I recently met a group of my ex-colleagues for supper and I realised that there were more alumni represented than people who still work at the firm.
You can imagine the conversation: we started with reminiscing about the happy and funny moments, but slowly somehow, it always turned to complaints and bitterness about missed opportunities and all the bad people who didn’t deserve promotions.
It is conversations like this that make me wish I could confront every head of HR and manager and tell them to wake up and rethink how they are managing the generation Y employees under their wings.
So here are five things that, boss, I would like you to know:
1) We are bright and would be absolutely passionate about our jobs if we had a good leader and role model to guide us. Stop underestimating us or always trying to play it safe by retaining incumbents who aren’t as good as us. We may mess up sometimes, but you haven’t given us a fighting chance to prove you right or wrong.
2) Stop saying that we should wait for the next promotion cycle. Show us in black and white what the plan ahead looks like for us. If you tell us how high we can go, we will jump. We aren’t afraid of hard work or long hours, but it’s pointless if it’s only the boot-licking crowd who always get their way. Meet us halfway: I dare you.
3) Stop hiring from outside. If there’s an internal opportunity for a bigger role, consider us first. Don’t be afraid to look bad. Let us go if we mess up, but at least let us.
4) Don’t assume we will always stay. We are constantly looking out and talking to our friends in other places. We know that the market pays much better than HR says we deserve. Money is the only thing we can look forward to if you aren’t going to give us anything in the frontline to fight for.
5) Actually listen if you ask for our opinions. If you wonder why meetings are so quiet, it is because nobody actually believes you will take to heart what we think. Don’t be afraid to hear us out. It is true that we don’t have as much experience under our belts as your other managers, but we can give you a different side of things.
I don’t mean to be rude, but I think managers need to be coaches more than politicians. We all want to be part of a winning team. We are absolutely loyal if you know how to build us. Take a risk and let us prove our worth; you may be pleasantly surprised.
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