Through the eyes of an intern: How Gen Z views change in the workplaceMaddie McKay
“I hired someone with no experience. I’m glad I took the chance.”
I was browsing through LinkedIn looking for some content ideas one day when I came across a post about hiring a Gen-Z candidate with zero previous experience and she gave some details as to why she hired them:
- They arrived 10 min early for their morning interview
- They pronounced the interviewers name correctly
- They had a firm handshake, dressed sharp, and brought a hard copy of their resume
- During the interview, they smiled, made eye contact, and were honest about having zero experience
- They asked questions, wanted to learn, and they showed up!
- The right attitude combined with teachability pays off more than you think
After reading the above points, I can say that I related to the post because when I, a fellow Gen-Z myself, had attended my interview to attain the position I have now, I did just the same thing! I arrived 20 minutes early and waited outside in the Canadian cold to go in at what I thought was an “appropriate” time, but that’s irrelevant. The post went on to say, “to all the hiring decision-makers out there, don’t disqualify candidates because they don’t have ‘experience.’” It brought up many good points, that we can develop our skills and experience with your coaching and just because someone has “experience” it does not guarantee a better work ethic or fit over someone without. Sometimes it is the candidate with zero to little experience, who are simply grateful for the opportunity to learn, who are a better fit for your organization for reasons including a sense of humility. When it comes to Gen-Z or anyone without experience, all you need to do is give them a chance to prove themselves and to support their growth and development; you’ll be paid back tenfold. Don’t you want to be the person who gives them that very chance they’ve been waiting for? Be the leader who creates and inspires emerging leaders and next-generation leaders.
Gen-Z can be a great sector to hire from as we come with passion and ambition to not only prove, but to improve ourselves and the organization we work for in any way that we can. To us, a job isn’t just a job, it’s a part of our everyday lives and we want to get the most out of this opportunity. We crave an innovative and adaptable company culture that allows us to grow our skills and gain valuable experience. We put back into the job what we get out of it, if you take that chance, we’ll be grateful and do our best to build our experience and prove ourselves in this foreign territory.
Gen-Z tends to want more emotional intelligence principles in the workplace, wellness, employee experience and a greater emphasis on learning, talent and skills development. During a lot of my research, I noticed that these are all also qualities that many companies are and have been trying to integrate for at least a decade now, which means we aren’t the only ones who can see the benefits of these types of practices. Studies show that workplace development and organizational development like this increase overall employee retention and talent development, which leads to more loyal and dedicated employees at any age or stage in their career. Not to mention it also increases productivity and overall job satisfaction, as well as reducing the effects and chances of suffering from burnout.
I’ve heard a lot of people say that younger generations are “whiney”, “snowflakes”, or that we expect too much, but people forget that having employee wellness, development opportunities and a strong company culture at the heart of an organization is key for almost everyone to perform to the best of their ability. So, don’t think about it as accommodating Gen-Z at work, but as an opportunity to improve your company by providing the benefits and support that are beneficial to all employees. Even Baby Boomers appreciate a company with strong mission and values that takes into consideration caring for their employees for the years of effort these workers have put into the organization. I think that no matter your job title, position or salary, we could all benefit from a strong company culture that supports us as human beings, employees that live, breathe, have personal lives and emotions. Maybe we’re labelled at least partially responsible for the change in the workplace because we are one of the main groups willing to speak up and say we don’t want to be treated like machines.
Despite being younger and relatively inexperienced, I feel that my opinion and work are still valued at MHS, and this makes me want to work that much harder because I feel like a member of the team. Not to mention the company culture, with benefits like treadmill desks, flexible hours, fun events that provide me with an opportunity to learn, and of course, snacks – I feel happy and motivated at work. These are the types of perks that I know at least for me, play a role in encouraging me to stay with a company longer and I haven’t stopped singing praises about the experience to my friends and family. I often find myself referring all my friends looking for jobs to companies like MHS because I see the merit in how they function as a culture and I want everyone to feel as good about their position, whether full-time, part-time, contract or an internship, as I do. There are a lot of young people here, mostly millennials, who are pushing the envelope with new, fresh and creative ideas and a lot of people who had resisted this change for a while are starting to come around. There are noticeable differences between each generation, however, pitting us against each other in the current generational blame game doesn’t help anyone, we must work together to maximize potential. After all, we only have one world and we need to share it amicably. Segregation and ageism need to leave the chat and make way for multigenerational workforces and tolerance from both sides.
Through the eyes of a young person, it can be hard not to be cynical about some of the things going on in the corporate world right now, but I see a lot of positive changes and believe there are so many opportunities to continue to improve that I am filled with hope for what the future holds. When I first started looking for a position, I was nervous, I thought working in the corporate world was going to be like boot camp, nonetheless, I was ready for it. However, much to my pleasant surprise, I’ve been met with so many more opportunities than I had ever expected, a chance to learn, grow and develop my skills in a place where I feel comfortable sharing my ideas. If more companies implemented the type of structure that companies like MHS and Google have, we might see an overall increase in positivity, mental health and well-being in employees across all sectors.
One day we will be the ones in the C-suite so isn’t it valuable to provide leadership development for future generations to come? Developing talent is increasingly important and if we aren’t given the chance to do so in our careers who will carry on when baby boomers and Gen-X are gone? We can see the changes that need to be made without taking for granted what has already been accomplished, who knows what will happen in the next 10, 20, 30 and 40 years, but given the right tools, we can continue to make strides towards a brighter future for everyone, young, old and somewhere in between.
Please note the opinions expressed are my own and do not represent any generation’s full scope of beliefs or values. The facts about productivity and talent retention are however just that, facts.
– Shaneé Moret on LinkedIn
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