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What young workers want

 10 September 2018     Donald Cooper 

Young people from age 18 to 34 now represent 33% of the North American workforce. By 2020, that number will rise to 46%. One of the biggest challenges in many businesses today is how to engage, manage and retain a strong team of these young employees. We expect them to be like we were when we were their age – and they’re not.

They’re constantly reinventing themselves, trying to find their passions, do what they love, and lead fulfilling lives. A set schedule where they answer to a boss for every second of the day simply doesn’t match their reality.

Here are the results of a recent survey that shows what today’s young people expect in a job:

Money: They want to be rewarded in direct proportion to the value they deliver.

Flexible schedules: They expect to have some control over their work schedule.

Flexible location: (working partly from home) and some control over their work-space.

Marketable skills: They’re looking for opportunities to build skills and knowledge.

Access to decision makers: They want to start building relationships with managers, clients, customers and vendors.

Recognition: They want to know someone is keeping track and that they are scoring points.

The chance to prove themselves:  They want to know they’ll have an opportunity to prove their ability.

Some creativity: They want the opportunity for some creative expression in their job.

Then, when you add in another prediction that by the year 2020, 40% of the North American workforce will be freelance, contract or temp workers offering their services on an ‘as needed’ basis to a number of different employers, think of what your business will look like with that staffing model.

How will you adjust your business culture, your employment practices, employee training and your management style to thrive in this new reality?

Here’s something else to think about:
Do you have a ‘story’ that differentiates your business?
Every industry and every market is over-served and under-differentiated. There are too many other people selling what you sell. Do you have a story that clearly differentiates your business, makes you memorable and shows why you’re the clear ‘wise choice’ for your target customers?

Korean Airlines wanted to differentiate themselves through their in-flight meals in first class and business class. They went to work and created their own organic farm on an island off the south coast of Korea to produce high-quality vegetables and livestock. This gave them a wonderful ‘food quality’ story to tell.

We learn from stories. We remember stories. We connect with stories.  What’s your story – and how will you tell it? Do the work. First you have to be a story, then you have to tell your story.


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This HGO article was written by:
Donald Cooper
Donald Cooper

Donald Cooper has been both a world-class manufacturer and an award-winning retailer. Now, as a business speaker and coach he helps business owners and managers throughout the world to rethink, refocus and re-energize their business to create compelling customer value, clarity of purpose and long-term profitability.


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