Day in and day out, more and more youth are coming into the workforce. Half the world’s population is under 25 years old, and the new generation’s work habits — for better or worse —are following them into the workforce.
Bad attitudes, scruffy work clothes, turning up late and showing disregard for the business world are common criticisms levelled at the younger generation.
Sure, that sounds like a generic youth attitude. The youth mind-set is a hard one to understand, but when it comes to it, unless your generation wants to be blamed for the bad habits instilled in today’s youth, it may be good to pay attention to what they react to, and what will help them achieve more in your business.
Many attitudes come down to the parenting young people have received. Do they respect you as an employer and do they respect adults in their lives? Showing up in scruffy clothes raises the question as to whether values about respecting others have been instilled while growing up.
Having asked around, some of the most common problems with youth are coming in with scruffy clothes, bad attitudes and showing up late for work. Why do they do that? They know when their shift starts… do they not own an alarm clock?
If only things were that simple. When a young person’s shift starts at 9am, they’re likely to show up at 9am on the dot, in scruffy clothes… perhaps that’s how they actually dress. But bad attitudes aren’t kept in check unless someone complains. So tell them!
Older generations understand that a 9am start time means coming into work 10 to 15 minutes early, so they’re dressed and ready for work. Well, not in this world — youth will show up when they’re expected, sometimes later. The warning for being late will be obvious, but not when they show up on time then spend 10 minutes getting into ‘work mode’.
What’s the way out of it? Tell them what you expect and why — whether it’s about the dress code, attitude or time management.
What may seem obvious to you about workforce attitudes will be different to today’s youth due to their parenting they received. If you expect to run your business in a particular way, don’t leave it to their common sense to decide what’s right and wrong — tell them.
Come up with a Code of Conduct with all the rules written out so if they come to work ‘on time’ instead of 10 minutes earlier or are wearing a ripped shirt, you can point them back to ‘the rules’, with no ifs or buts about it.
Eva-Maria is a 20-year-old consultant, family coach, international speaker and author of the parenting book ‘You Shut Up!’ She works with groups, corporates and families to improve adult-teenager relationships.