Are you prepared to make Gen Y an offer it can't refuse?

Think back to when you landed your first “real” job. What was it about the job that made it so appealing? What is the ability to work in your chosen field? The fact that you had final “made it” as a grown up? Was your salary a factor in what made you happy or pushed you to accept the job?

If you are a Boomer or a Gen Xer, I bet the money part had a lot to do with it.

Thing is, the future leaders in business–Gen Y–don’t care as much about the money factor. While we’re all singing “Show me the money,” they’re asking, “What does this mean for the greater good?” and “Am I free to visit Facebook while I’m here?”

The Cisco Connected World Report (which surveyed 2,800 college students and young professionals under the age of 30) recently stated that one in three said he/she would prioritize social media freedom, device flexibility and work mobility over salary in accepting a job offer. Are you prepared to make those offers?

No longer defined by a job

For Boomers and even myself as an Xer, it was more common (and still is more common) to be defined by your work. “Oh, he’s a doctor.” or “She just made partner at the law firm,” are viewed as huge kudos.

Generation Y doesn’t care about labels. They do not want to be defined by a position, by their job. In fact, 64% of Millennials don’t even list their place of employment on their Facebook profiles (yet they average 16 colleagues as “friends” on the same site).

Just because you recruit for titles with “manager” or “executive” int he title doesn’t mean you’re going to win the hearts of this new generation of leaders. Titles don’t dress up the job–what’s behind it does. Companies must be prepared to show the goods instead of luring prospects in with shiny titles.

Make Millennials an offer they can’t refuse

Thinking that bump in pay will make up for long working weekends and a small vacation package? Think again. Remember, it’s not about the money.

The average Millennial will jump ship every two years looking for a job that is better. And what they define as “better” may not be what you’re thinking.

Gen Y wants to be assured you can offer flexibility with their work schedule. They want ample vacation time and the ability to work remotely. Oh, and they also want to be given free reign to check Facebook, send texts and communicate freely during the day over their social media channels.

Gen Y also has an unprecedented entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, “owner” is the fifth most popular job title for Gen-Y, according to Millennial Branding. If, as a company, you allow your young, future leaders to operate within this entrepreneurial spirit you’ll foster loyalty and growth for your employees and your organization. Give them latitude to control their time, to take part in meaningful activities.

Before you start the interview process, make sure you know your policies and have your answers established. There is nothing worse than hearing “that’s definitely something we can consider/talk about once you’re on board,” when interviewees ask a pointed question. Gen Y will call you on any kind of bait and switch, so don’t play that game. In fact, 64% of college students asks about social media usage policies during job interviews and approximately 24% says it would be a key factor in accepting (or not accepting) the offer. Know where you stand. Know what they expect.

Prepare before the offer

The next time you draw up that job offer or the job description you’re about to post online, think about this: Do the benefits you list ring true to the type of leaders you want (scratch that, you need) in your organization mesh with what those same future leaders are looking for?

Don’t make it an uphill battle. Understand the importance of developing your future leaders now and offer them incentives for being a part of the team. Make it about them and show you care; maybe then they’ll stick with you past that two-year mark.

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2 thoughts on “Are you prepared to make Gen Y an offer it can't refuse?”

  1. Melissa,

    I really appreciate the article you wrote on Millenials. As a Gen X guy, I really think this is going to become a bigger issue than most people realize.

    I did want to ask you. For most of your article, you state Milleniells don’t care about money, but in the last paragraph you suggest “Offering them incentives to be part of a team”. What kind of incentives are you suggesting? Assuming flexible work hours and social media options are already open.

    1. Hi Paul,
      Thanks for your comments! I agree, this can be an issue bigger than most people realize. Flexible work hours (and the ability to work remotely) can prove to be big incentives for Millennials, as you mention. Along with that is the ability to trust and let go of the micro-management of projects. I’ve found in working with Millennials on my own team that giving them responsibilities and allowing them to work without constant supervision is huge. If working remotely isn’t an option, another incentive could be additional vacation days for a job well done. Or, time off to volunteer for their favorite charity, to sit on a Board, etc. Even items such as subscriptions to a monthly industry magazine or covering the cost of continued education/conferences can go a long way with Millennials who are looking to keep learning and working through the ranks of their field.

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