Written by Guest Author | April 5, 2016
Recruiting staff isn’t easy – if it was, even small businesses wouldn’t incur costs running into many thousands of pounds every year as a result of bad hires.
One of the trickiest tasks associated with hiring is deciding whether to take on a wet-behind-the-ears young hotshot from the increasingly dominant Millennial generation, or instead someone from an earlier generation who may have a little more experience and a more established track record in the workplace.
Do the Millennials have it?
Millennials – generally defined as those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s – are on the verge of becoming the dominant generation in the workforce, so they don’t necessarily represent the risk to employers that they once did.
The strengths of Millennials – including their technical proficiency from a young age – is becoming increasingly relevant to a 2016 workplace coming to be dominated by such technologies as cloud computing.
On the negative side, those who are only just entering the labour market for the first time might not exactly have the workplace familiarity and skills to make the instant desired impact that more seasoned workers are capable of.
So, how do mid-career professionals differ?
First of all, don’t presume that all older workers – such as those aged in their late 30s or above – exactly lack the Millennials’ comfort with technology.
Many mid-career professionals started their careers at a time of fast technological advancement, and are therefore more than proficient with the likes of Microsoft Word, Excel, ERPs and CRMs.
The key difference, however, is that these older workers don’t tend to rely on technology like Millennials sometimes do, and are therefore generally open to more time-honoured, but still relevant and effective ways of doing things.
The right worker for your firm depends on your exact needs
Nor do other workers usually require the more in-depth training and workplace integration efforts that Millennials often do, although that has a flip side: the latter may not carry as many learned ‘bad habits’ and are likely to be more impressionable and therefore easier to ‘sculpt’ to your requirements.
Millennials are often unafraid to challenge the status quo and can be highly innovative and motivated, while also not having the overheads of a more seasoned professional with a family and/or mortgage. But then again, there are also certain strengths that may only come with experience – for instance, the ability to execute important tasks to the same high standard, time after time.
With all of the above said, it’s also not a great idea to hire people largely or purely on the basis of years spent in the workforce. Successful businesses benefit from the representation of a wide range of demographics on their payroll, with the often very different perspectives and traits that they can bring.
Nonetheless, the above guidelines on the broader generational differences should hopefully be instructive when your firm is next recruiting staff.