Guest Blog: The Question Is: Y Work?
Richard Stephens. Co-founder, StaffShare / Owner, DirectionGroup. 16 May 2012
Clearly the Y generation want to work in different ways; BUT how does that impact on today's workplace and employers wanting to utilise the skills of this bright and technologically astute new generation?
The 'Y generation' (mainly free-thinking, common-sense, clutter-reducing folk born since the 1980's or thereabouts) is so very, very different from the baby boomers that make up the lion's share of company ownership and so called 'leadership' in the UK.
These ‘20-30 somethings’ demand a very different attitude in how they use their time and take a role in the workplace - they embrace mobility, want flexibility and think they deserve the destruction of the 9-5 culture their parents put up with. These are just first steps to the new and highly productive 'relational' world of work and life. Forget 'work life balance' it’s all about ‘live integration’ - a seamless, virtual connectivity between personal interest and action - they do not need offices, desks or perhaps other people and even clocks are questionable. They work and live in a mashed up existence, driven by the very same energy we have (or had) but use in a faster and more effective way than we ever thought possible….a way most of us over 50 simply cannot quite ‘get’.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) recently surveyed 4,364 university graduates from 75 countries about their ‘expectations of work’. Naturally the study embraced a wide and diverse range of personal and work-related factors covering loyalty, technology and problems between generational themes and views. The most interesting findings were about how this younger Y-Generation group see their relationship with work and the workplace: ‘Personal learning and development’ was the most essential benefit this group wanted from their employers. Next was ‘flexible working hours’.
Amazingly. ‘Financial rewards’ came in third!
52% stated ‘career progression’ as the main attraction wanted from their employer, ahead of ‘competitive salaries’ (second place with 44%).
Summary: this university group reflected the characteristics of many young people that want change to the way work is provided; good work-life balance consideration and strong diversity policies, but felt in most cases their employers failed to deliver on their expectations.
And why should we all and especially employers care? Well President Obama himself last year raised the really big answer and challenge for both employees and employers, starting with Washington office workers - "...it is not the time put in that matters.... but the results and return we get out!"
If today’s employers are to take maximum benefits from these Y assets then they need to listen, learn and loosen up the way they structure the workplace differently and trust young people to apply their knowledge and energy in ways they feel stimulated, happy and rewarded.
So let’s embrace this integrated world of change - 'Stop 'working'- start producing!'.
Is 2012 not the perfect year for employers and employees to actually rethink and remould the way we all relate ....and use or sell our time and talent to each other? Why can't work be more fun, more rewarding and far more efficient for everyone involved?
Or shall we just carry on doing the same old clocking in and clocking out that got us to where we are today - a society almost 'bank'rupt, with desperately low business confidence, rising unemployment, a broken public sector, a stagnant out of touch political system, uncompetitive domestic market over run by foreign goods and a high street that is fast withering from lack of interest! And I didn’t even mention the Euro crisis…whooops!
References and links:
All supporters of this theme should view StaffShare or join our 'Skill Exchange' Champions - a UK forum to open debate about many changing attitudes to work- search LinkedIn groups.Watch Y Gen video here: http://www.staffshare.com/riwvideos.phpGreat reference site here: Key findings pwc.com How to manage tomorrow’s people? It starts with deeply understanding their motivations, aspirations, expectations and values. As our 2011 survey shows, these are markedly different than today’s.
About Richard Stephens
Richard Stephens is owner and senior marketing consultant at DirectionGroup based in Berkshire. He is also one of the founders of StaffShare Limited, the social enterprise on-line secondment service, and an active member of the not for profit Skill Exchange UK (SkillX UK).