Generation Y has a reputation for little company loyalty and poor job commitment. Clearly Generation Y have a shorter tenure in a job but the cause isn’t so much a lack of loyalty or commitment but a desire for variety, challenge, and change.
This high job mobility is not just a factor of being young, but also a factor of the new career expectations, today’s market opportunities and a solid job market created by these economic and demographic times. In other words don’t expect the Gen Y’s to “get over it” and settle down. We’re talking lifestyle not life stage.
The world for Generation Y has become incentivised. Customer loyalty is bought with frequent buyer programs, points, or discounts. And so is employee loyalty. By understanding and meeting their needs, and motivating through relevant reward and recognition strategies, retention can be heightened.
Mentoring is a great vehicle for values sharing and knowledge transfer. However rather than just the traditional “older manager mentors younger employee” set up, some reverse mentoring where the knowledge flows both ways. Let the older share experience and expertise while the younger can give insights into engaging with their generation and the new times.
While derided as fickle, self-focussed, and transient the reality is that they just reflect their times. Economic cycles come and go, jobs aren’t guaranteed, and profits are seemingly pre-eminent – so it is not an inherent selfishness but a response to the corporate realities. When managers step from behind the corporate image and build staff rapport and relate to individuals then loyalty and commitment from Gen Y can indeed be garnered.
Generational trends are not like a pendulum that swings back and forth. Their focus on; work/life balance, flexibility, flat structures, social environment, fun culture, and access to information reveals permanent priorities.
For Generation Y their employment matters to them and it is a major part of their life. However it is not their life – but rather it provides the funds to fuel their life. Therefore a career that allows them the opportunity to continue the other aspects of their life stage whether they be educational, social, spiritual, or entrepreneurial is highly attractive.
Gen Y generally has a strong relationship ethic. They are collaborative learners, enjoy working in teams, and thrive in a relaxed consensus-driven group.