Ingrid Kast, CEO at DAV - September 2008
Have you looked at the age demographic of your staff recently? When I did, I found to my surprise that 95% of DAV people are Xers (born 1960s - 1980s) and Yers (1980s - 2000s). The vast majority of our candidates are in these age groups too.
People are individuals, but cultural and technical influences shape every generation differently, now more than ever before. The younger generations bring fresh attitudes and new expectations to all areas of their lives, which are very different to those of the generations before them. We as leaders want to understand how to maximise their strengths. We want to bridge the gap, find common values, a common purpose, and create a common culture that connects us all.
The younger generations bring fresh attitudes and new expectations to all areas of their lives, which are very different to those of the generations before them. We as leaders want to understand how to maximise their strengths.
Baby Boomers, like me (born 1940s - 1960s), feel they have to ‘pay their dues’. Xers and Yers are much more confident and demanding. They believe in their worth and want to feel continuously inspired.
To them, work / life balance is a right, not a privilege and they want flexibility in terms of hours spent at work. Working faster and better than anyone else is their ambition, but they don’t want work to be their lives. They are best motivated by rewards based on the 4 F’s - Family, Friends, Fun and Flexibility. They place enormous value on self-fulfillment and want to have a clear understanding of their role and purpose
Futurists predict that Xers will change jobs 5 times and Yers 10 times - the latter will also completely change their career direction once a decade. Yet they are deeply committed to their work, have loyalty for their team and their immediate boss and love to make a difference. Let’s talk to them continuously about their plans so we can hang on to these talented people
Futurists predict that Xers will change jobs 5 times and Yers 10 times - the latter will also completely change their career direction once a decade.
Xers are independent, resilient, and work well in multi-cultural settings. What can you do to enthuse them? Provide training! They are extremely eager to learn new skills, because they want to advance and, very importantly, stay employable. They also need to see how their work benefits organisations and people directly.
And what will keep your Yers happy? They love hands-on mentoring, and respond well to personal attention. Offer them a variety of innovative and interactive skills-gain and skills-transfer opportunities - this will excite them. Crucial for keeping these young employees is a work environment that is not bureaucratic and stifling to their creativity. They flourish in an environment that encourages courtesy, kindness and respect. High-energy brainstorming sessions that allow entrepreneurial spirit, ignite their imagination and offer the challenge of problem-solving will have them sparkling.
The new generations are not only our future they are exciting and inspirational to work with. As much as they need our wisdom and transfer of knowledge, they in turn, can be the motor of innovation.
K - KK