One of my latest columns focuses on what will likely be the corporate issue of 2008 – managing generational challenges in the workplace.
In the column, “Here we are now, entertain us,” I take a look at the unique attitudes that Gen-Connect is now starting to bring in to the workplace. There are several key observations from the article that are critical to understanding the future of the workforce:
- What is clear is that we are witnessing the death of the long-term career and corporate loyalty, which will soon be but a quaint memory from the previous century.
- I often tell the story of a young engineering graduate who turned down a job with an architectural firm because its 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. work hours conflicted with the time he expected to be carving arcs into deep powder in the mountains. It’s a real attitude, and it’s already happening around us. The challenge, when such trends are so patently obvious, is trying to figure out what to do about it. And a good part of the solution will come through the transformation of rewards and remuneration.
- Gen-connect has very little patience, particularly when it comes to being rewarded for good work or significant effort. These youngsters are used to instant rewards: their Xbox/Wii video-game-oriented world has them accomplishing a goal, moving up a level, and earning some points or other valuable form of currency that helps them accumulate additional armour, weapons or whatever else is needed to accomplish the game’s next challenge.
- That’s why, at a recent conference, I framed the issue of rewards transformation to an audience of financial professionals this way: “Organizations that can attract, engage, retain and amuse an increasingly complex workforce will be the ones who find success in the rapidly evolving global economy.”
- Put the emphasis on the word amuse. Today’s Gen Y doesn’t, and tomorrow’s Gen-connect certainly won’t, have any patience whatsoever for slow and steady career paths.