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Embracing and Managing A Younger Generation In the Local Government Workforce

By Mary Malcolm


Living in the digital age, we are seeing the stretches of technology and the way it can transform education, careers, local municipal services, and so much more. Growing up in this transformative era, the younger generation has an inherent skill set that allows for ease in navigating these novel times whereas, older generations are sometimes left behind

Integrating the younger generation in the workforce is an excellent aid in the adaption of new technology solutions into your municipality. This is not without understanding that there can at times be slight conflict between the older and younger generations, at odds with how operations should be carried out. Local government offices are no exception to this, as they grapple with the new age methodology, they also face roadblocks and hesitation from the older generation of workers. Frustrations are understandable during this transition, but must be mitigated as the vital skill sets younger workers possess brings much positive change and efficiency into the workplace.  

Why Is Embracing The Younger Workforce Vital?

Embracing a younger workforce is important and obviously happens naturally over time, however expediting this integration of younger workers will help to streamline workflows and strengthen operations in your local government. 

Here are a few reasons for the impotence of embracing the younger workforce:

1. Modern Skill and Talents

In a technological revolution, there is a learning curve that for many, especially older generations, is very challenging. The advantage of having younger workers on staff is instrumental in familiarizing government offices with the means to implement the newest tech resources. Working directly with the younger generation allows them to bring their natural tech savvy and modern skills into government offices, while subsequently teaching the older workers how to operate with govtech resources. 

2. Motivation

Not exclusive to this new age of incoming workers is the drive and motivation of a new employee. New employees are eager to please and often get involved in a very hands-on approach to earn their stripes and perform well. The willingness to go the extra mile to prove themselves to senior staff is a drive that projects itself in many facets of the company. Older employees are offered a chance to delegate less favorable work to new staff in an effort to vet them, giving them experience with all aspects of the work. Younger employees make it their mission to exceed expectations and have an intrinsic motivation when starting off their careers.

3. Quick Wits 

While senior staff does not implicitly mean senior citizen, research from UCSF has shown that cognitive ability peaks between 19 and 30 years old and begins declining when you reach “middle aged” status. This being said, it serves to benefit the whole group to keep young, sharp minds around to offer input on projects and general work proceedings. Not only are they sharper, they have the ability to pick up on how to complete novel tasks at a quicker pace. 

Skills The Younger Workforce Brings to The Office

  • Digital Literacy 

Younger generations are offered an invaluable advantage in this digital age, where they have had exposure to technology, for most, their entire lives. Having, at minimum, a baseline understanding of technology such as the government cloud offers quick adaptability and proficiency with any advancements made within technology, now and in the future. Many are entering the workforce as technology is being incorporated into offices regularly, whereas older generations are being asked to relearn their, now outdated, skills with foreign tools.

Learn how your local government can Begin To Make A Digital Transformation here!

  • Social Media Savvy

As technology has gained prominence in numerous careers, social media has followed suit. Businesses have recognized the impact social media is having on the public, and in turn, the countless marketing benefits it harnesses. Communication is being transformed, as people from any stretch of the world, regardless of language barriers, are being connected via social media. This is huge for brand promotion and spreading a message to anyone in the world without ever leaving your municipal office. 

Younger workers can help your government connect to local community members online. To learn more, read our Social Media Strategy Guide here. 

  • Collaboration and Teamwork 

Progress spanning generations is evident in the workplace as increasing importance is being placed on embracing diverse perspectives. The ability to assess viewpoints from various perspectives has the potential to elevate government work from being merely good to truly exceptional. Younger professionals, in particular, stand out as exceptional collaborators due to their adeptness in recognizing the value of incorporating input from their peers, gaining insight from diverse groups, and learning with an open mind.

Learn everything about Promoting Equity in Local Government with Digital and Physical Infrastructure Considerations.

  • Adaptability 

A common theme of the younger generation is adaptability and open-mindedness. There is a particular fascination with this generation because they are experiencing the revolution of a traditional working model to begin incorporating technology in any way possible, in real time. They are seeing what the stretches of technology truly are, which serves as a testament to their excitement for change and growth, but more importantly, their capacity to acclimate seamlessly. 

Without predetermined habits or time under their belt to develop  a single way of doing things, younger generations are ready to adapt to the growing changes of modern workplaces, and can help their coworkers adapt as well. 

  • Global Perspective 

The idea of having boundless access to global events may seem overwhelming, but it opens up unprecedented avenues of connectivity. Providing the public with such information not only offers a profound resource but also establishes an unparalleled connection to diverse countries and cultures. Direct interpersonal connections the younger generation seems to have with all stretches of world news, serve as powerful conduits for disseminating potentially propagated media, influencing opinions about individuals and global events. Ultimately, the specialized skill set that younger generations have in navigating media and utilizing this connectedness gives an advantage in transcending one dimensional perspectives and opening your municipality up to new ways of thinking. 

