What's Floating Around

What’s Floating Around Cloud 9? 16 October 2017


Welcome to another week and its a week of Accountancy, Interviewing and Admin – Yikes!

Not our favourite time of the year but its a rush to get the annual accounts over to the accountant, lots of admin tasks we are woefully behind on and in the middle of it all, interviewing through the University of Nottingham for some student support for some of the projects we have on the go.

There are some amazing bright youngsters out there and the skills they bring to the table can sometimes be a really great advantage as they have a way at looking at things very different. Most of the team here must seem like dinosaurs to many of our potential recruits and we did a litttle digging online to find out just how best to engage with the so called Milennials!

There are lots of different perspectives on this issue, from a raft of bosses complaining about their desire to be handed success on a plate, to more moderate views like ours about the potential benefits of employing a generation who are used to technology being in every day life. The article we liked best though came from The Guardian and although its a few years old, best sums it up. We’ve edited it down to include the best bits.

Mark Twain quipped that when he was 14 he was embarrassed by his father, who knew nothing. By the time the author turned 21, he was surprised at how much the old man had learned in just seven years. This generational divide between those who may think they know it all and those with world experience has always existed. But never before has a new generation entered the workforce with an outlook so different from that of its parents.

Generation Y, born in the 80s to mid 90s, and the “millennials”, born from the mid-90s onwards, have the broadest horizons of any generation to enter the workforce. They are technically literate and connected to one another, brands, employers and the outside world in a way anyone who grew up with vinyl can only just begin to understand.

 This has led to an increased confidence in where they want to go and what they feel they are worth and no doubt has led many an SME owner to agree with chef and restaurateur Marco Pierre White’s observation. At a recent relaunching of the menu in two of his gastropubs, he revealed the main difference he has seen in the industry is that now when he interviews young staff for new positions, there seems to be a reversal in roles.”It’s young men and women who interview you now, not the other way round,” he says. “It’s good that they want to know more about you and how you can progress their career but it’s such a change from when I was starting out. My dad always told me that when someone’s going to train you there’s two things you never ask: what are the hours and what’s the pay. So I didn’t dare ask the Rouxs what I’d be earning at Le Gavroche. I just put in the hours and learned.”

What this new trend means for SME bosses is the subject of much conjecture but experts tend to agree that those in their 20s and early 30s cannot be ignored if companies are to remain successful. This means entrepreneurs need to be aware that when they hire young people, recruits will expect to be given the technology and training required to work well. Crucially, they expect and treasure flexibility.

 In fact, according to the recent PwC Next Gen: A Global Generational Study, two in three in their 20s or early 30s expect to be able to work flexible hours both at home and in the office. Older workers, the research concludes, are more likely to be driven by pay and promotions. So, typically, Generation Y and millennial recruits are associated with wanting work to be both challenging and fun, rather than menial, with plenty of training. They expect cool offices with a kitchen, preferably a shower and definitely a works social events calendar.

To the middle-aged SME owner, it may seem as if HR experts are expecting them to organise their business around a younger generation’s expectations. They have a very good point, according to Paul Roberts, business development manager at management consultancy Inspiring Business Performance (IBP). He cautions that a little more common sense is required to mediate between youthful expectations and what a business can deliver.

“It’s key to ensure a careful balance between the two,” he says. “It’s like renovating an old building – you need to maintain the integrity of the original build but that shouldn’t be at the cost of employing new techniques to achieve it.

“Millennials requiring more non-financial reward and recognition than previous generations can be a challenge for a boss focusing on simply getting the job done. However, with fewer school leavers venturing to university, as fees continue to rise, gaining experience while being paid has become more attractive to this generation. So apprenticeships offer SMEs an excellent way to help support the employment of those without any experience and provides the company owner with the opportunity to mould and guide them into the employees they need.”

Get the balance right and most SMEs will flourish with an injection of new blood. Training, up-to-date technology and flexibility will need to be provided to recruits who will want to feel valued but there are no steps a boss will have to take that should make them feel uncomfortable; or ostracise older members of the workforce.

So there you have it! Have a great week and we’ll let you know how we get on!