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October 2012
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Managing Generation Y? What Do They Want From You as Their Manager?

Posted by: Reena Jamnadas & Emma Trenier

 

It’s pitched as a strap line on the Association of Graduate Recruiters’ (AGR) website: Attracting and retaining the cream of the nation’s graduate talent is getting harder and you need all the help you can get”. And they are absolutely right.

 

The growing research about Generation Y echoes this, where today’s younger employees are achievement-oriented and hungry for challenge and meaning in their work. As organisations compete for available talent, employers cannot ignore the needs, desires and attitudes of this emerging generation.

 

Over a four month period, 1180 people took Capp’s online Ideal Manager Survey, where employees across all ages, genders and backgrounds answered questions about whether anyone can be a good manager.

 

Fascinatingly, the results reported by younger employees revealed specific strengths that they want most in their managers. These include:

 

  • Work Ethic: Younger employees value managers who role-model working hard, putting a lot of effort into everything that they do;
  • Resolver: Solving challenging problems is a strength that younger employees feel is important for managers to demonstrate;
  • Spotlight: Managers who demonstrate a love of being the centre of other people’s attention are valued highly amongst younger employees;
  • Detail: Conscientiously focusing on the small things to ensure everything is accurate and error-free is important for managers to demonstrate to younger employees.

 

These strengths paint a picture of a Generation Y that is strongly inspired and driven by managers who work hard and make high quality contributions, showcasing their knowledge and talents, whilst all the time ensuring accuracy and high standards.

 

So as employers and managers, how can we fulfil the needs of our younger employees, and thereby retain their engagement and talent? Below are five top tips:

 

1. Be a role model of working hard, meaningfully: As the saying goes, “work hard, play hard”. Demonstrate a healthy level of work ethic towards meaningful goals. Bring employees on board and get them involved in specific strategic goals by helping them see where their best contribution lies.

 

2. Ensure you resolve challenging issues: Identify problems or challenges that may be impacting on younger employees and/or your team more widely. Support younger employees to develop confidence and autonomy to resolve challenges successfully themselves too.

 

3. Provide exposure to different audiences: Identify opportunities for raising awareness about your team’s contributions in the spirit of knowledge management.  Find opportunities for younger employees to do the same through developing new connections for them, seeking speaking opportunities, or writing about their work through emails, articles or blogs.

 

4. Exemplify high quality work: Reflect on ways in which you can use your strengths to promote quality and accuracy as a manager in all your work and interactions. In addition, if younger employees are demonstrating other positive behaviours, then encourage and affirm these.

 

5. Adopt strengths-based team working: Identify how younger employees could partner with other members of the team, so that they complement each other’s strengths on a particular task or project. This is a powerful way of collaborating.

 

So starting from today, how will you adapt your management style to inspire the talent and engagement of your younger employees?

 

Download Capp’s Performance Manager White Paper to find out more about what people want from their managers.

 

 

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