I was having a discussion with an associate about recruiting, managing and retention (you know, the usual stuff) when they said something that I thought summed the challenges that exist in all these realms in a very simple way. It went something like this:
Boomers – were happy with what they got
Gen Xers – worked for what they wanted
Gen Y’s – aren’t afraid to ask for what they want
Tweens – know what they want and just expect it!
As another associate said, “that’s profound!” and I believe it is. Don’t you hear and see these contradictory views every day? The head honcho who is probably a Boomer or Gen X’er expects young people to work as hard as they did and maintain the attitudes that you are just lucky to have a job or should work for what you want. While Gen Y’s are just coming out and asking for what Boomers and X’s spent so many years working for and Tweens, well, they just expect to get what you have.
Is there really a better way to describe the difference in expectations between generations? I don’t think so!
I also read an article this week that talked about how a recent study showed a direct line to your company’s success by the way that you treat your line staff or lowest level employees. The better they are treated and the more respected they feel the more business your company will get and the greater the potential for profits. That makes sense doesn’t it? But how many companies treat their line staff or the people at the bottom the best? Not many.
If we go back to the expectations of each generation it is easy to see why your people might not feel they are treated the best or with respect.
At the end of the day, a manager’s role is to get the best performance out of their people, right? How is the best way to accomplish this? By bending and breaking employees to do it “your way” or creating an environment where they feel they have some input in to the way things are done?
An expression comes to mind. What is the best way to stop a charging horse? Jump in front of him and try to stop him or jump on his back and steer him in the direction you want him to go?