Being the president and CEO of an HR consulting firm, I was recently asked some questions as to what calls for a competitive employment benefits package in this day and age. In respect to Generation Y entering the workforce, these were my answers to the questions:
Q: From your observations, what do you think attracts more job candidates?
A: With the Millennias gaining a foothold in the workforce today, it is necessary for organizations to recognize their current and cutting edge talents and retain them inside companies. They are looking for job enhancement opportunities or they will become restless and move on to another opportunity. I would not call this job hopping per se, but more allowing them to work independent, challenge their thinking and decision making skills so that they feel empowered to continue to grow their skills. It is all about them and less about being loyal to the organization. If they don’t feel like they are getting what they expect from a job, they will just leave it. Money and stability is not high on their priority list. Learning and growing their skills is key to their success today. Therefore, an employer must have a flexible schedule to offer challenging tasks for them and flexible work schedule. They want to come and go without the baggage and responsibilities that the baby boomers craved for in their work. Again, work life balance is very important to the Millennias and they will stay in a job as long as these personal points are filled.
Q: What are you proud to offer to your employees?
A: With that said, I offer a very flexible work environment that allows the Millennias to learn new tasks, come to work during a time that is established by them, leave after the projects are completed and challenge their thinking every step of the way. I provide a lot of autonomy for them to grow their skills. What I get in return is fresh, current thought-provoking thoughts, ideas and projects that are not mainstream and creative to my clients.
Communication is vital for everyday interactions—words are exchanged between others and body language and hand movements are in motion. However, what if a form of communication means respecting silence? Barbara Rogoff, author of The Cultural Nature of Human Development, focuses on three distinct cultures that either value silence (Japanese and Inuit) or questioning and participation (United States) in the classroom. Both approaches influence the outcome of one’s leadership, beginning in the classroom and later taking shape at the workplace. At a young age, we heighten our communication skills at school: we engage in group projects, we make friends in and outside of our selected classes, teachers encourage us to critically think and make our own decisions. When we examine communication in a cultural standpoint, we take into account what deems as significant to other cultures. Growing up in the United States, I’ve been taught to question everything and sometimes do feel awkward in times of silence.
An interesting connection to make between American culture and its uncomfortable feelings towards silence may be due to our individualistic ways: in order to succeed in life, we must ask questions in order to promote learning and knowledge, which therefore, puts us one step above the rest. Furthermore, western schooling appreciates participation and asking questions because it shows we are actively engaged in the subject and want to learn. We enjoy asking questions for the purpose of teaching others because it, subconsciously or not, puts us in a leadership position. We feel confident and have a sense of belonging—other aspects we as Americans hope to strive. This is the norm for our culture; we love competition and being the best at everything. Our school systems have taught us we need to surpass and excel our peers in mostly anything to succeed—whether it’s in academics, sports, music, arts, etc. Because we are ingrained in this cultural belief, how we learn in the classroom correlates with how we are as leaders in the workplace. Teachers use a more authoritarian style when teaching: they are at the front of the classroom, instructing the students; they make the decisions as to what to teach and what to do, but still encourage their students to think analytically. There is a definite hierarchy structure—the teacher being the most powerful and placed front and center in a classroom. We can see this hierarchy structure in companies: the CEO and executive management being place on top of the organizational chart and controlling the overall outcome of the business. Their employees look up to them to make decisions and them, being leaders encourage their employees to ask questions.
In retrospect, the Inuit community believes children gain wisdom and experience through observation; as they grow older, questions simply become a mundane habit. Like the Inuit community, the Japanese culture also finds speaking and asking questions to be a sign of immaturity. The Japanese community highly values listening and feels children grow from actively listening to others, rather than blatantly stating their opinions; they value silence because it allows them to respond with more thoughtful and meaningful answers. Japanese teachers take a more permissive approach when teaching—the students are the teachers, and the teacher sits silently observing the class. This form of teaching promotes a sense of inferiority and equality between students and teacher. This allows for the students to feel more comfortable and enables them to actually want to participate, perhaps insinuating a collaborative leadership style in the workplace. In respect to both forms of communication, one approach is not better than the other in regards to leadership outcome—appreciation and mutual acceptance for what is outside of one’s norm needs to be taken into account. With that said, which style promotes engagement in learning in your eyes— taking control and asking questions or observing and listening?
