Hip-Hop, Social Media, and Young People in the Workplace

Human Resources Perspective from Guest Blogger Tyesha Simmons

Do hip-hop and social media, two important factors of today’s generation, affect young workers in the workplace?  Is hip-hop so influential that people have a hard time separating it from their work lives? 

According to an article on Monster.com titled, “The Hip-Hop Workplace:  Cultural Clash or Generational Transition?,” the answer is yes. Many people believe that hip-hop affects today’s generation in many aspects of their lives such as how they dress, communicate with others, and conduct themselves in the workplace.  Bruce Sherold, president and CEO of Diversity Search Group, believes that young hip-hoppers are not as conservative in the workplace as their elders. Sherold asserts that clothes and hairstyles are the two most prevalent ways that show this difference and the influence of hip-hop in the workplace.  Sherold states “[Young adults] don’t seem to think their appearance has any impact on an interviewer, and they talk in rap slang.” 

It is true that some people lack guidance from parents or positive figures, so they enter the workforce without the appearance and soft skills needed to get a job.  Many factors contribute to this problem such as growing up in certain environments, and a culture that is geared towards encouraging lifestyle that consist of the newest cars and clothes, similar to what is seen in music videos. The focus on material things makes it seem that it is more acceptable to seek these things than focus on getting a higher education as a stepping stone to making steady money in the long run.   

Not all of today’s youth let hip-hop or their culture affect their chances of advancing in the workplace, but they are prone to conducting themselves in a less conservative manner than our workforce veterans.  There is definitely a generation gap between today’s youth and older generations, but is hip-hop the only factor that causes the gap in the workplace?

We live in a world today where social networking sites and other electronic communication, i.e. texting, is taking over how people express themselves.  Just like hip-hop, social media is an influential part of people’s lives.  The art of formal communication is becoming lost because people tend to text or Facebook a friend what their plans for the weekend are instead of calling.  Furthermore, today’s generation is so used to communicating electronically because it is faster than picking up the phone; and along with that comes “text language” such as “lol,” “u,” or “@.” 

Text language has been shown to affect young adults in the professional world.  Studies show that those who use text language have more of a hard time with formal written and spoken communication than those who do not use text language.  This poses a problem in interviews and at the office because older CEOs or decision makers do not converse in the same way as young adults nowadays.  Some people are able to hone those professional communications skills at work and leave the text language at home, but there is still a few who are not able to make the transition. 

 Many people learn at an early age how to dress for an interview, what a resume looks like, or how to conduct themselves at an interview and after they get a job.  However, some people are not able to rid themselves of their hip-hop influence or their dependency on electronic communication. Both factors are not by any means the only blame for the generational gap in the workplace, but they do play a role in the said gap. 

Tyesha is a recent graduate of Louisiana Tech University and currently a HR Coordinator / Recruiter Assistant at V Platinum Consulting

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