Skip to content

Archive for

Generation Y – Insights from “One of Them”

Today’s guest blog is courtesy of one of our summer interns, Jackie Dickson.  As the mother of two industrious Gen Y netizens,  I couldn’t agree more that a good work ethic and commitment to results aren’t the exclusive province of older employees.

I thought the blogosphere could use some positive insight from a Generation Y member, given the intense amount of Gen Y bashing and stereotyping going on lately. Generation Y, commonly referred to as Gen Y, Millennials, Echo Boomers and the Net Generation, represents the up-and-comers of the business world.

We are known for being coddled in upbringing and opinionated in the workplace. Do I sense some callousness towards my generation? I certainly do in news publications and blogs. However, I have never experienced this attitude from a coworker or teacher. I study public relations at one of the top communications schools in the country and I am in my second summer of interning for a global software company. In both areas of my professional development, I have been praised for my professionalism and creativity. (And no, I am not being coddled by my mentors.)

Not everyone is like me. I have seen members of my generation throw temper tantrums in class, dress inappropriately for work, and produce sub-par work while expecting praise. But more often, I see those like myself – Generation Y workers struggling through a poor economy and a bad stereotype, trying to replicate the success of older generations. I am inspired by those of generations past and present; those who climbed the business ladder and made a splash in the business world through hard work and persistence. In fact, that is exactly what I plan to do with myself once I graduate from college.

In the meantime, I am not sure if the stereotype of my generation is meant to deter me from pursuing jobs or cause potential employers to fear me. Maybe it is both. But the stereotype, though somewhat negative, also includes the clause that Gen Y is more open-minded than Gen X or the Baby Boomers. A recent Deloitte survey found that nearly a third of Baby Boomers cited a “lack of trust in leadership” as their top reason for leaving a company. My generation had the lowest percentage answer to the same question, with only 19 percent citing “lack of trust” as their top reason.

The same survey found 25 percent of Baby Boomers cited dissatisfaction with employment as a top reason for potentially leaving a job. Eleven percent of Gen Y members responded the same, making my generation, again, the least dissatisfied with employers, according to the survey. And keep in mind, Gen Y represents the newer and often lower level workers of the business world. My generation of “attitude-driven youngsters” seems to be very happy with its authority figures, who in turn, don’t seem so pleased with their bosses. Stereotypes are stereotypes but statistics are the facts. As more of us enter the workplace, you may find Gen Y is not as coddled and self-righteous as you thought.

And in case he’s reading,  this boomer loves her boss.

Avoiding Hiring Mistakes- and Recovering from Them

I’ve seen a recent flurry of articles about strategies to avoid bad hires, perhaps in response to those oft-cited disengaged employees deciding that the economy has recovered enough that they can take a chance on a new position.  In this blog post at  Fistful of Talent from Steve Boese, Jonathan Kaplan, founder and CEO of Pure Digital (creator of the Flipcam), is quoted saying “If you hire someone bad, fire them immediately and give them a big severance package so they feel good about you”.  At Zappos, call center employees are offered a $1,000 bonus if they choose to leave after their first week of training.

Steve’s post explores different termination scenarios in which he feels that paying severance is a reasonable strategy, excluding the case where the employee is not just a poor fit for the job from a skills perspective but also a behavioral perspective.  He rightfully assigns significant responsibility to the employer for not only poor screening and hiring decisions, but failures to onboard, coach and develop new employees.

I’ve blogged about this topic before.  It remains relevant because making good hiring decisions is both difficult and important.  Picking the right employees  requires a combination of clarity on the part of the hiring manager about what’s required for success in the job, an effective working relationship between the recruiter and hiring manager, and the use of appropriate screening mechanisms to objectively determine the right fit for the job.

It seems to me that some of the management omissions that lead to the need to let new hires go quickly are the same ones that create disengaged employees – failure to observe, develop and coach.  Depending on the survey you read, 30-50+ percent of employees say they are likely to change jobs in the next 12 months.  Paying attention to those smoke signals in your organization may not only help you retain your current talent, but improve your odds of holding on to those willing to join you in the future.

Retail Labor Index – June 2011

According to Chris Varvares, senior managing director and co-founder, Macroeconomic Advisers, “the Kronos Retail Labor Index was nearly unchanged in May at 3.5 percent and has remained between 3 percent and 4 percent for ten of the last eleven months. This range characterizes a relatively good hiring environment, with nearly 30 fresh applicants for each hire. Hiring did edge lower in May, but remained strong compared to year-ago levels. Retailers in the Kronos sample hired nearly 22 percent more workers in May 2011 than they did a year earlier.”