Companies need to understand what motivates Generation Y workers if they want to retain them and grow them into new leadership roles. The problem is that companies are still treating them like older generations and are losing them to competitors. The average Gen Y employee leaves after two years of working. In the book, Happiness at Work: Maximizing Your Psychological Capital for Success, the authors unveiled new research by the iOpener Institute about this important demographic. They found that they are motivated to stay with their employer and are willing to actively recommend their company to friends based more on job fulfillment than pay. The survey of 18,000 Gen Y's uncovered that a belief in the firm's economic or social purpose, and pride in the organization and its work, had a strong correlation with staying at a company. The report also confirmed that there was no connection between retention and compensation. Here are five things you can do to help them achieve more fulfillment at work:
The biggest problem I see is that managers don't tell their Gen Y employees what they need to do in order to get ahead at work. They don't tell them what the criteria is for a promotion, how to obtain the skills they are going to need and show them the path to success. If you don't set expectations, then don't expect them to be with you very long. This year, companies are going to be aggressively stealing talent and you might just lose employees if you don't tell them what they need to do in order to advance.
Gen Y wants their managers to almost be their parents in the workplace. They were coddled when they were younger and parents have always played an important role in their lives. Some parents are even called "helicopter parents" because of their intense involvement. Obviously you aren't their parents, but you need to give them career advice so they feel like you care, like the company is investing in them and so they understand what it takes to get ahead.
Gen Y feels fulfilled when they know they are making a difference. When you introduce them to a project, explain what impact a positive result will have on the company (and even society). This way, they will feel like their performance is making a difference and they will work harder as a result. After they complete a project, sit down with them and explain how the result helped the company and then give them even bigger projects.
Gen Y's love the ability to network with people who can have a positive influence on their careers. In most companies, especially the larger ones, it's hard for them to gain access to executives because of their schedules and seniority. I recommend that you break down these barriers, flatten your hierarchy and create executive sponsorships. This way, Gen Y can feel like they are not only important to the company but that they have someone who can take their career to new heights.
They typically feel ignored at work because they are confined to a specific role and job title. If you want to engage them and make them want to stay at your company, you should allow them to pitch their business ideas to you. They might see problems and solutions that you don't! In general, companies need to better utilize their talent and extract ideas from their current database instead of just going outside for ideas.
Have you adjusted your strategy to accommodate for Gen Y workers? Why or why not?