Every time you hire, induct, train, or performance manage an employee you’re making a substantial investment in your business and building your asset base.

Gen Y’s look at their baby boomer parents and  wonder in amazement how they could give loyalty to corporations.  After all corporations can’t give loyalty back can they?  So Gen Y’s take a different approach. They operate as self contained units building career paths independently of the businesses that they work for.   They build social and business networks creating bridges that will provide them with opportunities into the future.   They seek new knowledge and skills and will happily work for businesses that provide them (before moving on).

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it is forecasted the Gen Y workers will, on average, hold 19 jobs during their lifetime. That’s one every 2-3 years.   Think of the implications for traditional HR models.  Retention strategies wont work, so employers are going to have to start thinking outside the square.

So what can employers do to mitigate risks associated with Gen Y workers?  What opportunities exist for those employers who proactively manage this demographic trend?    Well actually its not rocket science.

Start by focusing on recruitment and selection strategies and kill two birds with one stone.  If Gen Y’s are leaving one employer they will be looking to join another.  By clearly defining the nature of the positions you are looking to fill you will find well qualified candidates to match.  Well matched candidates will become productive more quickly.

Provide clearly documented job descriptions with measurable performance outcomes.   Gen Y’s like to know what is expected of them (don’t we all) and as an employer you need to establish robust performance management systems to monitor whether or not these outcomes are being achieved.   We call this a win-win.

If things don’t go well make sure you have clearly defined counselling, discipline and termination procedures in place and, critically, make sure your managers are trained on how to use them.    Managers who aren’t  trained to performance manage staff often accept mediocrity for fear of conflict.  Mediocrity equals low productivity, which in turn means low profitability and reduced shareholder value.

Finally you will have to change the way you think about exiting employees.  Whilst an employer’s natural reaction is often to express disappointment and frustration when a good young employee leaves, bite your tongue and put on a postive face.  Don’t burn bridges because you never know where your exiting employees will end up.    In a few years you will be glad you adopted this strategy when your “good young employee” is the decision maker at that new client you are pitching to.

CompliSpace provides a comprehensive on-line human resources program that can be quickly tailored to the needs of your business.   Our program includes recruitment & selection, induction, performance management and counselling, discipline & termination procedures that can be quickly enabled to mitigate the risks associated with Gen Y workers.