Attracting and Retaining Tomorrows Top Talent
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Kendra is majoring in Finance
in of one of the top universities in the United States. With one semester of
schooling to complete, Kendra spent the summer as an intern in one of the
leading high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. That company just made her an
offer for full-time employment after graduation, which Kendra will accept --
unless she gets the counter offer she’s hoping for, from one of the world’s most
prestigious management consulting firms.
Kendra is an example of “top
talent” – one of the best and the brightest of a new generation of workers who
are the future of your organization. Your ability to attract, retain and engage
the Kendras (and Kenneths) of this generation will, in a large part, determine
whether your organization will continue to thrive or must struggle to stay
competitive in the years ahead.
The best and brightest of Gen Y
are ready for you. Are you ready for them?
When I ask young workers what they most want from their
employers, these four categories (collaboration, relationships, feedback and
development, access to information) are always at the top of the list.
Want #1: Collaboration and teamwork. Gen Y comes
with a collaborative mindset, partly because they are the Facebook, Twitter,
YouTube, social-networking generation and accustomed to sharing ideas,
exchanging knowledge, and working collectively. They don’t want to work in
pyramid hierarchies, but rather in flatter, networked, flexible, and more
collaborative organizations. They would also prefer environments in which people
spend less time in separate offices and more time coming together to socialize
and work collectively.
Want #2: Great working relationships. Members of
this generation want leaders who will get to know them personally as well as
professionally and leaders who care about them as individuals. They want to
develop strong personal relationships with their peers as well. Millennials
thrive on social connections, and are more reluctant to leave companies where
they have friends. They see the workplace as a place where they mix and
interact. For them, work is about being with people, and that’s one reason they
might choose to work in a company, rather than as a solo entrepreneur. In short,
they want to be a member of a community.
Want #3: Frequent feedback and personal development. The
days of annual performance reviews are over. Or they will be shortly. Gen Y
employees want constant, informal assessment of how they are doing -- are they
doing it fast enough, are they hitting the mark? If possible, they want this
information on a daily basis. Not telling them how they are performing makes
them feel left in the dark, and they will most likely stop contributing or chose
to leave the organization.
Just make sure your feedback isn’t all about what they need
to improve. "Catch people doing things right" will become more than a leadership
mantra, it will be a necessity for this “everyone-gets-a-trophy” generation
whose abilities and achievements as children have been constantly reinforced.
Recognition, reward and appreciation from their managers will be paramount in
engagement and retention.
Gen-Y'ers also put great
store in education, and they want to be encouraged and supported to create
personal growth and development plans. They want the challenge and excitement of
getting on board and getting up to speed quickly. They want to build their
reputations within the company. The worst thing you can do is leave them sitting
around waiting for something to happen. Instead, give them a task or
responsibility they can own and offer a wide range of projects to work on.
Want #4: Access to information. These are the cyber
kids who grew up with the Internet, so speed and access to information is
something that they automatically expect. Computers have given this generation
the experience of always having information "at their fingertips," and they are
adept at using different data and technology to blend seemingly unrelated
elements when solving problems. To a Millennial, the idea of cascade
communication (where information flows through organizational levels, starting
at the top) seems like a quaint concept – and a completely ineffective business
There’s more you should know about them: They work to live,
not live to work. Younger employees want control of their time, whether it
involves organizationally structured arrangements such as flex-time, flex-place,
contractual work, or management philosophies and practices that stress results
over "face time." They're also looking for meaning in their lives, so is helping
new employees make a "values match" between their personal values and the
organization's vision/mission is key. As is letting individuals know
specifically how their work fits in and contributes to the goals of the
And forget about issuing orders. Millennials were raised to
express themselves, and their opinions were regularly sought in family
decision-making (especially when it came to buying and setting up the latest
technology). In organizations they want to be included in decisions that affect
them – not simply told to drink their milk and go to bed. Responding to this
generation’s demands for inclusion, one high-tech CEO observed, “There’s nothing
wrong with command and control leadership. It’s simply irrelevant in the
Competitive salaries and benefits? Of course they're part
of the equation. But as another executive told me, "If they come just for the
bucks, they'll leave for the bucks." Retaining Gen-Y'ers will depend more on
building their engagement – with challenging work, collaborative leadership, and
a nurturing environment – than it will on salary.
But isn’t that usually the
case with top talent?
About the Author
Kinsey Goman, Ph.D.is an international
Keynote speaker on collaborative leadership and the impact of
language in the workplace.
coach to executives to improve their leadership presence and
Leadership blogger for Forbes and author of "The Silent Language of
Leaders: How Body Language Can Help - or Hurt - How You Lead.”
Carol@CarolKinseyGoman.com Authors Google+
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2010-08-27 19:16:54 in Employee Articles