We can clearly state that, as one of the direct generational effects of COVID-19, professionals expect this generation to rise. There is real anticipation in the workplace ahead of their arrival, largely due to the challenges posed by the Ambitionists. While the Followers, born between 1997 and 2008, may be saddened that they are now in the midst of an even greater crisis – early in their adult lives – their attitudes to life are completely different from those of their predecessors.
Before the crisis
It is customary to say that generations learn from each other’s mistakes, and a particular generation always tries to avoid the mistakes of one or two generations that preceded it. We focus on this 24-year period because their memory and impact directly accompany us throughout our lives. It is also common ground that in the RISE-based intergenerational calculation, there is usually a two-generation difference between parents and children – and although the more developed part of the world is increasingly shifting towards women giving birth later – this statement is still a good guideline, as there is still a significant majority of mothers and fathers in their twenties or early thirties at parent-teacher conferences. If at some point, in understanding the decision-making mechanism of the Followers, it is very important to know why the “mistakes” of each generation, their predecessors, are rejected and what the consequences of this are, say, for the labour market. The Diplomats parents are characterised by careerist thinking, also called the “single generation”, as they were the first to focus very heavily on building their own careers in lieu of strong families. Moreover, having a child did not mean that a mother would retire from her career forever or even a decade. By planning things smarter, the manager’s moms went back to their former workplace as quickly as possible. Moreover, the mechanism of childbirth has become different, as it has become more and more common for a pregnant mother to work actively, even in the days before childbirth. One of the effects on children is that belonging to the company, team, and community is much more important. Followers are also often referred to as the “social generation”, as human relationships are indeed of paramount importance to them. So is environmental awareness. The first generation to truly see this issue as a matter of the heart, both on a generational level and in general. Of course, this does not mean that the topic is not important to other generations, but it does show that the Followers do not only want to talk about it, but also want to confront it at the community level. They are not very well understood by older managers in the job market, those who are now in business decision-making positions, as they are considered aimless. And in the traditional business sense, they really are, because for them, happiness in privacy, health, family, and the environment rank ahead of a sound career.
After the crisis
Despite this, this generation that has recently entered the job market can be more loyal, persistent, and stable than the Ambitionists. They are amenable, not demanding, and the consensus is that this is a more lovable age group. The question is their relationship to work, which has not really been assessed yet, but they are far ahead of the generation that preceded them. If a job can meet the needs already listed, if it can really put people at the forefront of its HR strategy, there is a serious chance of getting a reliable and predictable workforce in return. One of the engines of turnover, which is a serious challenge for companies, was and will be the Ambitionists, because their eternal dissatisfaction and insatiability make them always look for something new, because it will definitely get better, or the employer gets bored and sends them away. Well, the solution to horrible fluctuation rates may be the Followers, as they are very selective at first, but if they place their confidence in a company that doesn’t abuse that trust, they can become serious pillars. It is important to know that at the beginning of each generation exists a transition period from the preceding generation where the effects of the previous generation can still be felt. So those born in 1997-1998, who are today 23-24 years old, are reminiscent of The Ambitionists. The real change, the new generational effect, will be experienced in the coming years. Those companies who really value their people will enjoy this new era, but for those who talk the talk but do not walk the walk, there will be serious labour shortages.