We tend to see a lot of negative connotations and stereotypes surrounding “Millennials” in the workplace. Even though they aren’t the newest generation to enter the workforce, there is still a lot to be assumed about their work ethic and lifestyle choices from their coworkers. Recently there is a new term to describe this generation that is rather fitting. Due to their unconventional and multi-faceted career paths, Millennials have been defined as the “Slash Generation”. Not every Millennial identifies with having a ‘slash’ career, but it is becoming a very prominent trend among this generation.
Who makes up the Slash Generation?
The Slash Generation is made up of adults roughly ages 21-35 that are relatively fresh faces in the workforce.
The term “Slash Generation” comes from the uncommon combination of job titles they prefer to take on at one time. Engineer/artist, merchandiser/photographer/entrepreneur, graphic designer/author are just a few examples of what these titles may look like.
Instead of being specialized in a single area of talent, this generation prefers to specialize in multiple. This is most likely a result of the ample amount of options students have today regarding their education. Since they are able to hand pick what they want to study, they prefer to continue doing this in their career path as well.
What does this career style look like?
Often times, Millennials identifying as the Slash Generation will allocate their careers to multiple locations. While one occupation may reflect their education and degrees, the additional may be more hobby and interest related. They may spend eight hours a day in an accounting office, then go home to maintain a freelance graphic design career from their laptops. They may spend their day at a hospital, but spend their night in a yoga studio.
The opportunities are virtually endless for this generation. This lifestyle comes from the need to do meaningful work. Meaningful work to the Slash Generation is more than just working their way up in an organization.
They desire a work/life balance that fulfills both financial and creative needs. However, meaningful work doesn’t always mean having multiple jobs in multiple settings. It can mean taking on a mixture of titles and responsibilities in one organization. This provides a creative outlet for those who want to enjoy their work and do something that is meaningful to them.
How can you prepare your company for this generation?
Begin your preparation by recognizing that those who identify with this generation have a work style that may be far from the norm. Their well-rounded nature can be an asset to your organization if you give them the opportunity to succeed.
While this generation understands the importance of being good at what they do, they may also feel that it is even better to be good at a number of things. A ‘Jack-of-All-Trades’, if you will. This may mean using strategic thinking to give job titles and descriptions within your organizations a makeover.
An individual who is great with data and analysis but has an eye for design could be a Marketing department’s secret weapon. Someone who has a Criminal Justice degree and also loves designer clothing brands could be a success in Fashion Law. Again, the opportunities for individuals wanting to combine their skill sets are endless and can take your organization to the next level.
For those who choose to keep their professions separate, they may need a little help from their employer. It’s understandable that organizations want their employees to be devoted to their brand 110%. However, giving a bit of freedom to the ones that need it may be the difference between maintaining and losing their employees’ engagement.
This may mean adjusting hours and workdays to a schedule that works for both the employer and employee. Workplace flexibility could be a tremendous help to not only the Slash Generation and their obligations but a healthy work/life balance for everyone.
The Slash Generation is here, and are most likely already a part of your organization. Allowing these individuals to find meaning in their work and do what they enjoy is crucial to their workplace engagement and their success in your organization. Older generations, before you make assumptions about Millennials and their work ethic, just remember that they value their work more than you know. They were raised in an era of following their passion further than their profession. They are just a glimpse of the generations that follow behind.
Managing a Multi-Generational Workplace
In this interactive workshop, participants will develop a greater understanding of the generations actively working in today’s organizations, as well as the influences that helped shape each generation.