Evaluating the Present Day Generation of Employees
As seen in the article “Best Places to Launch a Career” by Tanaka (2008), Generation Y workers value their employee benefits since this generation was among the hardest hit by the 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent recession that followed.
This was evidenced by this generation experiencing staggering degrees of underemployment, unemployment and severe student loan repayment resulting in a greater satisfaction with benefits as compared to older generations. The inherent problem though with Gen Y (Generation Y) workers is that studies such as those by Tanaka (2008) have revealed that among all the previous generations this generation is the most likely to leave a job for better opportunities (Tanaka, 67-81).
This is not to say that this generation can be considered self-centered or disloyal, rather, from their perspective loyalty is measured by their level of productivity and performance rather than sticking with a company for a prolonged period of time.
Thus, workplace loyalty has become a serious issue within the past few years when it comes to dealing with the present generation of workers (Tanaka, 67-81). Unlike Generation X and the Baby Boomer generation, the present generation of workers does not place a significant emphasis on stability and developing a long term relationship with a company, rather, they are driven more towards opportunities, benefits and incentive based methods of performance.
It is based on such factors that a company needs to take into consideration the changing face of workplace loyalty in order to make the appropriate type of hiring decisions and to understand the necessity of implementing new types of employee motivation and rewards practices in order to hire and retain this new generation of workers.
Motivation in the Workplace
Employees that lack sufficient motivation with their current position have been shown as being more likely to leave for “greener pastures” as compared to employees that have been sufficiently motivated by their company. This can come in the form of reward programs, company policies or varying degrees of empowerment that in effect encourage employees to work harder and stay longer at their jobs.
Based on various studies, it was determined that employee motivation played an important role in talent management practices due to its correlation in creating employees that are more motivated to work, more interested in their job and, as a result, stayed longer with their respective companies (Clark, 47-53).
Motivation is a crucial aspect of talent management since no matter how well a company develops its employees through a plethora of training programs and seminars, if said employees find little willingness to actually apply what they were taught in a productive and enthusiastic manner then the training itself would have been a useless venture.
The reason behind this is the fact that businesses do not operate within a vacuum and have to deal with an intense competitive environment on an almost daily basis.
To meet these challenges within their respective competitive environments companies often have to retain employees by offering certain benefits while at the same time institute costly training practices in order to improve performance. This is an important factor to take into consideration for companies since such programs increase employee performance levels.
Another interesting point that should be taken into consideration are the assumptions on what drives an employee to perform better. This comes in the form of varying models which emphasize that most individuals are driven towards intrinsic rewards and need such rewards in order to work better. Such models of behavior are important facilitators in understanding employee behaviors and, as such, are important in the creation of new policies and strategies in boosting employee performance.
For example, when using such models of behavior a company may employ a rewards program for efficiency and productivity in order to encourage all employees to work harder as a result. From a certain perspective it can be stated that motivation initiates, directs and sustains an employee’s performance to the job they are accomplishing.
When examining this particular aspect it becomes obvious that all employees need some form of motivating factor in order to work harder, without this there is no incentive to improve one’s performance. For example, if a company does not have any means of motivating its employees to work harder it is unlikely that their performance will improve and thus is an ineffective method of managing an employee’s talents.
Addressing the Issue of Worker Loyalty
Based on the information that has been presented so far, it can be deduced that some form of incentive is needed in order to create not only motivation among employees but loyalty towards the company as well.
Top benefits usually offered by companies within the Fortune 100 for Gen Y workers come in the form of the following:
- 100% employer paid healthcare premiums as seen in the case of Whole foods
- Compressed Workweek, Telecommuting, and Christmas coupons as seen in the case of Wegman’s
- Finally other benefits which focus on the work-life balance, which is important to employees, come in the form of on-site childcare centers, subsidized gym membership as well as fully paid sabbaticals.
Studies such as those by Clark (2007 ) reveal that one of the qualities that increase the loyalty of individuals from Gen Y for particular types of jobs are the inherent flexibilities found within a given position (Clark, 47-53). The concept of flexibility can range from the scheduling and time off policies that are in place within the company to the way in which a job allows its employees to be creative with what they do instead of following rigid corporate policies (Clark, 47-53).
What you have to understand is that compared to previous generations, Gen Y places a higher level of importance on the concept of the work-life balance wherein each aspect compliments the other.
By presenting potential employees with the opportunity to personally adjust their schedules within a reasonable level as well as allow them an appropriate level of freedom in taking time off due to various obligations involving their personal life, this results in a greater level of employee retention as compared to setting a rigid corporate policy.
Lastly, another standard benefit that is often given to members of Gen Y comes in the form of fully paid advanced training for their particular positions. This can come in the form of management classes, technical courses and an assortment of other educational opportunities that are fully paid for by the company.
By providing this particular benefits, companies are not only able to improve the quality of their workers but are able to provide the much desired opportunities for advancement that members of Gen Y constantly seek (Clark and Roberts, 507-525). One benefit that has been growing in prominence as of late is the use of social networking devices within the workplace.
It has been acknowledged by various companies that due to the way in which Gen Y has developed, this has resulted in the need to be constantly connected to their peers via social networking and, as such, it has been increasingly allowed by companies that their employees can chat or message online, albeit to a limited degree and within a certain set of boundaries (Clark and Roberts, 507-525).
Based on what has been presented so far it can be seen that individuals who are part of Gen Y value the following:
- The ability to choose their own schedule.
- Be allowed a certain degree of flexibility within the work place when it comes the manner in which they work.
- The ability to properly balance their work and life.
- Lastly, they place a greater degree of importance on the concepts of opportunity and performance.
When taking such factors into consideration, it becomes apparent that in order to properly motivate and increase the loyalty of this particular generation of workers, the strategy a company must pursue should be in line with the aforementioned factors.
Based on an examination of the pertinent points above, it is the recommendation of the writer that the following benefits be applied by a company in order to increase employee motivation and loyalty:
- Establish a performance driven method of quick advancement within the company.
- Create a workplace environment that is flexible to the needs and attitudes of workers.
- Allow some Degree of Social Networking.
Clark, Ann D. “The New Reality: Using Benefits To Attract And Retain Talent.” Employment Relations Today (Wiley) 34.3 (2007): 47-53. Business Source Premier. Web.
Clark, Leigh, and Sherry Roberts. “Employer’S Use Of Social Networking Sites: A Socially Irresponsible Practice.” Journal Of Business Ethics 95.4 (2010): 507-525. Business Source Premier. Web.
Tanaka, James. “Best places to launch a career.” Business Week. (2008): 67-81. Print.