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The Enrichment Expectation.

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Category: Changing Demographics

So you’re a manager of a firm that just hired a new crop of younger workers, smug with fresh degrees in hand, and now you have to motivate the Facebook generation. What do you do? You can search Google, but I already have, and most of the results are the same: useful perks, a salary that isn’t insultingly low, and meaningful work.

But at a certain point, those search results don’t mean anything. You can offer as many crazy perks as you want, eventually the talent will smell through your ruse and leave. And what does meaningful work mean, anyway? Some people thrive on project-based work; others prefer a steady stream of smaller (but no less important) tasks.

You should focus on your culture. Gen Y wants to learn, wants to work on projects that have an impact. Sitting down 9-5 and collecting a paycheck just isn’t going to cut it anymore because we realize that our world is ultra-competitive. An organization that isn’t challenging us or teaching us valuable skills can be interpreted as an obstacle, not a stepping-stone. If you employ Gen Yer’s, you need to ensure that whatever task you’ve assigned them will make that employee constructively uncomfortable. You should gently nudge them outside their comfort zone because that’s the way we learn.

Collecting a paycheck is nice, but if we’re not pushed, we will fall behind our peers, making it harder to land that next job.

Is this “enrichment expectation” unreasonable? Maybe, but put yourselves in our shoes. People don’t stay at companies for their whole lives anymore, and companies have globalized the talent search. Would you want to stay somewhere where you were treading water?

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A Teachable Fit.

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Category: Professional Development

Is there a talent shortage?  If you’re looking for work, you may not believe it, but according to ManpowerGroup’s latest research, there is.  Nearly half of the employers we surveyed early this year say they’re struggling to fill key positions.

With unemployment still hovering around 8%, why is this happening?  The ManpowerGroup research tells us:

  • There simply aren’t enough people applying for the jobs.
  • Those who are applying don’t have the technical competencies necessary.
  • Many lack the soft skills and the work ethic.
  • And, most lack experience.

I will add a reason that employers are not listing — those who are hiring are getting too picky.  Because of the lengthy economic downturn, hiring managers got used to having (or at least thinking they had) many candidates from which to choose.  We keep waiting for that perfect person to come through the door.  But no one is perfect!

So think about hiring someone with a teachable fit:

  • What capabilities are essential to performing the job?
  • Which of these are teachable in an efficient way?
  • Is there adequate time and money to develop those capabilities in the candidate?
  • And do candidates have the capacity (both motivation and capability) to develop them?

I understand that training is expensive and training budgets have been cut.  I understand that we’ve been tightening belts for quite some time and we need workers to be productive immediately.  And you may be taking a risk by hiring the teachable fit.  But I firmly believe we need to make investments in our workforce to give them the skills they need to succeed — and so our companies can succeed as well.

By the way, individuals have to take responsibility, too.  We have to constantly keep our skills up-to-date to stay current with the rapidly changing technology and work practices. This is what is called “life-long learning” or continuing education, opportunities to enhance your workplace IQ. We have to foster a capacity and willingness to learn new things.  And we have to make the time-and-energy investment in order to get the return — that all-important job!

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Promote Success.

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Category: Changing Demographics

Download the video transcript.

Mr. Gray of Everett Smith Group believes mentors have a responsibility to continually challenge the young professionals they are advising. Follow-up with those advisees constantly to gather their feedback and better tailor your mentorship to their skills. If it becomes clear that they aren’t being challenged, raise your standards and help them reach those new objectives.

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