In the 50s to late 60s, most people never considered switching jobs—they enjoyed the stability and security of a steady income. Moving from job to job was certainly uncommon. Now, with the rise of the Millennials entering the workforce, job hopping is as frequent as ever and can be seen as the new “norm” according to Jeanne Meister, writer at Forbes. The main issue to address is how do companies keep these employees for more than a year?
When it comes to the Baby Boomer generation, we tend to think of the “American Dream;” a white picket fence in the suburbs, the housewife taking care of her daughter and son, the father driving a respectable automobile and providing for his family with a reputable career. Stability was essential. Stability means having a steady career and continuing to work at the same company with the potential of maintaining the same position. Back then, this was norm. Mostly everything was family oriented and providing for the family was a top priority.
Now with Millennials entering the workforce, the notion of stability is no longer present. Millennials contribute fresh eyes and perspectives to existing problems and issues. They are in tuned with current marketing trends, and may be more beneficial than their counter-parts, the Baby Boomers—who may be unable to work longer hours or follow through with physical work demands. In this day and age, media influences practically everything; something that is familiar for Millennials. For many Millennials, especially the fresh graduates, providing for a family in their lives today is not on their radar screen, allowing them to solely dedicate their lives to their profession. With that said, why wouldn’t you want to hire a Millennial?
This newer generation values flexibility, self fulfilling happiness, and having their ideas heard—a deadly combination for job hopping. In order to keep up with this new phenomenon, executive leaders and HR departments should re-engineer their recruitment strategies. After all, no one wants to lose a superstar employee with great ideas and innovation.
We would like to welcome our first guest blog by our friends at CPA Corporation! The team at CPA Corporation provides great and insightful tips on staying ahead of competitors. Small business owners should take note!
Today’s small business owner is confronted with new business problems and opportunities on a regular basis, but rarely do they have the time to investigate all the possible solutions and opportunities. We at CPA Corporation want to become a valuable resource for businesses to help them solve these problems and take advantage of the opportunities that exist.
In an effort to do this, we will be posting frequent Blog posts several times each month featuring our (Small Business Advisor Toolkit) SBA. These Blog entries will include among other things: Best Practice Checklists, Self Assessment Questionnaires and modifiable Templates.
These tools in our SBA portfolio will incorporate the latest ideas in areas as diverse as customer and supplier relationships, financial matters, employee and industrial relations, production processes and waste management. Using best practice checklists, businesses can borrow from the best current knowledge and modify it to suit their particular circumstances. Best practice questionnaires can provide a diagnosis of a businesses’ current situation and suggest a range of suggestions for improving their business practices.
In addition, business owners can use the modifiable policy documents we post to quickly create policies that will cover all the essential aspects of the process without incurring the cost or taking up the time required by developing them from scratch.
How important is it to have a clearly written Vision and Mission Statement for your Business?
Our first post discusses one of the most important elements of a business which is the businesses’ vision and mission statements. We have all heard of these documents, but rarely do we see small business owners take the time to memorialize their vision into a clearly stated document.
A businesses’ mission statement should represents a picture of where the business wants to be in the future. The statement should do two things:
- It should explain to customers and other stakeholders what the business does.
- It should be motivational and provide a shared sense of purpose. This helps to create a focus for the efforts of all the employees and managers.
To help you develop a mission statement that communicates to your customers and motivates your employees, we are offering the following white paper:
Now that summer is in full-swing, vacations and traveling are on the rise. Whether you’re hiking through the tropic forests of Costa Rica or site-seeing in the vibrant metropolis of Paris, build your communication skills while abroad and return to your job with new eyes and ideas!