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Dear E.A.S.I-Consult,                           

When I watch popular news stories or read current news accounts, the general consensus seems that new workforce entries have unrealistic work expectations. Can we rely on the next generation to step up? Should we only hire older candidates?

 Deeply Concerned

Chief Talent Officer

(Global Manufacturing Corporation)

 Dear Deeply Concerned,

The media indeed tends to highlight the sometimes negative aspects of the next generation of workers born between 1995 and 2012. They are often called Generation Z, Gen Z, iGen, or Zoomers. You will also find critiques of an earlier age group, the Millennials, born between 1980 and 1994.  These appear to be different from past generations in terms of a key shift in attitude and lifestyle changes. Generational differences aren’t just an American phenomenon. Most other countries have similar generational divisions, though they have their own cultural twists.

Dr. Jean Twenge, a scientist revered as the global authority on generational data and author of iGen, Generation Me,and Generations, has interviewed well over 35,000 people regarding their expectations of work and life. In an attempt to summarize her findings pertinent to this discussion and with the risk of oversimplifying a complex study, I will say that she found the following.

  • Generation Z individuals tend to take longer to grow up and take on adult responsibilities. For example, they wait longer to get their driver’s license, find a job, and get married.  This might result in somewhat naïve expectations regarding what their employer should offer and what is expected of them in a work environment.  More coaching or “parenting” may be needed.
  • Millennials tend to have high expectations of themselves. To them, the individual self is more than important. In Dr. Twenge’s words, “it is paramount,” forcing employers to reinforce team commitment. Millennials provide a challenge for managers due to their high degree of assertiveness.

But not all in an age group are the same.  I’m sure that you’ve seen exceptions to these generalizations.  So we shouldn’t paint all in an age group with the same brush.  But how do you identify candidates with the right desires and expectations for your jobs?  How can you differentiate future workers with the “right” work attitude for your organization?

E.A.S.I-Consult® has been assessing work attitude for over 15 years.  Based on our years of research, we offer work attitude measures in our pre-employment assessment tool, the Work Styles Predictor® (WSP®.) Our core work attitude measures include:

DEPENDABILITY – can be counted on to take the initiative – to get the job done

PRODUCTIVITY DRIVE – takes the initiative to reach and exceed production levels

TEAM ORIENTATION – builds positive working relations with others to achieve work goals

QUALITY INITIATIVE – shows exceptional effort to maintain and improve quality

ADAPTABILITY – can easily adjust to work demands and changing priorities.

Most everyone agrees that work attitude is the key ingredient to job success.  Ideally, all your workers should have the “right” attitude toward the work you’ve assigned them.  But not all of them do!  And they won’t if you don’t screen them before you hire them.  E.A.S.I-Consult has learned the importance of screening candidates for this through our customers.

We began when a nationwide retail organization asked for help because many of their customer-facing employees were underperforming in customer service and sales.  It wasn’t due to a lack of skills; it was about their attitude toward responsibilities.  To help them, we studied the requirements of the jobs, the culture of the organization, and the types of disruptive behaviors they were trying to eliminate.  We then designed a pre-employment test to screen candidates with the “right” work attitude.  In a trial run, we assessed a substantial number of candidates and tracked their job performance.  The retail organization reported that higher-scoring candidates demonstrated stronger sales initiative, followed supervisor instructions more often, and provided better customer service!

We recognize that work skills are also important.  We subscribe to the belief that after you’ve found a candidate/employee with the right work attitude, you should then focus on the work skills needed for the job.  Remember to “hire for attitude and train for skills.” And, yes, you can measure work attitude before you hire your work team!  Case in point, E.A.S.I-Consult can customize any WSP® dimension or assessment to fit your industry’s and company’s needs.

P.S. – AN OFFER TO YOUWhere can you go?  Who can you trust?  You are welcome to contact me for a free, unbiased pre-consultation. I will discuss any pre-employment selection technique you may be considering for your organization. Just mention this article.  david.smith@easiconsult.com

Sincerely,

David E. Smith, Ph.D. 

Founder and CEO

E.A.S.I-Consult, LLC

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If you have a question regarding the hiring process, employment testing, interviewing, or other HR-related areas you would like Dr. Smith to address in future newsletters, please send your inquiry to: contactus@easiconsult.com

David Smith, PhD, is the president and CEO of EASI•Consult®. EASI•Consult® works with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and mid-sized corporations to provide customized Talent Management solutions.  EASI•Consult’s specialties include leadership assessment, online pre-employment testing, survey research, competency modeling, leadership development, executive coaching, 360-degree feedback, online structured interviews, and EEO hiring compliance.  The company is a leader in the field of providing accurate information about people.