By Daneal Charney
RISMEDIA, July 10, 2010—Retaining your Gen Yers and turning them into a productive asset requires a well thought-out strategy from the get-go. In 80% of organizations, morale dips in the first six months if expectations are not met.
Facts about Generation Y:
-Generation Y is twice as educated
-They are digitally-savvy and naturals at social media marketing/recruiting/collaboration
-They bring more work, volunteer experience and have more leadership training than previous generations.
What this all means is they come in with big expectations. Sure they have a lot to learn—but they also feel they have a lot to give.
If you have a Gen Y agent in your organization who expects to be the top agent in the first few months, it is crucial to manage their expectations from the get-go. Take this opportunity to teach any Gen Yers at your company everything you know and turn them into a valuable asset for your organization.
From blackboard to boardroom: how to make them a productive asset
Here are three ways to help your new grads quickly transition from blackboard to boardroom and become a productive asset.
Set expectations now
“I was most disappointed with the lack of guidance I got on what was possible and not possible.”
- Ivy League grad recruited by a top 100 company after six months in his new job
‘Contract’ with your new grads about their job outcomes and create a roadmap for the next six months. Encourage open conversation to compare their needs and what they offer to that of the business. Don’t be afraid to touch on long-term possibilities from the beginning. Translate organizational cultural norms for them—don’t expect them to know what is appropriate and what isn’t. Be sure to discuss your company’s dress code, the use of technology within the company as well as when to use a sick day.
Do 15 minute check-ins bi-weekly (especially during the first six months). Debrief their ‘highs’ to date, ‘lows’ to date, ‘issues’ to date and future plans. Take the pulse on how well you are utilizing their skills, knowledge and passions, as these are the leading motivators of Generation Y. See what your research shows, and if your employee feels underutilized, create some flexibility in their job for them to spend more time on committees, special projects, etc. that leverage their intellectual assets and passions.
Give them constructive feedback
Regular feedback is the best preventative medicine. Use online services such as Rypple to make feedback a seamless part of your team culture. This is a great forum to ask simple but powerful questions like ‘what is the one thing I could do to improve on this team?’ or ‘what is the one way I could develop as a leader?’
The investment in your high-potential Gen Yers has a high payoff—avoiding the costs of turnover while at the same time creating a pipeline of future leaders and enabling you to better leverage your Gen Y assets.
Daneal Charney is the founder of Leadership ReFramed. She is a prominent speaker on engaging and retaining Generation Y. Her book, Hitting Stryde: An Early Career Survival Guide contains 110 career shortcuts to help those early in their career succeed.
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