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Inside the Mind of Generation Y: How Can We Attract Them?

Category: Pro-Opinion, Interview, Generation


In a previous blog post, I discussed the needs of Generation Y: they’re Skill Seekers, who want Productive Experiences, to be Short Term Sensations, Society Contributors and Collaborative Connectors. I’d now like to discuss how businesses and recruiters can go about using this to better attract Gen Y to their companies.

  • Make a positive contribution to society. And shout about it! To satisfy their need to be positive contributors to society, Gen Y want the companies they work for to do so too. Being financially successful is not enough. They want to know the company’s purpose. Why should they be interested in getting up every morning and contributing towards the business? What are the company’s ethical practices?

The fact is, although these efforts aren’t as well publicised as they could be, many companies are actively engaged in helping their communities and promoting ethical practices. Many companies do phenomenal work; changing consumer behaviour for the better, sharing their skills with the community and support charities, such as Publicis’s work with Dupaul helping young homeless people.

And this is not about doing things for the sake of it, rather it’s about communicating what is in the agencies DNA and actions, and bringing it to their prospective employees attention. Mindvalley, the online educational place based in Kuala Lumpa, has a vision to make KL one of the top 10 entrepreneurial cities in the world. As part of this vision they run monthly educational talks in their offices.  A helpful by-product of this is that it’s helped them to recruit talent from these events. If other businesses take heed, they too could soon be hosting some of the best and brightest young minds – and maybe even offering them a job.

  • Project, articulate, and live a culture! Articulating and living the culture is key to attracting them. Zappos, the American online retailer puts culture ahead of everything even their customers. They believe if they get the culture right everything else will follow. Agencies have strong vibrant cultures too. How can you enable potential new starters to experience your culture?
  • Be realistic on the question of loyalty. We bemoan their lack of loyalty, but do companies have any more loyalty to their employees than Gen Y do to them? If a business is lost people lose their jobs, if it is not quite working with an individual then they are out. We are lacking loyalty to each other, and need to recalibrate our expectations and think about how we can help turn them in to short-term sensations to benefit both parties.

Reid Hoffman, from LinkedIn suggests a ‘tour of duty’ to deal with this, where alignment is found between employee and company interests. And there are various types:

  • A rotational tour is not person-specific and is designed to enable a person to rotate around the business. Enabling both parties to assess their long term fit with each other. Google hire grads onto a structured 27-month tour, which allows 3 9-month rotations.
  • In contrast a transformational tour is where the employee will have the opportunity to transform both his career and the companies. It relies on the completion of a specific mission, negotiated between the employer and employee. It usually lasts around 2-5 years.

Gen Y customise all areas of their lives and want to customise the way they work too; no holiday policies like the kind practiced at Netflix and 7 Stars Media are great examples of this.

By understanding what Generation Y need we can tailor our offer to attract them by showing how we contribute positively to society, are willing to set them up to be sensational in their roles and giving them the flexibility they need.

In my next post we will talk about how to develop Generation Y.

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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