Recruiting And Retaining The Immediate Gratification Generation

Recruiting And Retaining The Immediate Gratification Generation

One may look at the title of this article and think it to be a slam on those born between 1983 and 2000. Being termed “Immediate Gratification Generation” appears to present one in a less than glamorous light. Rather, it is a title as well as a way of life. Different than the Traditionalists (born before 1945), Baby Boomers (1946-1964) or Generation X (1965-1980), those born from 1983-2000, and some even argue up to 2004, go by many names: the Immediate Gratification Generation, Millennials, and Generation Y. However, whatever the term of choice, this generation is changing not only the face of business but how we do business.

Loyalty in the eye of the Immediate Gratification Generation

Webster defines being loyal as a: faithful in allegiance to one’s lawful sovereign or government b: faithful to a private person to whom fidelity is due c: faithful to a cause, ideal, custom, institution, or product.

We as a society employ loyalty in many things we do throughout the day. We shop at the same grocery store. We buy gas from the same petroleum provider. We wear the same brand of jeans because they fit and are comfortable. We employ loyalty throughout many facets of our lives and up until recently, one could make that statement across all of the generations in the workforce. That is until the workforce was flooded by those of the Immediate Gratification Generation.

Disenchanted by the way their parents gave their work lives to a company, only to find the company can no longer pay the retiree’s benefits or the retirement fund has run dry, those in the Immediate Gratification Generation still bang the drum of loyalty but that loyalty is now to themselves. Quite often, it is seen as a character flaw that they do not look at loyalty the same way their parents did. However, loyalty is just the tip of the iceberg in the difference in how life, loyalty and the pursuit of happiness are viewed by an Immediate Gratification Generation employee.

New challenges for business leaders

Anyone can look out the window and see that times are changing. The mom and pop shops are gone, replaced with internet cafes; almost every restaurant offers wi-fi and a lounge to read, surf and eat. However, not only is the climate out the window changing but technology changes daily. While technology may redefine the world, the demographics of the employee cannot be ignored and actually requires a greater focus than that of technology. The manager of today must be able to keep an eye on technology but also be mindful of ever-changing employee. Millennial workers are more adaptable; require opportunities for autonomy, mastery and purpose in the tasks they complete; socially responsible, innovative and want to be on their way up the corporate ladder by their sixth month on the job. Studies have shown that these workers seek personal development, fun, social engagements and adapt quickly.

Social networking is my friend

The overall goal of any company in regard to recruitment is to attract top talent. A recent survey reflects that the workforce of Immediate Gratification Generation employees hovers around the 76 million person range. Of those 76 million persons, 75% use or have used social media to find and apply for a job. Unlike any other generation, this generation uses social networking, smart phones and internet sites in every aspect of their lives, including to job hunt. So skip the job board and if using a recruiting firm, you may as well write a blank check. One of the many things they will do before working for a company is use all of the social media tools to not only completely vet the company but also the recruiting firm used, if any. Posting jobs where the Immediate Gratification Generation frequent will attract more applicants than a hardcopy posting or a posting on a limited job board. Further using social media conveys to the potential employee that you are “hip”, “cool” and not afraid to change how you recruit to attract a different breed of worker.

Let’s face it, some jobs just aren’t sexy. So how do we turn a not so sexy job into something that will attract a individual in the Immediate Gratification Generation demographic? While we may not be able to have a chorus line prancing across the screen of the job posting…..ok with technology today, maybe we can….but we can make the job posting attractive to this demographic by emphasizing the values and social responsibilities employed by the company. Further, we should focus on the good work/life balance and strong diversity policies in place with the organization.

When recruiting on campus, keep the suits and gray beards back in the office. The Immediate Gratification generation is not impressed with these. They tend to be peer influenced. The company will be better suited (pardon the pun) sending a Millennial, a recent alumni or one fresh in his/her career. This person can more effectively convey the climate, atmosphere, values and overall culture of the organization from entrance-on-duty up through the ranks.

Now that you have me, here’s how to keep me

Along with the titles of this generation previously discussed, they are also referred to as “job hoppers”. To keep a job hopper from hopping, the organization must keep the attention of the employee. They frequently search for jobs that hold their attention and allow them to capitalize on their desire to work on a team and collaborate. They like to know that they have had an impact on the organization. Thus daily feedback is important. They expect respect, want to be asked for and will give their input. Mastery of a task is not enough. They want an opportunity to grow their skills and expect to be recognized for their extra effort. Once salary requirements are met, they do not look for financial rewards. Rewards come in the form of flexible work schedules; volunteering in the community; mentoring opportunities; a fun work environment; easy movement within the organization and open as well as honest communication.

We are not that different

When it comes to expressing loyalty, companies did not fare well with this generation. It is noted that those of the Immediate Gratification Generation have more loyalty to the soda they drink or the restaurant where they eat than the company for whom they work. However, when the wants, needs and expectations of this generation are met, they will stay with a company for the duration. Implementing programs that they are looking for, like a mentoring program, that establishes structure, stability, flexibility, and fun, will capitalize on the needed connection with an organization, thus producing better overall results. This goes a long way in the evolution of an important generation that will, have a major impact on business outcomes. Overall the way to attract and retain an individual born in the Millennial years is not all that different from how to attract or retain one from any of the generations. The similarity is communication. Every generation should demand feedback for the job they are doing; for the impact they have had on the company and for the ideas they have to improve productivity, efficiency and overall bottom-line. The difference……if these are not met, the Immediate Gratification Generation will find the company that does meet those needs.