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Hey boss: Your Gen Y staff probably hate you – here are five things you should do now to stop them quitting

Angry business lady

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.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and not of eFinancialCareers. If you would like to write about your own career, please send an idea to apac.editor@efinancialcareers.com.

Comments (6)

  1. This is precisely why bosses dont trust Gen Ys. Absolutely no loyalty but expects to be given first choice in everything, lousy attitude, spolit and mercenary.

  2. Your manager wants to tell you this, but is too shy and doesn’t want to hurt your feelings:

    1) I know you’re bright, but we don’t need section or platoon leaders here. We need privates and corporals to do the work, even if you’re from Harvard. You don’t become a platoon leader in 2 years, this isn’t the army.
    2) If you don’t want to wait for the promotion cycle, you could jump ship. In fact, you would jump ship anyway if you had a chance, only that you are bright enough after weighing the pros and cons and decided to stay on.
    3) This has changed for now. We try not to hire from outside, and would rather move employees within the bank. That’s why you’ve difficulty finding a job out there.
    4) I never assumed you would stay. You can move anytime you want, even go today. Noone is irreplaceable, not even the CEO, let alone you or me.
    5) I do listen to your opinions, however, they lack so much depth and understanding of realities, I have learnt to block them off. Sorry the truth hurts, but get real, you’ve a lot to learn kid.

  3. I think Senior VP has nailed that. Toughen up kid.

  4. Totally agree with Senior VP. In fact, this article lack any depth to begin with. What do expect kid? Instant gratifications in whatever you do? Wake up.

  5. 1. These incumbents are my friends are you are not. You have to understand that there are working horses and racing horses. And you are a working horse.

    2. I only tell you this to keep you on board because somebody must do the work. But as long as you are not my friend you will NEVER EVER get promoted. Especially if you keep asking. And you will never be my friend.

    3. You are not my buddy so I rather hire a trained monkey to fill that opportunity than you.

    4. I try to keep you in the company with empty promises because somebody needs to do the work whilst my buddies get promoted. But I assume you WILL leave at some point, the general expectancy for your position is 2 years, give or take a few months. After that we will hire somebody else and the cycle repeats itself. That is why we have so many procedures for everything, because the staff turnover is so high.

    5. I listen to your opinion, pretend to write it all down and discuss with HR. If I pretend to notice and be the warm-hearted manager you will probably stay a bit longer in anticipation for me to help you. Of course I will never do that since do not care, I want somebody to do the work and no more.

  6. 1) It doesn’t take a special talent to do well with a good leader and role model to guide him. It takes talent to rise to the top whilst overcoming adversity. Everyone can be brilliant once in their life. What effective managers value are employees who are consistently effective come hell or high water, not the flash in the pan. You seem to expect preferential treatment when you haven’t proven why you should be preferred over others. My incumbents have proven themselves over the long run despite being under the same conditions which you face. A little humility and respect from you for them is called for.

    2) If you have to be told how high you can go, you haven’t got what it takes. The cream always rises to the top.

    3) Money is a product of loyalty, not the other way around.

    4) You have less experience than others and give up merely because you think people aren’t listening. Need I say more?

    5) You are loyal if your manager mentors you and builds you up. You want to be on a winning team. Wouldn’t anyone? How is that more special and worthy than all the other generations of workers?

    6) You want good leaders, role models, teachers, mentors and coaches. Ring a bell? You are now in the working world, not still in school. Ask not what the Company can do for you but what you can do for the Company. The Company pays your salary. Enough said.

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