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Feeling Alienated? How Big Companies Are Leaving Out Younger Generations

Is your corporation creating a revolving door for young talent? Are you using resources to recruit Gen Y just to watch them walk out the door in a few short months? Maybe Gen Y employees are lazy and lack loyalty, but more likely, you’re corporate policies are alienating young talent.

Is your corporation creating a revolving door for young talent? Are you using resources to recruit Gen Y just to watch them walk out the door in a few short months? Maybe Gen Y employees are lazy and lack loyalty, but more likely, you’re corporate policies are alienating young talent.

America is facing a workforce crisis, a shift like never before. In the next 20 years, 78 million Baby Boomers will retire. They represent 40% of the American workforce. By next year, Gen Y will outnumber Baby Boomers in the workforce. I think you get the picture; your corporation needs to attract, recruit and keep a younger generation of workers if you want to thrive in the future. And the future is now.

You can’t afford to let your organization age out. It’s time to stop alienating the younger generation of workers, and start making them feel welcomed.

THEY DON’T FEEL LIKE PART OF THE TEAM

Gen Y has always been part of a team. They were taken seriously by parents at a young age and had a say in family decisions. They worked on teams in school. They expect to be a part of a team at work. Probationary work periods that keep young employees from being an integrated part of the team from day one alienate them.

If Millennials aren’t part of the team from the start, they feel like cogs, hired just to fill a seat. They don’t feel trusted, and probably start looking for a new job. 67% of Gen Y admits that they’re already starting to think about their next job on the first day of a new job.

And as if that isn’t enough, Gen Z (1996-2009) is right on the heels of Gen Y (the oldest Zs turning 18 in 2014). Gen Z is likely entering the workforce with very little experience. You may need to teach them basic work ethics and office skills. But you need to do that by integrating them into a team quickly, not withholding them from the full experience.

If you want to keep the new employee that you just spent time and money to hire, create a welcoming environment from day one. Integrate them into teams and give them meaningful work from the start. Don’t make them feel like you expect them to leave, because then they will.

LACK OF FEEDBACK

Gen Y employees want regular feedback. Annual reviews may have worked in the past, but Gen Y expects to build a give and take relationship with their supervisors. They want to be in a continual conversation about how they are doing and where they can improve.

Limiting reviews to once a year leaves Gen Y employees feeling uncertain about their performance and alienated from the overall conversation about workflow and methods. They don’t want to find out three months later that they did something wrong; they want to know now so they can improve on it going forward. They can take criticism, as long as it’s delivered in a timely and respectful manner.

Gen Z needs a structured environment with clear guidelines on what they need to do to succeed. They expect to be guided by their supervisors. If you aren’t giving them regular feedback; they won’t be performing to their maximum potential. And they can achieve a lot in the right environment.

The need for constant feedback is part of the desire for collaboration and to be treated as equals in the work environment. Giving that feedback helps younger generations build relationships and learn from their supervisors; it helps them feel like an equal and important part of the team.

THEY FEEL PHYSICALLY ISOLATED

Remember your first cube? Millennials don’t want a first cube. They want to collaborate and work in an environment that facilitates conversation and breaks down the traditional silos. Don’t put Gen Y in the corner; and if you do, make it a nice corner.

Give your employees unstructured breaks. Allow them the opportunity to decide when they take time to relax at the office and when they dig in and produce. Structured break times are constricting and go against creating informal connections with other employees, which is how Gen Y and Gen Z were taught to learn in school.

YOUR TECHNOLOGY IS SLOWING THEM DOWN

If you haven’t seen the video of the baby who thinks the magazine is an iPad that doesn’t work, it’s time. The video should give you a pretty good idea about how the younger generations feel about your outdated computers that have them twiddling thumbs waiting for an Excel file to load. It doesn’t work. And they don’t want to work for a company that doesn’t value technology or give them the tools they need to get their jobs done efficiently.

The younger generations are tech savvy. Fifty percent of Gen Z have their own tablets and 100% are connected online for at least one hour per day. Technology means something different to the younger generation of employees, and they expect a lot from it.  If your technology can’t keep up with them, at the very least don’t let it slow them down.

If your corporation can’t provide updated technology, it might be time to consider a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. Gen Y expects their work technology will be as advanced as what they’re using at home, and if it’s not, they’ll want to provide it themselves.

If you aren’t creating a welcoming environment for new talent, you’re losing the talent war. You’re creating a landing pad from which young talent will grab some experience and then launch themselves into a new organization. Until your corporation understands how to on-board the younger generations  successfully, you’re at risk of aging out.

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