Finding the Right Combination
“It’s great to be known for your shoes, but it’s better to be known for your sole.” ~ Kenneth Cole
Remember when people used to talk about work/life balance? Harkens back to when you wore shoes, not sneakers or slippers. Seems like an ancient conversation because now, personal and professional have melded into each other where it’s difficult to extract one from the other. During this time for many there is little balance. And some don’t even have that little luxury at all; it’s all work. Still yet, for younger professionals it’s different, having a life during work is what’s critical. Read on if you are a Millennial or are interested in a Millennial and Gen Z perspective on this.
Was work/life balance real or an enduring myth? If there were people who consciously thought, talked about and actually planned around equally juggling both, you can trust they were more seasoned professionals.
Talk to someone born in the Millennial or Gen Z years about the concept and they may roll their eyes, stare at you like “wait, you mean there’s a difference?” or be thinking “OMG, so old school”. By now you’ve probably heard they don’t necessarily separate social or personal life from work or career. Their lives are more fluid, not siloed like older professionals. And many will leave jobs and companies NOT for getting bored of the foosball lounges that some seasoned people believe are at every company that employs a number of young professionals, but, because they: don’t feel they’re learning/or receiving enough training; haven’t received enough recognition for their work; and/or they can’t find their collegial community among co-workers. Younger people tend to have very tight knit relationships with their parents compared to older generations who were raised to be more independent so when they enter the work-world they are seeking a familiar feeling they can receive from close personal relationships within a company.
Regardless of age or generation, if you’re single, living alone or with your parents, you are feeling more isolated than ever. And if your job doesn’t put you into almost daily contact with peers and/or other colleagues who can experience the 360-degree version of you, you may feel you’re simply existing. How can organizations who want to retain their younger talent support these professionals who haven’t had years of career experience to make work friends and encourage them to feel as if they have an employee appreciative mothership? And beyond that also support their mental health?
Besides ERG’s (Employee Resource Groups), if your company is large enough to support affinity groups where employees can get together with similar interests beyond work, what else can a business do for their employees to keep them engaged with their work, positive, and staying longer? Making introductions among peers, other new employees and people with similar interests is one idea to promote bonding among people, work and the company. Another is to host or encourage social get togethers (even if on-line is the best option).
While working with a bank and interviewing young professionals there, I was surprised to learn that there had been no effort made to introduce new younger hires. The recent college grads had no idea who else was working in the company who shared their newness to the organization and to the professional world. Especially true when they were in a department where they might be the only one who was new or inexperienced, those introductions would have been so appreciated. And during these days of working remotely, which are even more lonely than in person, these efforts would be worth the price of gold for everyone.
Another great resource is a human capital software company, Workhuman, based out of Boston and Dublin, Ireland. Workhuman (workhuman.com) software connects employees by providing social recognition, commemorating professional milestones, celebrating personal life events and also sharing photos and experiences from company and team events/outings in order to bring the social and personal together for a holistic community experience for the employee.
We’re all trying to find the right balance personally and professionally through this pandemic, and we’ll keep at it because sometimes we’re successful even if it’s fleeting. If you are a leader, consider the welfare of your young talent, providing them with the resources they need is a win-win for everyone. People benefit from being thought of holistically and not just professional roles or titles. And you do, too.
Trying to balance your own professional from personal and you’re in a leadership role? Email me at Susan@SusanGoldbergLeadership.com Let’s talk.
If you are in a position to bring forth good change, encouragement, and growth – you want full access to your potential. Make the choices you need to be the leader that advocates change to look forward to. That change which engages your people, improves productivity and highlights the abilities of your team members.
If you would like to have a conversation on how you can get results with authenticity, continual learning and kindness, contact me: Susan@SusanGoldbergLeadership.com