It has been well documented that generation Y and the upcoming Z, or Net generation, need to be thanked for a job well done.
We know they need flexible work environments and that they have a thirst for knowledge and timely feedback – but then again, who doesn’t? These are not generation-specific requirements. We need to also consider and change the continued negative picture painted about Gen Y and Z, that they ‘take and take, then walk if they don’t get their own way’. I’ve employed marvellous Gen Y people, and watched them develop and contribute greatly to their organisations. We understand what makes all generations tick; it should be communicated in a manner that is pro-active.
Throughout my career as a HR professional, having introduced scores of people to organisations and interviewed them on their exit, this checklist of needs remains constant no matter the year an employee was born. Money, flexibility, reward and recognition, career progression, training, strong leadership, and learning and development are all constant requirements for existing employees – and the lack of them are resounding reasons for departure.
A tech-savvy generation
Recruitment strategies also suffer from generational hype like social media. However, the fundamentals of recruiting the right person for the right job at the right time never change no matter the medium used. Social media is simply another method of getting information about an employer out to the masses – I am yet to be convinced it delivers in terms of applications that transcend to actual employment.
Further, if “tech-savvy” is an essential criterion for employment, it needs to be clearly defined. If it means being able to use smart phones and tablets, download apps and have advanced search-engine skills, then the general consensus is that candidates are tech-savvy. But I’ve interviewed “tech-savvy” applicants and many were unable to meet these basic requirements such as Outlook, Excel, and Word.
My view of recruitment has nothing to do with “tech-savvy” abilities and everything to do with understanding basic business/employment arrangements and a commitment to those arrangements. It appears that there is a fundamental flaw (generally), in terms of understanding employment arrangement obligations. As an example: the requirement to give notice. I am sure many employers have experienced employees that are absolutely horrified when they are held accountable. This lack of commitment or care to one’s obligations is increasing and very concerning. We spend copious amounts of time counselling on career objectives but we don’t cover essential practices.
There needs to be a shift of focus to instilling common sense, commitment and basic principles in all employees. It would also appear that the fundamentals of basic workforce planning are fading amid the plethora of information. No matter the length of time spent in a job ethics, commitment, accountability and the ability to do a job and do it well should never be compromised, no matter what year one was born. All employees should be rewarded, recognised and given feedback and training on a consistent basis.
With the ever increasing diverse workforce, strategies for recruitment and retention must be dynamic and flexible, but the basics of workforce planning and resourcing remain the same – taking into account the needs of employers and employees alike. No matter what generation an employee was born into if he/she fits the requirements of a vacancy, hire them and be creative with retention methods. We must move away from running a business based on trying to meet the needs of a generation described by trait and hype.