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Creating Staff Loyalty & Retention Amongst Gen Y

By Ian Elliot | 6 November 2014 |

Everyone understands the high cost of recruiting quality talent. But having made that investment, it appears that too few companies concentrate on innovative staff retention strategies and understand that Gen Y employees are a greater flight risk than any generation before them.

Below is a list of many of the characteristics that define Gen Y. If we don’t understand their psyche or traits that drive their employee choice, we are at risk of high turnover and the costs to business that extend well beyond just the recruitment costs.

A generation that is comfortable blending its personal life with business life, that has a level of confidence that they will always be able to find another/better job, that values self-improvement above salary, requires a level of nurturing beyond a quality competitive compensation package.

That’s one of the reasons that progressive companies regularly engage external 3rd party speakers to assist this group and others with development programs. Exposure to those who’ve ‘been there, done that’ inspires employees who appreciate that this type of learning is as much if not more, about helping them become better human beings than just more productive revenue generating units.

Gen Y in particular are quick to sniff out those employers who are trying to just make them more productive for self-interest versus those who are providing exposure to experiences that will improve their lives overall in an unselfish fashion.

Be they entrepreneurs who’ve succeeded or failed and succeeded, leaders who have skinned their knees on the way to leading, individuals who have faced and overcome adversity or adventurers who have achieved astonishing conquests, they inspire, educate and motivate Gen Y to replicate, reflect and improve. Gen Y appreciates those learnings and this helps cement loyalty.

Generation Y Characteristics

Meritocracy – a strong belief that the best will rise to the top.

Collegiality – A strong sense that teamwork will deliver superior outcomes

Differences – Are celebrated and appreciated. New thinking emerges

Blending – Work and personal life overlap. To some degree co-workers are ‘family’

Independence – A strong sense of their right to choose where, when, how and with whom they work.

Proud – They believe they are unique, special and deserving of admiration and respect

Confident – They don’t fear the future and have strong support networks if things should turn bad.

Realistic – They understand how business cycles vary and salary decreases and redundancy are expected and accepted outcomes

Adaptable – They are comfortable with change. It’s the new normal

Ian Elliot is the ex CEO of George Patterson and is a current Non exec Director of 3 public boards