August 24, 2018

The Roundup: Prevent career sleepwalking, get ready for Gen Z, and find confidence within

In this week’s Roundup, get employees off a “treadmill going nowhere,” and get ready for the Gen Z workforce. Plus, the next time you need advice, try giving it.

Danielle Ng-See-Quan

Dani is the Managing Editor, Content Marketing at Ceridian.

Prevent your employees from career sleepwalking

New research from LinkedIn finds that almost half of professionals ages 35 to 44 years don’t know what their career path should look like – even after working for more than a decade.

LinkedIn’s research further found that 23% of people said they feel like they’re “on a treadmill going nowhere.” These working professionals don’t know if they should stay with their current job or invest in developing new skills – in short, they’re “career sleepwalking.”

However, LinkedIn also found that younger workers (under the age of 24) are taking less linear career paths, and moving between roles more often. Over a fifth of these workers have already had four or more full-time jobs.

While jumping around from job to job has traditionally had more of a negative connotation, but the working landscape has shifted. It’s not job-hopping – it’s jumping at new opportunities and seeking growth and fulfillment. As per LinkedIn, employees are making moves more often to keep learning and developing their skills.

This, then, is what employers should pay attention to. With employees actively interested in ongoing career development and upskilling, it’s more important than ever for managers to have regular conversations with their teams, and provide opportunities for continuous growth. HR Dive notes that “helping employees find how their personal purpose aligns with the needs of the company can result in more engagement and loyalty.”

Gen Z is about to outnumber millennials

Bloomberg reports that Gen Z will make up 32% of the global population of 7.7 billion in 2019, just a bit more than millennials, who will account for 31.5%. These numbers are based on Bloomberg’s analysis of United Nations data.

At present, there are five generations currently in the workforce, and there’s been much written about the differences between them. Bloomberg’s reporting highlights some key behaviors of Gen Z:

"The key factor that differentiated these two groups, other than their age, was an element of self-awareness versus self-centeredness," according to “Rise of Gen Z: New Challenge for Retailers,” a report by Marcie Merriman, an executive director at Ernst & Young LLP. Millennials were "more focused on what was in it for them. They also looked to others, such as the companies they did business with, for solutions, whereas the younger people naturally sought to create their own solutions."

Considerations for employers are two-fold: First, they must be aware of, and adaptable to, how new generations of employees will influence the current world of work.

Second, they should be asking themselves whether they are an employer of choice for these young workers.

HR executive notes some areas employers and HR professionals should focus on as they re-evaluate their strategies: providing flexible and unique growth opportunities, offer continuous learning in different formats, embrace flexible work schedules and environments, and rethink the traditional recruiting process for the digital generation.

Feeling unmotivated? Try giving advice

If you’re feeling unmotivated, try something new. Instead of asking for advice from a successful friend or colleague and then following it, try giving advice.

Quartz writes about new research from psychologists Lauren Eskreis-Winkler and Ayelet Fishbach, who write in MIT Sloan Management Review that it’s well-known by psychologists that people stumble in particular when they address self-control problems “because they lack the motivation to transform knowledge into action.”  So they turned “the standard solution to self-control on its head: What if instead of seeking advice, we asked struggling people to give it?”

In their experiments, they asked people struggling with self-control to advise other people on those same problems – some examples were adults struggling to save money, and children falling behind in school. As per Leah Fessler in Quartz:

“Although giving advice confers no new information to the advice giver, we thought it would increase the advice giver’s confidence,” they write. “Confidence in one’s ability can galvanize motivation and achievement even more than actual ability.”

The results suggest their thesis was right. 

Giving advice, as opposed to receiving it, appears to help unmotivated people feel powerful because it involves reflecting on knowledge that they already have. 

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