Care and Treatment of Young Professionals
The events of the past two years have transported us all to what seems like a different planet, causing many of us to reconsider the very purpose of our lives – including why, how, where and with whom we work.
This is especially true for Millennials between the ages of 19 and 39 and their slightly older counterparts, Gen-X between 40 and 56. The need to attract, nurture and retain critical talent has never been more critical and has been discussed in all forms of media.
From Harvard Business Review: “Unsettled by the pandemic, workers…find themselves looking at our jobs with a new perspective. Do we really like the culture of our employers? Do we feel like we are being treated fairly and having the opportunities for advancement we want? »
According to LinkedIn: “Younger workers are more likely to sacrifice money to obtain a better work environment.” From the New York Times: “After the pandemic, a revolution in education and work awaits us.”
From Lorraine Jenne, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Green Mountain Human Resources Association, who recently said, “A tight labor market has given workers more clout…labour supporters see the beginning of an emboldened labor movement .
As a baby boomer who had the privilege of becoming a college professor after 25 years in private sector management, I learned through many mistakes how to attract, coach and retain high potential workers. Many of them were decades younger than me, so I was constantly learning.
And, I still am.
A millennial from Rutland who is a leader in our area recently wrote to me about this in confidence.
“Managers need to understand that my generation [prioritizes] family and better work/life balance,” she said. “Work is important, but nothing is more important than my health and happiness.”
Another millennial from Vermont enthusiastically cited her myriad personal and professional responsibilities. At a recent seminar sponsored by Rutland Young Professionals, she said, “There are thousands of ways to volunteer [but] always make sure the areas you agree to help are causes you love.
Vermont is not alone, of course, in rising to the challenge of attracting talented workers. I recently returned from a trip out West, and in small towns from Montana to Arizona there were many empty storefronts, “Help Wanted” signs, or “Closed Due to Shortage” notices. of staff”. I enjoyed friendly conversations with the young workers I met along the way and read dozens of articles about the labor shortage.
Here are several ideas and insights to consider for attracting, nurturing, and retaining talented employees, especially Gen X, Millennials, and the next generation, Gen Z (1997-2012).
Young professionals don’t just care about money. Diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives are high priorities for young professionals, and selective candidates are asking more probing questions about these and other issues than previous generations ever dared.
Other high priority employers should be prepared to discuss:
- Specific job descriptions and application processes – for example, detailing “…other duties assigned;”
- Opportunities for advancement and learning;
- Turnover rate and overtime expectations; Commitment to work/life balance;
- Opportunities to engage in civic activities
The State of Vermont and regional organizations have launched several ambitious initiatives to recruit and retain workers. Governor Scott’s “MOVE to Vermont” campaign has been updated and the Vermont State College system is strengthening its workforce development program. Additionally, there are positive daily updates about the influx of refugees into Vermont who want to live, work, and raise families here. The Rutland Chambers and Economic Development Office (CEDRR) has a strong concierge campaign. All are invaluable resources for employers who need to attract, mentor and develop essential workers.
Hiring managers should frequently check the online profiles of their high-potential employees as well as those of potential candidates. Professionals at all levels post their work, mission, vision and values - via LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Tik-Tok.
Asking candidates to provide in-depth creative or strategic presentations during a “job interview” is not acceptable.
It’s unfair to candidates and risky to a company’s reputation.
Workers of all ages expect a clearer delineation between their work roles and their private lives. The Covid quarantine has blurred these lines but has led to a growing demand for remote options. Many professionals have also generated consultancy work, increasing their current salaries and skills to become more competitive.
Job-hopping is no longer the plague of CVs that it used to be. Workers are encouraged to formulate an exit strategy for each job, as if it were a consulting assignment. In doing so, they glean insights and competitive insights they can use as leverage — in performance reviews, talks about raises, and other perks.
Any phrase that begins with “…when I was new to the corporate world, we were expected to…” marks a leader as disconnected. For Millennials and Generation Z, such pontifications signal a lack of respect for the myriad responsibilities they have outside of work.
It is crucial to set clear expectations for internships or volunteer positions. Young professionals appreciate opportunities to contribute, but they do not respond favorably to requests to work the same hours as paid staff or with the same sense of urgency.
When workers at any level leave an organization, they expect managers and co-workers to be respectful. Baby boomers sometimes forget that social media is a viral beast 365 days, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even an email containing the slightest trace of vitriol towards its recipient has the potential to resurface.
To attract, nurture and retain valuable talent, seasoned leaders – whether they are CEOs, small business owners, nonprofit directors, educators or retired advocates – must understand, value and respect all their colleagues.
Tactics such as lecturing, berating, or preaching about “…when I was starting…” are no longer acceptable. In fact, for some young professionals, it’s literally ancient history – on a completely different planet than the one we all inhabit now.
Liz DiMarco Weinmann, MBA, is director and owner of Rutland-based Liz DiMarco Weinmann Consulting, L3C, serving charitable and educational institutions, lizdimarcoweinmann.com.