Jessica Miller-Merrell | , ,| By
Ah, the Generational Debate. Personally, the topic makes my head spin. I’m through with articles, blog posts, and webinars with the workplace generational fodder. Baby Boomers complain about Gen Xers who complain about Gen Y. All the while Gen Y is complaining about Boomers and vice versa with the Xers somewhere in between. The cycle seems to never end, but really it should. It really should and here’s why.
Baby Boomers & an Improving Economy
The world economy is improving. Spirits are lifting and the tides are changing in the marketplace for businesses and job seekers. Boomers, the largest generational group 79 million strong are once again beginning to plan their exit strategy and as the economy improves are considering the option of retirement. Researchers at Northeastern University are forecasting a global job seeker shortage in 2018. The job market will be totally flip flopped as job seekers are a hard to find commodity like never before. The experts have been forecasting a job seeker shortage for years as the Baby Boomers begin to retire. This news is not new. The recession put a momentary brake on the shortage but it’s a mathematical certainty.
The law of supply and demand tell us that when supply lessens, demand increases. The key in understanding how to use this law idea in the context of talent and management is to plan for the increase. In this case an increase in the demand for qualified workers in the future leveraging common retail business concepts of customer service, the personal touch, and flexibility.
Gen Y in the Workplace
But this post isn’t about economic forecasting and our upcoming job seeker shortage. It’s about Gen Y and a new approach to building relationships and living together in this planet we call Earth.
- Customer Service. As the group of experienced and business tested professionals (i.e. The Baby Boomers) exit or ease out of the work force, the back fill of as experienced candidates is not waiting in the wings. Like any competitive market or business environment, the key is to develop relationships as a recruiter, company, and agency with future talent through relationships both on and offline. Customers have choices and rarely fall into your lap without years of careful planning and behind the scenes effort. I know this first hand as I have been building and growing my consulting business full time for the last six months. Those first 1o years of relationship building have come in handy. Be nice to Gen Y. Get to know them. Take them to dinner. Learn to speak their language.Â Establish long term relationships through good old fashioned customer service.
- Personal Touch. People remember brands but people more importantly remember people. The human element is one thing that a logo or large corporation can never duplicate. A personal touch is essentially a consultant, company’s or recruiter’s product differentiation strategy. Start building those relationships now and begin establishing a loyal following for the future. Gen Y wants to see past a company’s logo. Promote your company’s employee events, philanthropy, and be transparent using social media, video, blogs, and other tools. Engage your audience and quickly respond to questions and provide assistance with expecting something in return. It’s called the Golden Rule.
- Flexibility. Simply put, “if you can’t be them–join them.” Companies need to quit focusing on how to change Gen Y and spend their time and money on establishing a dialogue, communication, and a network for the future of work. Otherwise these young savvy candidates have options and have no qualms about moving to greener pastures. Start establishing relationships now to build and establish personal relationships, credibility, and a pipeline of candidates by being quick on your feet, flexible, and willing to mold your methods to fit your audience, Gen Y who is also 79 million strong.
Even More on Gen Y in the Workforce
Interested in learning more about how recruiters and HR professionals view Gen Y in the workplace (of course you do)? Visit the Recruiting Inferno and check out the comment conversation on Steve Levy’s post, Who’s Afraid of Being Social? My good friend, Sherri Elliott-Yeary who is an HR whiz and generational expert breaks down the science and importance of recruiting and building cross-generational teams in her book, Ties to Tattoos. I highly recommend it!