Consider the best ways to perfect Government Data Storage here. 

  • Continuous Learning Initiative

Frequently, individuals who have recently graduated from university tend to be less removed from the academic environment, exhibiting a heightened enthusiasm for continuous learning and ongoing education. Hiring individuals with this proximity may translate into a willingness and receptivity to new skill sets and acquiring new knowledge, as these individuals recognize the dynamic nature of their respective industries and the importance of staying well-informed in order to handle evolving landscapes successfully.

Learn how to How to Train Government Workers on Cyber Security Threats here.  

  • Communication Skills 

Honesty and directness are seeing an increased prevalence in young professionals that have unanticipated benefits for those they work with/for. There is a consciousness of the differing communication styles between different generations, but the honest and open approach of the incoming workers offers an unprecedented methodology that is effective and efficient. 

Strategies to Embrace a Younger Workforce

There are various strategies that can be used to entice a younger generation into your local workforce. Here are a few key ways: 

1. Be Flexible 

The adaptable nature and appreciation for adaptability in the younger generations cannot be overemphasized. This sort of flexibility should be modeled into the workforce when possible. Local governments, in particular, stand to gain considerable advantages from harnessing the unique flexibility that the younger demographic brings, exemplified by the seamless adoption of work-from-home or hybrid options. Numerous studies have consistently demonstrated the tangible benefits of incorporating such flexible working models, revealing a potential productivity boost of up to 13%. 

Find out How GovPilot Can Help You Switch to a Hybrid Work Model here.

2. Technological Integration 

Willingness to learn and integrate technology is only half the battle, equipping the office with the pertinent materials is arguably more important than getting the staff on board. Municipal workers may not have qualms with the transition to new methodology but without reliable, high-speed internet and the latest technology and tools, the purpose is defeated. Government Management Software, like we provide here at GovPilot provides access to the most current technology where you can automate processes, digitally manage software and engage with citizens.

Embrace Local Government Community Engagement Strategies With GovPiot

3. Provide Professional Development Opportunities 

As they make their way in their career, young professionals are unlikely to pass by an opportunity to advance their skills. For workers such as newly elected officials, continuing their training well into the first few years of a young persons’ career can be invaluable to the progression in the workplace. The commitment to continuous learning not only underscores their dedication to personal and professional growth but also equips them with the evolving expertise necessary to excel in the dynamic landscape of their chosen field.

4. Emphasize Purpose-Driven Work

It is inarguable that the younger generation has a passion and desire for meaningful work that is communicated with aspirations towards positive change. This strategic emphasis resonates with the values that local governments project as their mission statement, aligning these two truths seamlessly. The visibility of the organization's mission and values are then elevated by highlighting impactful social and environmental initiatives, and recruiting workers with this drive is vital.

5. Allow For a Casual Dress Code 

Encouraging a relaxed work environment, companies are adopting more casual dress codes. The link between comfort and productivity is intricate, influenced by individual preferences, job roles, and work nature. Striking a tailored balance is key for optimal productivity. Consider your personal comfort preferences, including attire, when aiming to maximize productivity.

Consider How to Use Benefits to Attract Government Workers

6. Provide Modern Communication Channels

The younger generation is well-acquainted with the marvels of contemporary communication. With the proliferation of social media platforms, we find ourselves presented with yet another avenue to interact with a diverse array of users and establish global connections. Several of these platforms are specifically designed with the professional environment in focus, providing tools and resources that enhance collaboration such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, and WorkDay. 

Learn about Azure for Government through our resource.

Take Steps To Begin Embracing A Younger Workforce Now 

Concluding, we urge local government officials to proactively take measures that foster the engagement and collaboration of the younger workforce in local government initiatives. Explore the possibilities by scheduling a consultation with GovPilot to discuss strategies and solutions for effective integration and participation.

Young Workforce FAQs

  • Why is embracing younger workers in government important? 

Embracing young workers in government is the only way to integrate the next generation, offering representation as the voices of the younger public. It is imperative to assure that all are being heard, and there is no better way to guarantee local municipalities are working in favor of all than to incorporate representatives of all groups. 

  • What are some key ways to embrace younger workers? 

Embracing young people does not imply the abolition of traditional practices, but rather the incorporation of new ones. Flexibility, technological integration, comfortability, and welcoming of modern communication are all great ways to embrace younger workers. 

  • What role does technology play in embracing and enticing younger workers? 

Technology and the younger generation go hand in hand. As innovation skyrocketed in the last 25 years, those entering the workforce today have never lived without technology. Therefore, finding ways to adapt to the modern era inherently welcomes younger workers. Demonstrating a willingness to implement newer methodologies opens opportunities for senior staff and the incoming force to collaborate. 

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Tags: Government Efficiency, Digital Transformation, GovTech