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Bridging the Gap Between Younger and Older Employees

So many articles these days are centered around catering to Millennials and Gen-Z employees. In fact, we just wrote an article about it! One thing that doesn’t get much coverage however is how younger employees could better interact and work with older generations. Communication goes both ways so not only is it important for Boomers and Gen Xers to understand how to communicate with younger generations, but those younger generations need to do their part and learn how to properly communicate with older generations as well. In this week’s blog I delve into this topic and offer some advice to Millennials and Gen-Zers on how they can be more effective in bridging the gap between communication, culture, work styles, and values.

Communication
Younger generation’s communication style tends to be less formal and in-depth than older generations (thanks in part to all that texting). When you are writing an email to someone more tenured make sure you are thorough and thoughtful with your messages. They can’t read your mind, and might not know all the latest acronyms, so be professional and err on the side of being more formal and including more details. Also understand that different generations have their preferred communication style. Boomers and Gen Xers tend to prefer to communicate in-person or over the phone while younger generations prefer emails or tools like Slack. If you’re a younger employee pick up the phone instead of shooting an email if you have an important topic to discuss.

Values and Work Outlook
Older generations tend to live by the moto “live to work” while younger generations think of it more as “work to live”. Younger generations feel that it’s not necessarily the time you spend in the office that’s important but the end result of what you accomplish. They may work over the weekend on their phone or tablet and clock in less hours at the office than their older counterparts who work in the office for longer hours but don’t do work “off hours”. As a younger employee it’s important to communicate with older generations that you are still working (even if you aren’t in the office) and accomplishing the tasks at hand. If you are managed by a Boomer or Gen Xer come up with a plan you both agree upon and feel is fair.

Knowledge Sharing
In any office environment, it’s important to build and establish good relationships and help one another succeed. Every generation is an integral part of an organization and they all bring their own strengths and unique values. Older employees can be mentors for younger employees and help guide them while younger employees can inspire older generations with innovative solutions and a new way of looking at things. It should go without saying, but younger generations need to always be respectful of their older coworkers and recognize the value of their experiences. Take the time to build meaningful relationships and everyone will benefit by having multiple generations in the workforce.

Bridging the Gap Between Younger and Older Employees

Navigating Career Changes and Growth

In the latest episode of “Hard work-ah with Pete the Job Guy”, Pete interviews Nikos Westmoreland, Director of Business Development at Jimerson Birr and they center their conversation around the idea of change, particularly in one’s career. Before sitting down with Nikos though, Pete gives 3 tips to consider when thinking of a change. The first is to evaluate your reasons and why you are considering leaving. Ask yourself: are you running away from something? Get to the core of why it is you want to leave your current role. The second is to establish what it is that you are looking for and define the criteria. Is it the company culture, a new industry, the healthcare benefits, increased salary, or tuition reimbursement? Define what it is for you and what you really want. The third is to fully understand the job and the company. Find out what a day in the life of the job looks like. Know the ins and outs of the company from their mission statement and company culture to their financials and stability. Pete’s final advice is that if you always stay in your comfort zone you will not grow. Fear, uncertainty and discomfort are your compasses toward growth.

As mentioned above, Nikos is the Director of Business Development at Jimerson Birr and is new to the law field and company. Being that he is new to this industry and company, he knows first-hand what it’s like to make a pivot in one’s career and embark on a new adventure. Below he offers tips and advice for others wanting to change paths in their career.

Perspective on Value of Personal Growth
As we mature in any position, the value we place on certain factors changes over time. At different points in our career, money or rank are the most important factors and at other times quality of life and a good work-life balance are more important. Nikos has found that for himself he is the happiest when he is achieving the most and that more positive things come his way when he is in that zone. We spend so much of our waking life at work so it important to do what inspires and drives you and if you need to step outside your comfort zone to get to that new step in your career, reconcile with your doubt and focus instead on what you can become.

Getting Past Doubt
You are the master of your thoughts so you can decide what thoughts you accept and what thoughts you push aside. If you have an “I can’t” mentality then you won’t. Reframe your thoughts to be supportive of your goals. While we are usually most comfortable with where we are, push past the doubts and fears that are holding you back and focus instead about what you do know. For instance, certain experiences you currently have can apply to your new career so focus on those transferable skills.

Advice to Help Through Change
If the reason you’re not making a change is because of uncertainty or fear, it’s important to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Being new in an industry can be a good thing – you are hungry and invigorated and can view things through a fresh perspective. While there can be fear, on the flip side it can be really exciting to embark on a new career. Focus on the positives.

Advice for Younger Self
Nikos advice to his younger self is simple: Slow Down. While he wouldn’t change anything in his past, he does believe he missed out on moments in life in his constant quest to advance his career. Enjoy the ride you are on instead of constantly thinking about what the next step will be. While career growth and advancement are important, also don’t miss out on the sweet everyday moments.

