Realities Of A Changing WorkforceWritten By Matt Di Iorio
Article Date: 12-01-2004
Copyright (C) 2004 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
Loyalty among younger workers has shifted from employer to self.
Is it too much to expect employees to work a full day? What do “30-something” employees want more than money? How does this new generation, called “Busters” or “Xers” feel about training? About retirement? About the companies they work for?
In “What Younger Workers Want” on page 32, Marilyn Moats Kennedy provides intriguing answers to these questions and many others – and explains some of the reasons behind this new generation’s vastly different attitudes toward work, retirement, compensation, training, time off, and job security. If this subject is new to you, or if you haven’t yet considered the workplace and lifestyle characteristics of your younger employees, this would be a good time.
According to Jim Collins, best-selling author of “Good to Great,” people are not the key to your success; but having the right people in the right positions within your organization will certainly help. Recruiting and retaining the right people is essential, and to do that you’ll need to know more about them.
For example, according to Kennedy, people born during the 1970s value principles and satisfaction more than money. Their lifestyles come before work. And they feel no need to lead. While they are technically savvy, they often prefer to work alone or in small groups and care little what others think.
Before you “Boomers” born in the 40s and 50s begin questioning the “principle” in wanting more time off – something younger generations value greatly – consider that loyalty among these younger workers has shifted from employer to self.
Is it wrong to put self before employer? Is it bad to join a company with no thought of staying? The fact is, no matter how we qualify or characterize these changing values, they are a reality, and understanding and responding to these changes will be key to developing this industry’s workforce.
Imagine a dealership where a substantial percentage of your expenses are variable and tied directly to the revenue and margins your employees generate. That scenario isn’t only possible, it’s happening in automotive dealer service departments around the country.
Furthermore, indications are that employees born after the mid-60s are more likely to embrace a culture of performance-based compensation than those that preceded them, particularly if it results in more flex time. An outcome-driven, performance-based workforce is bound to be more productive and profitable than the traditional hourly model.
Younger generations are more independent and therefore, driven to a greater degree to meet their goals. This can be a healthy perspective, particularly when employee and organizational goals are aligned.
There is one major caveat to building the workforce of the future: Employers will be expected to provide more developmental opportunities in the future, including skills training and mentoring.
If you haven’t been asked for additional time off or extra vacation, brace yourself – it’s coming. Pre-Boomer or Boomer, these may be difficult concepts to grasp. Instead of asking, “Why can’t we get these people to work overtime?” the more critical questions may be:
Leaders that take the time to better understand and respond to changing employee expectations will enjoy a significant competitive advantage in recruiting, retaining and getting the most out of their workforce in the future.
Excerpted from December 2004 Construction Equipment Distribution.
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