Germans love their flowers, and despite the small yards, they seem to pack all the beauty they can into what they have. Daily walks here are a parade of plentiful flora: wildflowers of all kinds, sunflowers, and artichokes.
Artichokes?! That’s what I said too, but there they were blooming away, a vivid, violet playground for the bees. They glowed in the sun and swayed like dancers.
On my way home, I thought about the artichoke. We grow the plant; it buds. Then we cut the bud off an inch below the base, steam them, roast them, and make them into that creamy baked dip you find at parties. While I love that dip with toast points, we miss out on the development of something breathtaking, when we merely focus on the functional.
It makes me reflect on the youngest members of our workforce, Gen Z. While companies struggle to hire and retain good employees, can we use what we know about this generation’s experiences to benefit our workforce? Like the artichoke, some extra time and consideration could allow for a spectacular presence in your workplace, rather than prematurely cutting off growth, for a fleeting appetizer.
This generation bears scars of “the time the world stopped” and is rightly anxious of an unclear future. Overnight, their relationships with professors, mentors, supervisors, and friends were cut off. They missed lifecycle markers like graduation, prom, and athletic events. These rites of passage can be crucial to emotional and social development, and they vanished with no real expectation of when life would be “normal” again.
Typical classroom learning was turned upside-down last year, and this lack of structure will challenge a transition to the workplace. Take this into account when planning orientations, by exposing them to all aspects of the workplace so they value where they fit in. Involve mentors of different generations and give them opportunities to learn from each other.
Gen Z is starting their careers with a higher level of anxiety than most and job stress in general can cost companies billions. Organizations can take a significant look at what they can do to help all employees handle stress, to relieve both financial and emotional weight of the pandemic.
These would-be workers dealt with large scale disruption last year, and it may have affected their ability learn what motivates and fulfills them. Employers could provide programming opportunities to build emotional intelligence. Armed with some self-exploration, this generation can play to their strengths now, rather than further down the career path.
As the Germans let their artichokes bloom for the whole community to appreciate, changes in the way we meet each other’s needs in this pandemic culture, could ensure positive impacts we miss if we cut it off before it blooms.
What changes can your organization make to attract and grow the youngest members of the workforce? Could the resiliency they bring to the table, fuel the resiliency of your organization? To discover new ways engage all generations of your workforce, contact ForgeWorks today.
Allison Cuthie is the Waymaker of ForgeWorks. She employes her strong oral and written communication skills, as well as her servant’s heart, to help her guide clients through their journey with ForgeWorks.