix of Millennials and Generation Net—are entering the workforce armed with second-nature skills that many older generations have to struggle to attain. Their unique talents make them attractive to hiring managers, but, while they're brimming with savvy and innovative spirit, they're often lacking in the qualities that the majority of workplaces require.
These qualities, commonly called "soft skills" include the ability to think critically, problem solve, communicate, display social graces, and be aware of behavioral norms. Of course, this broad generalization doesn't apply to everyone in these new generations of workers. However, over and over, employers cite a soft skills deficit as a common reason for why they can't fill their open positions. Too bad… they could be passing over a dull stone that, if they were just willing to polish it, would reveal a brilliant diamond.
In just a few short years, this emerging workforce will become the dominant one. The behaviors and norms of these digital natives will become the prevailing force in the way businesses run. This is both exciting and unsettling at the same time.
As Millennials begin to reshape the framework of the current workplace, you can decide to abandon your expectations or you can commit to coaching these new hires so that you can enjoy all of the benefits they bring without having to compromise your needs. How?
When you bring in a new team member, assign him or her a seasoned employee to shadow. We commonly see wait staff and bank tellers with trainees at their sides, but rarely think about this approach with other roles. In this case, this mentor will be serving as an example of your company's standards and expectations, rather than an instructor on how perform job duties. Also remember that your entire staff, including you, will be serving as models as well: the way you conduct yourselves in meetings, the style of communication you use in email, and even your choice of attire. The precedents you set in those formative weeks will set the tone.
*Statistic source: socialfish.org