Awareness-raising, first approaches and solutions
When Friedrich, Peterson and Koster published in March 2011 that "Generation C will have an impact comparable to that of the Industrial Revolution, except that things will happen faster," they did not imagine the degree of truth of their projection.
They certainly did not yet have knowledge of the appearance of Generations Z and Alpha, but for now these last two classifications do not yet have a clear impact and it should be clarified that this article will refer to Generation C as a psychographic group defined as "connectivity, communication, collaboration, creativity, content" and not as a definition of those who were born and raised during the pandemic. The human and its intra- and interpersonal interactions are just beginning to be (a little) better defined and do not yet really leave the academic field, the old "good" human management practices in the organizational field resist and prevail even in its normative aspects. It then becomes easy to understand why in a global structure that will categorize humans by generation according to their year of birth, Generation C is a UFO.
Unlike baby boomers and generations X and Y, Generation C does not fit into boxes sociologically defined by birth.
It is primarily a psychographic group, that is to say a group of people who share the same behavior, the same state of mind, whether they are the same values, personality traits, attitudes, lifestyles ... Which means that any member of the baby boomer generations, X or Y can be from Generation C.
It is therefore in front of this new classification, outside the usual canons of the sociology of organizations, that managerial habits will come up against. How do we deal with what we don't understand? How to accept a way of thinking defined outside the sacrosanct principles of logical intelligence and especially how to apprehend it oneself when one has built oneself on the previous mold? How to interpret a relationship to oneself and to the other whose very foundations are upside down from the foundations of the system that allows us to understand them and yet must make them evolve?
These are questions that have turned and turned brilliant minds for years and that Gen Z and Gen Alpha will inherit the findings.
It is obvious that if the solutions are still open, however, in my opinion, remain two essential avenues to explore for any manager, human resources manager or executive.
From my feedback during accompaniments in the transformational phase therefore particularly sensitive in the negative impact on humans, only one strategy has worked sustainably and this strategy can be defined according to two criteria, two observations.
In the first place, the one and only element that defines us all, whoever we are, wherever we come from, whatever we aspire to is emotion.
Secondly, it is worth looking at the convergence of the various university studies or expert firms since 2015 on the main reasons for turnover. Curiously, the salary is very far from being the first vector of departure or arrival. Instead, we must look at the recognition (or lack thereof), our work environment and our prospects for development. In other words, we observe a deep questioning of oneself in the organization.
It will therefore be on the side of these two elements that I invite you to think, HR marketing is obviously a first solution, but is it really adapted to your structure? The forced implementation of an aberration such as Lean Management demonstrated the crucial importance of the previous question. It is therefore a question of not making this mistake again.
The solution I have chosen to bring and which to date is a success is not to consider having to adapt Generation C to our structure or our structure to Generation C, but rather to move the whole thing forward as a new entity. Redefine a new group by a new common involvement towards a new common goal which must be the search for meaning.
It is easy to see the damage caused by lockdowns and our inability to rethink our managerial model. The arrival of Generation Z, direct heir, but infinitely more individualistic than Generation C, will not reshuffle the cards. It will just point out our structural weaknesses and reinforce our misunderstandings of a world that is changing faster, too fast, and the devastating generational disparities that follow.
Without going so far as to point to the disappearance of an old world of ideological clashes and its void sadly filled by "influencers" and the triumph of immediacy, easy thinking and populism, we are nevertheless beginning to see the emergence of new concepts that already go beyond decision-makers such as quiet quitting and quiet firing, but above all, much worse, ageism.
These notions fascinate researchers in psychosociology, sociology of organizations and others. And believe me, being a psychosociologist myself, this is not really good news for you.