I am frequently asked whether the severe recession of the last few years and still very much with us will change the perceived attitudes and behaviors (e.g., optimism, neediness, “entitlement”) of Gen Y/Millennials.
Let’s go through a checklist of typical attributes of this large and fascinating generation. This checklist, which I compiled in 2006) still holds true and is still valuable for recruiting and retention efforts.
Demanding, confident, opinionated; expect to be heard, crave feedback.
Achievement-oriented – and want a roadmap upfront to preclude failure.
Like structure and clear rules – will want detailed descriptions of assignments and timetables for responsibilities and promotions.
Expect a great deal of attention, individual counseling, mentoring, feedback and regular performance reviews.
Accustomed to working in groups, teamwork and collaboration.
May be so collaborative and dependent on crowdsourcing that they are weak in independent and critical thinking and individual leadership.
Tend to be transparent about sharing information (including about compensation).
Expect use of the latest tech tools in order to reach them.
Despite their proclivity to job hop (as Gen X did), they are looking for security, stability, good retirement plans, health insurance and other benefits.
Extraordinary focus on work/life balance by both men and women – pursuit of flexibility without career sacrifice.
Need to see the value and relevance of their jobs clearly.
Want diverse experiences. Expect change.
Demonstrate a strong commitment to social responsibility. (Many have been happy with the opportunity to work in non-profits even for lower salaries – except for the inability to reduce education debt.)
Rely on parents for advice frequently - and some “helicopter parents” hover (or meddle with employers).
Behave as sophisticated consumers. They want to know more about employers, culture, what it’s really like to work there. They want more dialogue and are introspective about their choices.
Always have felt sought after and needed – until the current recession.
Have higher expectations than any generation before. (This is likely to have been shaken in the last few years.)
Do these characteristics and behaviors ring true to you?
What changes are you seeing since the deep recession and horrendous job market?
Please share your thoughts and opinions.
(c) Phyllis Weiss Haserot www.pdcounsel.com