Human Resources Expert Says Next Gen Professionals Value Health And Balance, Respond To Workplace Initiatives And Will Find Greener Pastures If Needs Not Met
From 1971 to 1983, an iconic character drew millions of television viewers – Archie Bunker – played by John Carroll O’Connor, who represented the voice of a generation. But more than that, the two television shows featuring his character represented generational change itself.
Generational change not only makes for a perennial topic in popular entertainment as we grapple with differing attitudes and attributes, but often occupies the minds of workplace leadership. New generations in the office change how work is done, and successful leaders look to understand and incorporate the ongoing evolution of the Next Gen in the workplace.
Today’s young employees entering and establishing early careers in wealth management bring new attitudes, including new emphases on and ways of thinking about work-life balance, health and lifestyle. To understand these new attitudes and teach us how to adapt, we spoke with Alison Coe, Human Resources Specialist at Bogart Wealth, a wealth management firm with offices in McLean, Virginia, and The Woodlands, Texas.
During the pandemic, Bogart Wealth doubled its assets under management, which recently topped $2 billion, and hired 20 new employees. Coe led in their hiring process and played a central role in developing a company culture that attracts employees.
We asked Coe about the views of the Next Gen on work-life balance, health and lifestyle initiatives, how to adapt for Next Gen professionals and how they are changing the workplace for previous generations.
WSR: How does the Next Gen differ from previous generations on work-life balance and healthy lifestyle and workplace initiatives? Do they define these differently and have different expectations of what these look like?
Coe: I am finding that Next Gen professionals put a sincere value on their healthy lifestyle – both physically and mentally – more so than other generations in the work force. As I interview candidates and hire Next Gen employees, I am always asked about work-life balance – in many cases because they want to hit the gym daily after work!
Additionally, we are finding with Next Gen employees that the idea of a solid work-life balance will help them concentrate more while in the office, be more productive and have a healthier headspace. In past generations, we have often seen a grind that doesn’t stop, but many Next Gen professionals are adamant on having time for themselves – which they feel in the long run leads to more productivity and less burnout in the workplace.
We feel that providing our employees with a strong work-life balance not only leads to happier employees, but better results for our firm.
WSR: What blind spots might firms have if they don’t make an effort to understand the Next Gen’s thoughts on work-life balance and healthy workplaces and lifestyles? What kinds of problems with Next Gen employees or recruits may arise?
Coe: Next Gen professionals are different from other generations because they will often change jobs if they are unhappy and don’t get the work-life balance they crave. In the modern workplace, usually company loyalty is a thing of the past. Typically, other generations will wait things out, have a minimum of two years or so with a particular company on their resume, then begin a new job search.
If Next Gen employees are unhappy, they usually have no problem switching jobs every six months to a year. This is a huge problem for employers for multiple reasons, including cost of onboarding, problems with business continuity and a potential snowball effect of other employees looking for greener pastures.
WSR: In your experience, what health, lifestyle and work-life balance initiatives strongly appeal to Next Gen employees and recruits?
Coe: An onsite gym really attracts our Next Gen employees. Being able to go there directly after getting off work (or before!), rather than fighting with traffic during rush hour, is very appealing. Additionally, our firm conducts regular “step challenges” where we really see the competitive side come out of our employees.
One of the key initiatives that Bogart Wealth’s leadership team has initiated is allowing employees to work from home twice a month after a year of service. Having the ability to work remotely on those occasions allows employees to avoid commuting into work and start their evening immediately after finishing work, which we have found our employees really appreciate. In addition, we always try to be flexible if situations or needs arise.
Another thing our employees appreciate is fully covered benefits, which gives peace of mind – obviously having full health, vision and dental coverage is important when it comes to health!
Finally, a large part of our company culture is doing regular catered lunches, “Thirsty Thursdays” with specialty coffee, holiday parties and other fun celebrations and team building events. We find that this gives our firm a fun lifestyle element and allows our employees to have more fun at work.
WSR: Do you see the Next Gen’s concerns in these areas changing or having an impact on previous generations of employees?
Coe: I think that as Next Gen talent continues to age and grow in their careers, their viewpoints may change, and many will start to realize that sometimes working the extra hours will benefit them in the long run. Sometimes going above and beyond does make a big difference and allow you to make the next big leap in your career. I see that happening before I see previous, older generations adopting the Next Gen mindset.
However, the emphasis on health and wellness (including mental health), work-life balance and a balanced lifestyle is becoming increasingly prominent in the modern workplace, so it’s important for firms of all shapes and sizes to start adapting and offering situations and solutions that work for all generations in the workforce – especially as Next Gen professionals become a larger percentage of that workforce.
Michael Madden, Contributing Editor & Research Analyst at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org