Young people in the workplace sometimes have different values and priorities than the older generation. They value time, technology and loyalty in different ways.
I am providing leadership consulting and executive coaching for the senior leadership team of a San Francisco Bay Area company. The CEO hopes to sell the company in the next one to three years. He has been totally transparent in sharing this information with his young workforce. He has little fear of his people leaving because they love his leadership and are steadfastly loyal to him.
How does loyalty show up among young workers in your organization?
The most significant changes for Gen Xers and Millennials are perspective involve time, technology and loyalty.
Different generations value time in distinct ways. For Boomers, time has always been something to invest in the future. They work hard and pride themselves on putting in 55+ hours a week, but they count on future rewards for their efforts. This payout does not always materialize as expected.
Gen Xers and Millennials regard time as something to control, just like money. In fact, to them, time has equal value. Some employers are realizing that time off is a satisfactory trade-off when they are not able to pay their younger employees higher salaries.
For younger workers, time itself is a currency, and they may not be willing to invest it in a career or job with uncertain dividends. In our current climate of job insecurity, layoffs and changing industries, any employment is potentially unstable. They may question the wisdom of putting in long hours..
Gen Xers and Millenials eagerly embrace technology. After all, they grew up using computers, beginning in preschool. When they interact with older colleagues who are confused and somewhat fearful of technology, a real role reversal often occurs.
Leaders need to combine the wisdom of experience and the technological savvy of youth to benefit all employees and the bottom line.
Gen Xers and Millenials have many reasons to question authority, rather than bow to it. They may not believe their leaders are telling the truth. They have seen plenty of lies from presidents, CEOs, legislators and even religious institutions, which bred skepticism. Advertising and media hype simply do not fly.
Instead, younger generations invest their loyalty and trust in individuals. They want to work for the right boss or they will change jobs.
The silent generation of mature workers and Boomers never had that luxury. Working for a disagreeable person was something you had to endure.
Company loyalty has gone out the window. Loyalty to an individual is now the No. 1 reason Gen Xers and Millenials stay at a job, especially during the first three years of employment.
Dissatisfaction with a boss is the No. 1 reason they quit. This upheaval in values is creating new priorities and business practices in America, and it puts pressure on managers to lead with both head and heart.