Walking your talk

It’s no good saying what a great place your organisation is to work if a Google search then throws up a hate website, manned by disgruntled ex employees.  It’s no good talking about commitment to corporate social responsibility if you polluting a river, or using sweatshop labour in a third world country.

Workers want to ensure they are a cultural fit and aligned to the objectives of the organisation. The person who answers the phone, conducts the first interview, the look and feel of the office and staff in the office will all say something about your firm.

It is important that the recruitment and retention processes line up and that what a worker hears and sees through the multiple touch points they have with the organisation are consistent with what they will find as an employee. This is particularly pertinent for Y Genners. They want honesty and truth in what they are told. Don’t tell them how it will be – tell them how it actually is.

Gen Y employees will relate to a compelling vision, especially if you will take the time to ask them about their values and ambitions and show how the two are aligned. I think this equally applies to other generations and it is up to us as employers to give their work meaning. It is we who must create the psychological bond between employer and employee.

We also know that Y Generation expect and require a lot of feedback, and in a more personal way than either Baby Boomers or X Gen. Y Genners have received it from parents, teachers, nannies, music teachers and sports coaches. I often tell client managers that Baby Boomers created the Y Gen monster; they crave attention and recognition and now it is our job to give them that feedback in the workplace.  And they do not like negative feedback, so be prepared to take a less robust approach than you may have with a Baby Boomer.

A word of warning, however: if you ask for suggestions or comments, be prepared to listen. Y Gen will get tired of employers who pay lip service to their ideas. Workers join organisations and leave managers and it is fair to say that we have a way to go in developing leadership and helping your managers to cope.

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