As a septuagenarian friend of mine put it, history needs to re-written with times counted not as B.C. and A.D. anymore – but as B.G. and A.G. (standing respectively for Before Google and After Google). There are times when I go all blue wondering what I could have done differently with my life, if only I had access, during my student days, to things like Wikipedia, Google and Google Scholar! So, the green-eyed monster is hard to keep at bay when I look at today’s young generation or Gen-Y. Look at their parents (terrified of inflicting any lasting psychological trauma on them), their access to and comfort with groovy tech gadgets, and the works. Definitely, it is their access to knowledge at the tip of their fingers which really differentiates them high-flyers against the Gen X landlubbers! Would you believe me when I say I actually saw a Gen Y Googling a query as to how porcupines manage their romantic lives – and sure enough, got the response within a nanosecond: very carefully!
Many of the predictions, of future growth in contingent workforce, factor in the added infusion of many such Gen-Y candidates to the pool. Given the Gen-Yers’ amazing confidence levels (in part – thanks to their access to a vast amount of knowledge, whether deep or superficial), and their energy, enthusiasm and ambition, they are expected to love the autonomy provided by flex hours and the liberty to live life to the fullest, to travel between assignments and be their own boss. They are not expected to be ruffled at all by the idea of getting introduced as temps or consultants. On the contrary, they can take pride in their ability to handle their work-life balance better (or the ability to run a small business on the side) – thereby removing the stigma people generally associate with these labels and making them acceptable.
The Gen-Y’s attitude to work as a phase rather than a way of life means shorter tenures, which proves galling to any organization that values its workforce and wishes to have a longer term relation with them. Their refusal to be tied down has been directly correlated to the uncertainties of these times where competition is tremendous, job guarantees non-existent and loyalty not considered an inseparable part of the work-ethic. Organizations which have a strategy of hiring Gen-Yers may initially go the contractor/temp/temp-to-hire route during which time they could test the candidate’s suitability while instituting measures bound to engage the loyalty of the candidate and improve the chances of retention. Staffing experts recommend measures like mentoring, a clear growth/career path, offering tasks with a social/environmental bottom-line, incentives, state-of-the-art technology for use, training programs extending all the way to offering massages and yoga classes at work. They also want to be rewarded and recognized in the short term and will not be caught waiting around till retirement day!
Today, an incredible 75% of persons in the 18-24 bracket use online social networks while 57% of the 25-34 group do so. They value social interaction and growth and their addiction to networking online and penchant for flaunting the latest gizmos and smart phones makes them hands-on 24×7 employees. A word of caution though! Whoever is managing them had better be on guard to watch out against violating the stipulations on work hours and overtime pay rates.
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