Navigating Career Changes and Growth

Reentering the Workplace

Many people temporarily leave the corporate workplace at one point or another in their life. Whether it’s to raise children, take care of an ailing or elderly family member, or another reason, it’s a personal decision for individuals to make. Deciding when to re-enter the workplace is another personal decision and for many can be daunting, especially after a lengthy absence. To make this process a little less intimidating, we have put together some tips and suggestions for those wanting to re-enter the workforce after a lengthy break.

Brush up on your skills
Read and subscribe to business journals related to your work field. This is a great way to brush up on the latest research and discoveries so you can impress potential employers with your knowledge. Likewise, attending networking groups or leadership conferences is a great way to catch up on the latest in your field and build your professional network.

Don’t shy away from your employment gap
On your resume and LinkedIn page, don’t try and hide your employment gap. Instead think about what skills you gained during your absence from the corporate world. While they might not be technical skills, think about the interpersonal skills you gained and how you are now a better leader, communicator, and collaborator than you were before you left the workforce. Convey these new skills as action verbs on your resume as well as describing what you did professionally before taking a break from the workforce.

Focus on the future
Instead of just focusing on why you took time off, focus on the future and convey with hiring managers that you are ready to get back into the workplace and are motivated, determined, and excited for this next chapter.

Put yourself out there
As mentioned above, joining a networking group is a great way to dip your toes back into the corporate world. Additionally, create or refresh your LinkedIn page and connect with past coworkers and bosses, as well people you are now close to (even if they aren’t currently in the workforce). The more people you know and are connected to the better. Once your LinkedIn page is up-to-date, write a post saying you are looking for a new role and see if anyone has any openings or recommendations for you.

Work with a Staffing Agency (such as SNI Companies)
If you need assistance in finding a job, work with a recruiter on finding a role at a company that is a good fit for your new life. A recruiter can help you update your resume, recommend networking groups or certifications, offer additional interview tips, and will know of companies hiring that would be a good cultural fit for you. Other things to consider when easing back into the workforce is either with a part-time role or a temp-to-hire position where you will have the chance to prove yourself at a company you would like to work for long term.

Rejoining the workplace doesn’t need to be something to fear. With a brush up on skills, and the helping hand of a recruiter, you can move forward confident and ready to start the next chapter of your career.

Reentering the Workplace

Video Interviewing Tips

In today’s digital age, doing a video job interview is fairly common practice. If you are on the job market and haven’t done one yet, you can most likely bet you will be doing one soon. Whether you’re a tech-savvy Gen Z or someone that hasn’t used video conferencing before, everyone can improve their video conferencing skills. Here are some tips to help you shine during your next video interview.

The first thing you will want to confirm is which video conferencing platform the client would like to use and whether they will be calling you or they would like you to call them. There are a number of video conferencing options including Google Hangout, Skype, and FaceTime, so you will want to make sure you both are on the same page about which video conferencing technology you will be using. Once you know this, make sure you’re comfortable with the application. If it’s not a tool you’ve used before, do a practice run with a friend the day before the interview to get comfortable with the tool and troubleshoot any issues. Test it out in different rooms to see where the lighting is the best and find a place with a neutral background so the interviewer isn’t distracted by what’s behind you. One thing to consider is using a headset with a microphone instead of the mic on your laptop. The built-in mic on your laptop can pick up noises from the room and create an echo sound. If you are concerned about this, you can pick up a relatively cheap USB headset that would greatly improve the audio quality. If you are using your mobile device instead of a laptop or desktop you will want to make sure you place your device on a solid stead surface instead of holding it in your hand.

In the moments leading up to your video interview, make sure you have your notes and pen and paper handy. Ensure your backdrop in the video is a clean, well-lit environment and double check your audio and video image one final time. Dress as you would for an in-person interview and wear a contrasting color to the background behind you. Some other dressing tips for the camera are to not wear anything with a busy pattern or super bright colors. Softer, solid colors are your best friends here. If you are doing the interview at your house, make sure to close the door to the room you are conducting the interview in to avoid unwanted distractions (such as your dog suddenly deciding it’s time to play). As with any interview, be aware of your body language and speak clearly and calmly. With video conferencing there may be a slight pause between what the interviewer is saying and when you hear it. Wait a second before responding to the question to make sure you don’t talk over the interviewer. With technology, there is always the chance that things could go wrong so make sure to have a backup plan in case the video conferencing suddenly stops or stalls. I recommend having the phone number of the interviewer and calling that number right away if the video stops. Also, it goes without saying, but make sure your devise is fully charged before the interview.

I hope these tips were helpful. By practicing ahead of time and working out any technical kinks you can go into your next video interview confident and prepared.

Video Interviewing Tips