We want more than just a paycheck, but why?
We want more than just a paycheck, but why?
Clock in, clock out, grab your paycheck, repeat, repeat. It should be that easy, right? Maybe, but today’s young professionals (YPs), whether that be millennials (Gen Y) or Gen Z, demand more from their jobs. The audacity, I know!
Since I’m speaking from first-hand millennial experience, hear me out. (*The word millennial makes me cringe a little, so I’m going to use YP in its place from here on out.)
YPs can be seen as entitled, wanting more while doing less work. That’s not what it is in most cases. As YPs, we do want more and are eager to do more work if we feel like it’s worth it. When we show up to work every day, we want more… More engagement, more value, more connection, more empowerment, more trust, more culture, more growth, more purpose! These are not impossible aspirations and don’t even have to be difficult, not by a long shot.
If your leadership team is intentional, emotionally intelligent, and willing to adapt to drive long-term results, you’re set up for success. If you’re stuck in old ways and unwilling to change, I’m sorry to tell you but your YPs will probably say, “See ya!”.
Build and nurture a strong workplace culture or your YPs will leave and find another job that fits their needs. Now, more than ever, we want jobs that give us a sense of purpose more than we want jobs that give us a big paycheck. Sure, if we can find both, sign us up!
Why should you care about fulfilling the needs of YPs? I’ll let the data do the talking here and point out that, according to Pew Research Center, millennials make up the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, so you’re going to have to deal with us even if you don’t want to (on behalf of all YPs, I’m sorry 😄). For those of you who would rather talk money… Gallup estimates that millennial turnover costs the U.S. $30.5 billion each year!
So, how can you build a strong culture that attracts and retains YPs?
1. Live out your organizational mission and values.
If you don’t have a mission statement or a defined set of values, that’s a good place to start. My organization, CoreCounts, has a free handout that can walk you through this process with ease (let me know if you want to get your hands on this). Once you have your defined mission and values laid out, put them on your website and relax. Just kidding! That’s only the first step…
You will also need to be intentional about creating a culture in which your employees live out your values and identify specific behaviors that drive your values. Your values should be aligned with your long-term vision of success, so don’t get caught up in a near-sighted view. This alignment allows all your employees to be on the same page, making it easier for you to take your organization where you want it to go.
As YPs, we LOVE being led by people who have a strong vision, are transparent, and have values we can get behind.
2. Be a little more flexible.
The pandemic forced us all to be flexible and the companies who have allowed this to continue are seeing the best results. If your hand is turning white from holding the leash so tight, it may be time to loosen up a bit.
Your YPs might work best from 4 am to 6 am or from 9 pm to midnight, but you require them to be in the office from 8 am to 5 pm every day. Your YPs might do their best work at home but you require them to always be on-site while working. You could be missing out on higher productivity and not even know it.
Offering a little more flexibility in work hours and location is becoming more popular and more of an expectation, not just a luxury as it used to be. I’m not saying you have to drop the leash completely but loosening your grip a little could be a smart move!
3. Focus on strengths, not weaknesses.
As important as it is to identify your weaknesses, it’s not necessarily the best use of your time to try turning weaknesses into strengths. YPs want to identify their strengths and capitalize on them, with the best chance of reaching their full potential. Professional growth/development is something YPs want more than ever so they can become their best self at work.
Provide a space for them to do this and your organization will reap the benefits, seeing happier and more fulfilled employees while also seeing better results.
4. Engage, engage, engage!
Your culture should have employees feeling engaged and plugged in, wanting to be present at work instead of just showing up. Creating an environment where YPs can feel emotionally and behaviorally connected to their job and organization will build the most engagement. This engagement makes employees feel a sense of ownership in the work they’re doing, naturally causing them to be more productive and produce better results.
On the other hand, if YPs or other employees are “checked out”, they are going to put minimal effort into their job, walking through the motions. When they’ve reached this point is when they’ll say, “See ya!”. Be intentional about engaging your YPs and see your retention rates soar.
To summarize… a few things are clear.
1) YPs are making their mark on the workforce, and they are not going anywhere.
2) Building and nurturing a strong culture in your organization is crucial if you want to attract and retain the best YPs and employees.
3) YPs want more than just a paycheck, they want purpose!