Starting about ten years ago, there were suddenly four generations in the workplace for the first time in history. Never before have the generations had such differences in work ethic, priorities and loyalty. It's a culture clash within a culture. This generation gap leads to frustration and resentment among everyone in the workforce; Baby Boomers, who carry on their parents' sense of loyalty, respect and hard work; Generation X-ers the first generation not to out-earn their parents; and Millennials who believe they can change the world through philanthropy, technology and sustainability efforts.
This week on Driving Force Radio, we take a look at the expectations of those entering the workforce - and talk with one business owner who can vouch for the success of embracing Millennial ideals in the workplace.
We start with Rena Dulberg, Director of Community Service and Leadership at Johnson & Wales University who explains that the up and coming leaders expect to blend their personal goals and values with their professional persona. That's something past generations didn't even consider, under the instruction of "checking your personal life at the door."
She says Millennials won't stay at an organization that doesn't meet their needs, or support their ambitions. This idea leaves other generations, who have found employment hard to come by, shaking their heads in disbelief.
The Millennial generation is prepared to start their own businesses in order to have the lives they want.
Becky Lindberg, a Senior in the Culinary Nutrition program at Johnson and Wales, says she hopes to work for an employer who cares where the food came from, in terms of local and organic. Recycling and composting efforts are important to her as well.
Fashion Merchandizing student, Naja Walker cares about labor conditions in garment factories, and wants to give back to her roots when she's seen enough success to do so.
One of the most popular breakfast spots in Denver is a model of these ideals. Adam Schlegel, co-owner of Snooze Eateries believes that he can relate to multiple generations. As such, he has a better understanding of why the younger generation doesn't want to climb the ladder and break through ceilings.
"I think I am smack in the middle of Gen X and Gen Y. I can relate to it more. I worked in the consulting business for a while and I put up with it. I just did it. I put my nose to the grindstone and worked hard. But the Gen Y in me is like, "I don't have to do that. I don't want to do that."
Instead, Adam and his brother run an independent chain of breakfast cafes, that break the rules while recycling, composting and embracing originality.
"We've all come from the corporate restaurants and what we've learned is that khaki pants are lame. And uniforms and polo shirts, you know? We want you to have tattoos."
Listen to Driving Force Radio Saturday Morning at 10:00 on KNUS 710 - you can find the podcast here, or watch our video version below.
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Part One - Johnson & Wales Perspective
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Part Two - Adam Schlegel, SNOOZE