So you’re a manager of a firm that just hired a new crop of younger workers, smug with fresh degrees in hand, and now you have to motivate the Facebook generation. What do you do? You can search Google, but I already have, and most of the results are the same: useful perks, a salary that isn’t insultingly low, and meaningful work.
But at a certain point, those search results don’t mean anything. You can offer as many crazy perks as you want, eventually the talent will smell through your ruse and leave. And what does meaningful work mean, anyway? Some people thrive on project-based work; others prefer a steady stream of smaller (but no less important) tasks.
You should focus on your culture. Gen Y wants to learn, wants to work on projects that have an impact. Sitting down 9-5 and collecting a paycheck just isn’t going to cut it anymore because we realize that our world is ultra-competitive. An organization that isn’t challenging us or teaching us valuable skills can be interpreted as an obstacle, not a stepping-stone. If you employ Gen Yer’s, you need to ensure that whatever task you’ve assigned them will make that employee constructively uncomfortable. You should gently nudge them outside their comfort zone because that’s the way we learn.
Collecting a paycheck is nice, but if we’re not pushed, we will fall behind our peers, making it harder to land that next job.
Is this “enrichment expectation” unreasonable? Maybe, but put yourselves in our shoes. People don’t stay at companies for their whole lives anymore, and companies have globalized the talent search. Would you want to stay somewhere where you were treading water?