Guest blogger: Professor Dr. Lee Meadows
The younger generation (or Generation Y) are coming into the job market with many different skill sets and a slightly different take on employee loyalty than their predecessors.
The Harvard Business Review explains that Gen Y’ers will want to be their own free agents, negotiating their own deals, seeking incentives and switching employers at a moment's notice. This ability to switch companies has caused a great deal of anxiety in the corporate world, especially among Baby Boomers who feel it is of the utmost importance to be loyal and pay dues to a single company.
Consequently, careers are no longer viewed as a single, perhaps, lifetime pursuit up a career ladder in one organization, but as stepping stone within a larger pond of opportunities.
The end result has flustered organizational leaders about the lack of loyalty to their employer, seemingly, non-existent, among the most recent generations of employees.
The loyalty to an organization is a secondary benefit that comes from having a primary focus on the skills, experience and education that blend together improving one’s ‘free-agency’ status and increasing the frequency in which career opportunities appear.
The dilemma for the organization is in deciding how much to invest in employees who see the experience as a stepping-stone as opposed to an entrenched commitment.
Yet this thought process has to, and is beginning to, change. Gen Y is starting to show more loyalty towards bosses. That's the verdict of several recruiters, who said the recent financial crisis has opened the eyes of many young workers to the value of sticking with one employer. Recruitment firm Hays NSW and ACT director, Grahame Doyle, said before the downturn Gen Y had a culture of entitlement and loyalty to employers was not important. But with Gen Y’ers losing jobs during the GFC (global financial crisis) on a first-come, first-go basis, many now realized loyalty was a two-way street, Doyle said. "During the GFC, Gen Y saw a lot of their own generation being made redundant," he said. "Coming off the back of that, they are being much more considerate about the decisions they make." Chandler McLeod professional and executive recruitment general manager, Peter Gleeson, said "I think Gen Y has realized it's a lot easier to be in a job than to get a job."