New Expectations, Challenges
This model does not really fit the
way younger workers look at the world
and the workplace. Those dubbed “
Millennials,” or part of Generation Y, for
example, tend to expect immediate
feedback at work, a flat, organizational
structure, and career development based
on recognizable contributions to the
success of the business, not necessarily based on time served. Additionally,
younger workers operate in a digital environment where information is shared
broadly and instantaneously, not passed
down through a defined hierarchy. This
new crop of workers is collaborative and
team-oriented, and may take access to
technology for granted. Millennials’ use
of technology creates a seamless environment that mingles business information, communication with friends, and
MAKE IT WORTH THEIR WHILE
Another resource for companies that are seeking
to recruit and retain members of Generation Y is
“Keeping The Millennials: Why Companies Are Losing
Billions in Turnover to This Generation- and What
to Do About It.” In the book—which is available in
hardcover or for Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Android, and
other digital means—authors Joanne Sujansky and
Jan Ferri-Reed explore how to assimilate and keep
Generation Y employees in the workplace, emphasizing
the importance of developing an action plan. Five such
“action” items are detailed below:
1. RECRUITMENT. How much do you know about
your company’s reputation? Are you conveying that
the company is a “cool place to work,” one that
utilizes the latest technology? As with effective
management, engagement is key. Create a presence
at sporting events or college fraternities. Demonstrate
a genuine interest in learning what motivates this new wave of professionals and in
fostering an enriching environment where workers of all ages can add value to the
2. ONBOARDING: Bring newly hired Millennials into the fold as quickly as possible.
They tend to place great value on frequent communication, belonging, acceptance, and
contributing as a team.
3. TRAINING. It is essential to provide clear expectations and ample resources early
on and throughout their tenure at your company. Sujansky and Ferri-Reed assert that
this eager-to-learn generation expects interactive, dynamic, high-tech, hands-on
training. Because these multi-taskers typically can process information quickly, dry
lectures or protracted training regimens that take place in a traditional classroom
setting may bore them.
4. PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT. Be sure to offer feedback on a regular basis
and coaching opportunities throughout the performance management cycle. They are
accustomed to rapid responses to text messages, Facebook updates, tweets, and more.
Therefore frequent communication from leaders will be helpful. Pressed for time? Arrange
brief powwows or set an “open door” time period during which employees can ask
questions and raise concerns.
5. RETENTION. Listen to your Millennials. Make them feel that they are part of the team.
Aside from structure and leadership, managers must provide a positive, fun environment
in which they can volley ideas. Additionally, achieving a work-life balance is increasingly
important. Don’t expect them to put in 50+ hour workweeks as Boomers have for many
years. Today’s workers want flexibility in terms of scheduling and tend to embrace the “work
smarter, not harder” mantra.
When these individuals enter the
workforce—especially in non-glamorous
industries such as insurance—they often
find that their personal use and knowledge of technology goes beyond what
the organization currently provides or
accepts. The corporate structure, understandably concerned about issues of privacy, security, and compliance, may discourage or forbid the use of some types of
social media or mobile communications.
This may not sit well with younger workers who are contemplating a career in insurance.
Another problem for the industry is
what we call the “pipeline” approach to
recruitment and retention. Following this
philosophy, insurers recruit large num-
bers of employees to retain just a few who
ultimately stick with the business. They
do this rather than put the effort into
finding people with the kind of interest
and aptitudes who would make proficient
claims professionals in the first place.
While the chances of insurance turning
into a “glamour profession” in the next
few years are slim, there are some meaningful steps P&C insurers can take to address the coming claims talent shortage.
Communicate better. Insurance com-