The baby boomer generation has been slowly retiring, leaving many organizations with vacant positions within their companies. HR professionals are now dealing with a new generation of workers during the recruiting process. These job seekers have high expectations entering the workforce. Since they also have demands different from older generations, it’s important to make sure your organization is prepared to at least meet them halfway.
A recent survey conducted by Knoll of 15,000 employees in 40 countries, across four generations, reported that within the next decade, the workplace will reverse its balance of employees. Rather than a workforce breakdown of 50 percent baby boomer employees and 25 percent Generation Y employees, it will transition to 25 percent baby boomers and 50 percent Generation Y workers.
A number of generational differences were uncovered by the survey, including the business structure of the workforce. Many other companies have conducted similar surveys, all concluding that Gen Y workers feel that being part of a workforce that makes them feel engaged, allows for social interaction and in some way benefits society are among the most important factors when looking for a job.
On the opposite end, Gen Y doesn’t feel that having meeting rooms in the workplace is especially important for them to get their work done. Instead, they are looking for an employer culture that blends personal and private life. This is completely opposite of baby boomers, who ranked office space as the No. 1 priority and view office space as a status marker. The baby boomer workplace was built on face-to-face interaction rather than social media and technology.
Changing the Workplace
It’s important for business leaders and managers to realize that they have control over the employer culture and how they run the company. So what can you and your organization do to appeal to the new generation of workers? Emergency Market blogger Eric Holdeman suggests implementing the following changes in the workplace in order to attract and retain talent:
- Don’t be ruled by the clock - Providing flexible work schedules, including the option to work from home and on the go is becoming the new trend among employers. Gen Y doesn’t see an office as a top priority in the workplace, so limiting them to a 9-to-5 desk job isn’t going to attract them or keep them in the job for long.
- Bring in mobile devices - Going along with the flexible workplace, businesses need to create policies regarding BYOD practices. Gen Y members do not want to work in a place that heavily restricts their personal and social interactions.
- Conduct routine evaluations - Although they won’t necessarily turn down a pay raise, Gen Y-ers aren’t as concerned with money as a reward for their efforts, unlike older generations. Instead, they are looking for employers to give continuous feedback. It’s important for them to know that their efforts aren’t going unnoticed and that their work is in some way, shape or form aligning with business goals.
As businesses continue to compete within national and international markets, they need to remember that virtual recruitment isn’t the only strategy to finding candidates. In order to perfect the job offer, HR professionals should be prepared to invest the time in developing an employer culture that new job seekers find attractive. Focusing on the above suggestions are only a few of the many ways organizations should expect to adapt their business to meet the demands of the new Generation Y workers.