Millennials: “I Am The Employer Of Choice.”

You’re Not the Boss of Me Now & You Won’t Be In 2012.

A recent national survey that examined the job search strategies and work attitudes of Millennials revealed the following results that should provide some insight and concern to business leaders and HR types.  Millennials are loosely defined as those between the ages of 17 & 34. I’m torn between wanting to slap the snot out of their selfish nostrils and figuring out how to help them trust.  More on trust later.  The genius and tragedy of Facebook and other social media sites is that once on board, people feel validated as an individual but in reality have become a product.

Are Millennials only born in America where there is an abundance of technology and work since without both, the ability to collectively provide some of these responses would be difficult at best?  Seriously!  Check that age demographic in the Middle-East, Europe (Germany not withstanding), or much of Asia and you’ll find staggering unemployment.  Want a job?  Here’s an RPG and an antigovernment banner.

  • 83% feel working independently or freelancing is a cornerstone of their career strategy.

“I work for the employer of choice; me.” Kids and a mortgage may change that, but creative compensation, flexible scheduling, performance management, and succession planning will be key retention drivers.  Succession planning may of particular importance through the leveraging cross functional assignments allowing for a sense of internal organizational “freelancing” and “independence.”

  • 56% of Millennials prefer a digital profile to the traditional resume.

What a bunch of narcissists. Most of these profiles are pretty slick.  We use clickresume, but there remain two issues.  First, the digital profile needs to be created, and maintained; and people are lazy.  Second, many company’s search & filtration systems don’t mesh with the various code that supports these profiles which makes candidate management tough.  Again, using a digital profile as a part of your internal succession plan would be beneficial for supporting a perceived need, and upgrading your succession planning process.

  • 40% indicate they are using social media to land jobs….

…and everything else. First, make sure your Social Media policy is instructive, not punitive; inclusive, not exclusive.  Understand that social media has changed how we find products & services, and how people find work.  We used to Google something when we wanted it.  Once you enter all your info into social media site X, companies buy that info and market their products in a highly targeted way.  The product now finds you on Facebook every time you sign on rather than you searching for it.  Smart companies target prospective employees in the same way.  If every time you sign on you see company X as being cool, innovative, etc., you’ll get interested.  LinkedIn has done a nice job with this, and the others will begin snapping up the better digital profile firms spoken to above.

  • 54% state that telecommuting is a critical part of their career goal & less than 13% want to work onsite at a company a majority of the time. Further, nearly 40% favor freelance work with the ability to choose projects employers and hours.

…and companies only want to pay you for 13% of your work. Balderdash! Seriously, I think the bigger issue here is distrust of institution rather that work-life balance, and working onsite, or off.  Don’t get me wrong, I think any company would be wise to minimize bricks and mortar or anything else that reduces fixed burden while embracing the technologies that allow it.  The companies that can create a culture of trust will succeed in recruiting and retaining top talent.

Gen X, Y, Z, and Millennials do not trust institutions. They do not trust the institution of marriage after seeing their parent divorce, re-marry, and divorce once again.  They do not trust the institution of government because of polarized parties, and abuses of power on all sides.  Many do not trust the institution of religion as they tend to have more personal, and less structured relationships with their higher powers.  Many do not trust the institution employment as they have seen many that they know laid- off more than once.

On the other hand, most employers achieve success through a level of institutionalism arising from successful processes and systems which create valuable products and services.  My parents gave me only one piece of advice on the way to my first day of kindergarten, back in the 1960’s.

“Remember,” they said, “to have a friend you’ve got to be a friend.”

This was the only advice they gave me that day. Perhaps because I was left back a year in pre-school, and they thought that one piece of advice was all I could retain. Anyway, it is said that trust is comprised of the interaction and existence of these three components.

  1. The capacity for trusting. The capacity for trusting means that your total life experiences have developed your current capacity and willingness to risk trusting others.
  2. The perception of competence. The perception of competence is made up of your perception of your ability and the ability of others with whom you work to perform competently at whatever is needed in your current situation.
  3. The perception of intentions. The perception of intentions,  is your perception that the actions, words, direction, mission, or decisions are motivated by mutually-serving rather than self-serving motives.

In a culture of trust employees are likely to exhibit a positive relationship with all three components and to hold positive expectations about their coworkers and their actions.  So amongst all the day to day challenges of running a business or leading an HR function, you should be prepared to focus energy on developing a culture of trust


Posted on August 25, 2011, in Employee Engagement, Staffing & Talent Acquisition, Talent Management and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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