The next generation of potential electronic security industry employees is now graduating from high school and college. They're facing a still-tight job market, though our field is more open and active than others. This is an opportunity for our industry to bring in younger employees. We need them.
A lot has been written about generational differences between Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the current age group, sometimes called Generation Y or the Millennials. As we start to attract new blood through various venues, such as ESA's Young Security Professionals, we should be looking at how to bridge the differences between these diverse generations and create opportunities to embrace the diversity that comes from new ideas and younger employees.
You may not achieve perfect harmony, but a more harmonious relationship starts with education and communication. Education helps to get everyone on the same page. It could be that the new and/or existing employees are enrolled in ESA's National Apprenticeship Program and are mentored by your experienced employees to ensure they understand the job and get the training they need to succeed.
Communication means that the multi-generational workforce can talk about the differences in how we approach work, technology and even social time. Those raised with different expectations can easily clash, and when you work with someone for 40 hours a week, the chance of a raw encounter is high.
Rather than letting expectations and emotions go overboard, it's better to be up front and raise differences openly. It might mean that you meet with newcomers one-on-one to discuss how they are fitting in, and what can be improved. It might mean having an all-hands meeting to air key issues that have arisen about work hours – especially when employees arrive in the morning. They issues can seem trivial, but discussing them upfront, and listening to alternatives, leads to solutions that can be embraced by all.
Now is the time to get out there and recruit – to see if you can find some high school or college grads and fill open headcount slots. Give these new folks an ear, but don't neglect the employees you already have on board. Make it a dialogue with multiple voices, and you'll have a stronger, more cohesive workforce for the years ahead.