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Retaining Gen Y

Pamela Young - Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Six key motivators for Gen Y talent

Australian employers must wise up if they want to retain emerging Gen Y talent.

The key to an effective retention strategy is to get inside the Gen Y headspace.  Money is important, of course, but research shows there is so much more that motivates this generation.  Companies that embrace these drivers will fare far better when it comes to achieving employee engagement and retention and these factors have a massive impact on the bottom line.

There are six key motivators for professional Gen Y’s:

1.   A desire to gain experience.  Same old, same old just doesn’t cut it any more and savvy employers use this to their advantage.  Mix up teams, come up with stretch assignments and give employees the opportunity to travel or at least work with colleagues in different offices.

2.  Finding meaning in work.  It’s very hard to keep motivated if we don’t know why we’re doing something. Gen Y’s in particular want to see the big picture, understand the business and project goals and see they have a valuable part to play.  Without this, it’s difficult to maintain motivation and engagement.

3.  Flexibility.  The grind of the 9 to 5 is so last century – Gen Y’s want to have some control over when and how they work. It makes commercial sense.  Employees become much more loyal and productive if they’re allowed to work this way.  Improving staff morale is always good for business and there are definite cost benefits to having flexible working patterns according to demand.

4.  Communication.  Tap into everyone’s natural desire to communicate.  Listen to your team and demonstrate your interest in them.  Find out what they’re thinking and then act on it.  Don’t forget to keep employees informed about what’s happening in their workplace.  Good news or bad, they should hear it in an appropriate manner not via the office grapevine.

5.  Giving back.  Gen Y is a generation with a conscience.  Employers who initiate social responsibility programs will be more attractive – but you have to walk the talk or company credibility will be zero.

6.  The right rewards.  Once you have established that your employees are paid an appropriate salary, you can move on from money.  Simply recognizing someone’s contribution in front of other employees can be extremely motivating for the individual concerned.  Sincerity is key though, be too free and easy with your compliments and they’ll lose currency.

The growthcurv Young Leaders for Diversity program is a stretching, experiential, program providing a wealth of opportunities for professional development and growth.
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