We talk a lot about the importance of the associate experience. It's important to create a positive one. That's why the associate experience is our #1 priority here at Continental Office. It affects all generations, but, in speaking with Gen Z specifically, they have some concerns. In fact, they have expressed a bit of apprehension that their future work environment won't reflect their own ethics and values. But why? A major source of this uneasiness is some believe there will be differences in ethics and morals across generations. See what our own interns, including myself, from The Ohio State University have to say.
Meet our talented team of summer interns, that's me on the right:
Are you concerned a generation gap will cause difference in ethics, values, and/or morals in the workplace?
I would say, yes. I have had this fear. A lot of times starting a new job, you already feel like you don’t really know much. I also tend to feel that the older generations know everything about their jobs, and might think the young kid asking for help is annoying. But, I think starting new jobs is always a little uncomfortable while you test the waters and get the vibe of the office. But upon working longer, I usually see that it’s the opposite and people are more than willing to help and answer questions. A lot of the time in a new job, it is the older generations that are more willing to go out to lunch or just sit and talk you through any career questions you have.
Yes, definitely! As a younger employee it is also difficult to make an impact in a new workplace or balance your employer’s ethics and your own if they aren’t totally aligned.
I don’t know if I fear this. A weird answer, I know, but let me try to explain. My mindset has been to simply be respectful and professional, but it’s hard to tell if my perception of professionalism is in line with that of someone much older than me.
I have never had this fear and have never really thought about it before. I think that if there was an apparent difference then I would notice, but I have never experienced a work environment where I have had to worry about it.
Do you think a mentor would help to ease this concern?
I do think a mentor would help to ease the worry, but I also think the relationship you have with them is very important. I think the mentor and mentee roles need to be voluntary, and people shouldn’t be forced into one of these roles if they aren’t comfortable. I don’t think this is a huge issue but there are a lot of different personalities in the workplace and for a program like this to be successful I think it takes the right attitude. So in short, personally yes I would like it. I am not sure what I want to make of my career yet so I want to hear about as many options as I can. Most of the time this comes from older generations and older millennials. There are jobs that I don’t even know exist, but I hear about through mentors. So I think it’s always good to hear about others’ experiences, even if it’s something you don’t think you’ll want to pursue in the future.
I think mentors are a great idea for multiple reasons, but I think in general it’s a good idea to bring in younger employees in on high-level company decisions to represent the incoming members of the workforce. I don’t think it’s just a generational issue either, but one of including women and other minorities in the direction of a business as well.
I do think mentorship could definitely help. While it would be beneficial to younger associates still learning how to behave in the corporate world, it would also help experienced associates to understand the future generation of their company.
I do think communication and mentoring would be very effective in avoiding any potential issues. This kind of relationship would be mutually beneficial for both parties. The relationship would allow generations to better understand and learn from each other.
While only some feel there's cause for concern when it comes to the generation gap, it seems that everyone can agree mentorships are an important part of their career growth. In fact, it just might benefit the more experienced generations too as much as it does the younger ones.
Want to learn more about what Gen Z thinks? Download our whitepaper below.