I had an interesting chat today with a couple co-workers about the shifting paradigms in work that will be successful in the future. Let’s face it, the average job length for an employee is around 3 years, and amongst the younger generation (under 30 years old) its more like 2 years. How are employers going to keep their best young employees and keep them happy? Employers don’t want to replace them every couple of years, especially if they are bringing an art and creativity to their work that is hard to replace.
For the younger workforce, myself included, we are used to everything happening in an instant. We grew up with Facebook, Twitter, Instant Messenger, texting, the internet. With this, we will expect things in the workplace to change rapidly too. Fast promotions, fast raises, fast responses to our emails. I’m not implying that an employer needs to do these things to keep their best young employees, although it probably wouldn’t hurt!
What an employer does need to do is be open to giving the younger generation an amount of freedom that they are looking for. Let them be creative in their jobs and not have someone looking over their shoulder every minute. Look for ways that they can best use their strengths and abilities to make the company stronger. If that means organizing a company fundraiser or planning a walking group at 11 AM, by all means, let them do this!
Results Only Work Environment. Don’t just pay our younger generation for showing up to work 40 hours per week. Compensate them based off how much value they are providing for the company. You know which employees are the ones creating value in the workplace, and which ones are just putting in face time. Pay employees based on the results that they provide.
We are mobile. The younger generation is mobile. We have internet on our cell phones. We have laptops. We are constantly connected, never unplugged. How much money could your company save if you let your employees work from home, or from a coffeeshop, or dial in to meetings from the golf course? It doesn’t matter where you work if you are working in a ROWE. The only thing that matters is what you produce. Studies have shown that employees that do not work in the office each day are 40% more productive. 40%, that’s a lot! The younger generation is going to want this mobility and flexibility in their working lives. We work to live, not live to work.
If you want to separate yourself as an outstanding employer and draw very talented 20 somethings to your organization, start doing these things. The 9-5, benefits, and retirement package alone is not going to keep us with you longterm. By the way, we are the future of your organization.
Dan – 2/22/11