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Getting Your Unfair Share of the World’s Talent

Me Inc

Blog Series – Part 1 of 4

Every leader lists hiring great talent as a major initiative, but almost every company wrestles with how to make this a reality rather than an empty refrain.  Changing times make this an increasingly difficult task.  The key to competitive hiring in changing times is understanding your talent pool.

New Ideas Gen Y is Bringing with Them

  1. Me-Inc Mindset:  This is a free-agent generation.  They are willing to pay their dues if they’re learning and advancing, but will not be held back.
  2. Work-life Balance:  Especially important for Gen Y, who value flexibility in their lives.  This includes work schedules, telecommuting, home-office arrangements, and dress code.
  3. Social Conscience:  This generation expects to make a difference, and they want their employers to help them contribute as well.  According to the 2007 Volunteer IMPACT survey by Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, Gen Yers “prefer to work for companies that give them opportunities to contribute their talents to nonprofit organizations.”
  4. Demand for Feedback:  Gen Y expects feedback and validation often, and particularly values mentoring.

If you pick the right people and give them opportunity to spread their wings – and put compensation as a carrier behind it – you almost don’t have to manage them. – Jack Welch

Me, Inc.

Our employees are no longer our employees – they are entrepreneurs who choose to reside under our roof (or virtual umbrella).  It is a Me, Inc. world.

Generation Y:  born between 1977 and 1995
Baby Boomers have a tendency to think Generation Yers are fly-by-night, spoiled, and even hedonistic.  But consider that there are 79 million Gen Yers and they outnumber Baby Boomers, and that Fortune magazine predicts Gen Y may be the “most high-performing workforce” ever.   Boomers need a dose of Gen Yers energy, rather than burdening them with apathy.

Recently Decision Toolbox was working with a client who had identified an extremely talented young manager – a Gen Yer – whom she wanted to hire.  She was about to put this superstar candidate through a lengthy interview process.  The problem was this superstar was interviewing with three other companies as well as the client’s.  If the hiring manager had followed her standard practice – interviewing on Monday, reviewing on Tuesday, discussions with peers on Wednesday, and circling back with the candidate the following Monday- the candidate was certain to take another job offer.  Instead, we recommended that she send a text message immediately following the Monday interview that read:  “Thanks for your time.  We think you are a superstar and we want to make a place for you on our team.”

The manager continued to communicate with the candidate in this way, and ultimately, the superstar turned down a higher salary offer to join her team.  When asked why, the candidate replied:  “Not one of the other companies I interviewed with connected with me on this level.  They thought I was all about the money, and sure that’s part of it, but only a small part. There is so much more.”

As leaders, we tend to look at younger people as being less qualified, less dedicated, and less everything – all of which is a bad thing.  But let’s flip it – Gen Y will bring new thinking into your company.  Where Baby Boomers are just now accepting work-life balance, green planet, and technology, Gen Yers are already wired that way.  They were born with it.

So when managing or interviewing Gen Yers, remember their priorities and talk to them like a human being – “I know you have a  choice – I know you have options.  What would you like to know about me?”  Take a proactive lead and this will set you apart from the competition.

Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it…; Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine. – David Ogilvy

Next up:  Part 2 – Suitors and Sifters: Hiring by Design

Adapted from “The Bite Me School of Management” by Kim Shepherd, CEO, Decision Toolbox

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