In a recent study by Abacus Data for the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations looking at political behaviours of Canadians aged 18 – 25, one of the findings was that, of the currently employed, only 20% would describe their job as rewarding or permanent.
I regularly hear employers say that our young people don’t want to work, there is no work ethic, and they are too much trouble to hire. My perspective is different because of my background in the forest industry and as an employment consultant.
The older workers, especially in the forest industry, got into it because the opportunity existed, they did not need a lot of education, and the money was good. The carrot was the security of the job and a pension at the end. Many were there solely for the money and many hated what they did, for years. The toll this takes on an individual is tremendous and some young people today grew up in these families and witnessed the destruction that it creates.
Many millennials do not see themselves being able to ever afford a house. Money is not their main focus. They want training, mentoring, to be challenged and rewarded for stepping up to the plate. The rewards they are after are not necessarily monetary, but opportunity and in some respects, to live for today. They also want to be recognized for the skills they bring to the table. Mentoring goes both ways, the older employees can also learn from them.
These are our future leaders and employees! The onus is on business owners and leaders to take the time to understand what drives their employees, regardless of age, and their needs in order to thrive and be an asset to the organization.
My experience through Rotary doing interviews and talking with youth is that given opportunity they will run circles around me, enthusiastically. Gearing your organizational development so that it can harness this potential power of the younger employee is crucial to effectively meeting the challenges of the future.
“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they stay”
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