by Traci K and BrightMove Recruiting Software
Year after year, more of the youth belonging to Generation Y enter the workforce. As they research potential companies and employment options, questions are posed rivaling those of experience workers: what is the pay; where is the job located; what are the hours; what are the benefits? But with these questions, also comes a few nontraditional inquiries including concern over the type of work environment and company atmosphere as well as the relationships between colleagues. More specifically, what type of company extracurricular activities does the corporation participate in?
The ability to build relationships is a work environment attribute that has become ever so important to this newer generation. Not only do they want a job they enjoy along with a friendly atmosphere, they want to feel a sense of belonging. Create that feeling for the youth of your organization and increase the retention rate among your young professionals.
In one article, it is observed that “Younger employees place a premium value on a sense of ‘belonging.’ If they do not feel that they are truly part of the organization, they quickly become disengaged and begin to look for new work. If, on the other hand, they feel connected to others in the workplace, they have one more reason to work a little harder.”
A few years ago, Time Magazine put out an article about Generation Y workers that also said it well: “the line between work and home doesn’t really exist. They just want to spend their time in meaningful and useful ways, no matter where they are.” Bringing that sense of home to the workplace will require an effort by the employer. Offer opportunities for team-building in the form of organized activities. Set up things for after hours like softball teams or over lunch like a book club. Organize office events that are fun such as lunchtime team tailgates or “Smoothie Thursdays”. A cohesive workplace is one where employees work well as a team, thus team-oriented activities and events only work to foster that bonding and create team spirit. It’s a no-brainer, right?
Yet, many organizations are having difficulty making this adjustment. Traditional corporations don’t grasp the need to make necessary changes (or even attempt them), feeling they shouldn’t have to cater to a younger generation of workers that they feel are simply lazy or feel possess a somewhat now cliché “sense of entitlement”. The truth of the matter is, spending the time to implement a few small perks for the employees, will go a long way with all employees, not just the younger ones.
So order those team t-shirts with your company logo and find that sense of fun to incorporate into daily work life. A little effort will send a big message to workers: “This company cares about its employees”. The youth of your corporation (along with the rest of your workforce) and your retention rates will thank you for it.
Traci K. is an HR Professional and freelance writer based in the Midwest, specializing in recruitment and immigration. When she’s not improving unemployment, she keeps busy with her husband and four children.