Does Job Jumping Matter Anymore?

I would answer no.  I have the opportunity to look at many resumes on any given day and there is a definite sea-change in the job jumping area.  Millennials are far less loyal to their employers than any generation before them.  In fact, I would say “job” jumping isn’t accurate, they are actually “skill” jumping.  These employees are often looking for personal skill development and once they sense they have tapped out their growth curve in their current role, they leave.

I spend a fair amount of time explaining this skill jumping behavior to old-school hiring managers.  Companies must have a plan for ongoing development of their Millennial workforce otherwise they will look for skill development at a different company.

This somewhat new trend is well documented in this Harvard Business Review article.  From the article:

Sullivan says that employers have become more accepting of brief periods of employment. As many as 32% of employers expect job-jumping. “It’s become part of life,” says Sullivan. In fact, people are most likely to leave their jobs after their first, second, or third work anniversaries. Millennials are especially prone to short stays at jobs. Sullivan’s research shows that 70% quit their jobs within two years. So the advice to stick it out at a job for the sake of your resume is just no longer valid.

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Did you catch that…2 years!  I suspect that fact is due to companies being slow to provide development paths for these new employees.  The days of pension-earning careers with one company are long gone.

The Millennials are skewing the tenure number lower, but other generations are catching on also:

The average length of time a worker stays in a job these days is 4.6 years.

Have a plan to grow your direct reports’ individual skill sets.  Put milestones out there for them to achieve.  Have a plan and share it with them.  If you need help, we can help.

Bashing Millennials

Fast Company has an entertaining article written by a CEO of a company that employs almost all Millennials.  The article is well worth the read, but let me give you a taste of it:

Lazy. Entitled. Fickle. Freighted with their own inscrutable agendas. These are the kinds of things people say about cats — and millennials. For today’s managers, the generation born after 1980 is a favorite punching bag.

It’s not hard to see why, given that they’re the generation of Lindsay Lohan, Jersey Shore, and flip-flops as appropriate office footwear.

I have been drawn in by these exact topics and I’m an Xer.  But further on in the article comes this dandy (emphasis mine):

Millennials don’t have traditional boundaries or an old-fashioned sense of privacy. They live out loud, sharing details of their lives with thousands of other people. Of course there are the obvious risks to this — say, that unflattering, reputation-damaging photo that should have been deleted from Facebook — but while you shake your cane at them for indulging in TMI, I see their openness as a great opportunity. For instance, when our summer intern @jimmyaungchen tweets and Facebooks about something he achieved at work, that’s free marketing for Do Something to the 1,500 people in his immediate network. I now ask job applicants how many Facebook friends and Twitter followers they have.

Excellent point.  In fact, I just did some network checking of a sales candidate for one of our customers earlier today.  I like that she asks the candidate directly.  I prefer to check on my own and it is mainly LinkedIn that I peruse.  Facebook is fine, but it is definitely closer to the social/personal side in comparison to LinkedIn.

An entertaining and informative article for sure.  It is rare to find this combination so I strongly encourage you to read the entire thing.

Those Millennial Misfits

The Herman Trend Alert touches on the ever-popular Gen Y/Millennial trends and traits in their most recent email (sorry, no link).  The perception of this generation still needs some improvement…drastic improvement (emphasis mine):

Recently JobFox.com conducted a poll of recruiters with predictable results—Millennials were judged to be the least effective performers of the four generations now in our workplace. A paltry 20 percent of the responders characterized them as “generally great performers”. Compare this statistic to the 63 percent who said Baby Boomers (43 to 62 years old) were great performers and 58 percent who gave high marks to Gen Xers (29 to 42).

True confession – I have a general perception of Boomers being stagnant, almost stuck in a 1980’s mode.  I apologize now, it is just a perception.  Yet, you can understand my surprise when reading survey results such as the aforementioned quote.  Instantly, I found myself thinking, “I bet they interviewed mostly Boomers for this survey.”

The email progressed to show how misguided the Millennial perception is.  The author supplies 4 major motivators for Millennials:

The most sought-after motivator is balance. The Millennials do not embrace the value of the Boomer-created nine-to-five work week. They work best when they can set their own hours.

Second, they want to be on the leading edge. Millennials understand that technology is changing rapidly. If not updated continuously, their skills promptly become obsolete. “They have seen their parents and neighbors downsized and right-sized out of jobs.” Staying marketable is justifiably very important to them. Even though in a recent JWT survey, 60 percent of Millennials agreed that “an employee owes loyalty to their employer “,companies that do not provide new learning experiences will see this generation seeking job opportunities elsewhere.

Third, they do not want to be treated “as junior anything”. Millennials want to begin contributing right away. Companies must do a better job of helping younger workers see how their work is vital and how that work relates to the bottom line of the company.”

Finally, Millennials are looking for stability—especially now. Gen Y workers can be loyal team players as long as they can balance work and life goals, gain new learning opportunities, and feel like they are supporting company goals. The employers that will be the most successful over the next two decades will be the ones that can best inspire and engage this challenging generation.

Gen Xodus

BusinessWeek.com has an article titled Today’s Top 10 Talent-Management Challenges that provides some interesting tidbits from 3 different talent managers.  One topic leaped off the screen:

6. Stemming the exodus of Gen X’ers from corporate life. A big threat in many firms today is the exodus of mid-career talent—people in whom the organization has invested heavily and in whom it has pinned it hopes for future leadership. For example, developing talent management practices and programs calibrated to leverage technology and create greater work/life balance has been a priority for Mercer over recent years.

The sheer smallness of my generation creates pockets of problems with the marketplace.  This particular problem is one with which I was not familiar.  However, I can attest to the fact that work/life balance is greatly valued among my Gen X friends.  This value has led many of them to pass on management positions in favor of continuing to excel in their current positions.

Now combine the aforementioned quote with this excerpt (my emphasis):

3. Developing a robust leadership pipeline. I believe one of the biggest potential threats to many corporations is a lack of a robust talent pool from which to select future leaders. This is in part a numbers issue—the Gen X cohort is small and therefore, as I like to say, precious. But it’s also an interest issue—many members of Gen X are simply not particularly excited about being considered for these roles. There was wide agreement among the panelists that a lack of individuals ready to move into senior client manager and leadership roles is a critical challenge.

Therein lies the challenge – how to develop leaders from a small (relatively speaking) group.  One possibility is that Gen Y will leapfrog Gen X and take those leadership positions at a young age.  I know this possibility does not sit well with me, but there may be no other solution.

Marketing To Millennials

Inc.com chronicles one Gen Y marketing campaign by BMW that I have not heard of.  The opening sentence forewarned me:

Generation Y’s indifference to traditional forms of marketing and advertising has some big companies and their ad agencies scrambling for creative ways to reach and engage this demographic.

Engagement is the key these days, isn’t it?  If you read the marketing campaign in the short article, you won’t read about magazine ads, TV commercials or radio spots.  Instead there are short films on YouTube, Facebook pages and micro-websites.

I think the author best sums up this new marketing approach (my bold):

It seems to me that the campaign is less about the actual product than it is about delivering a specific message to a target market: we understand what gets your attention, so we’re going to plant our brand where you live, give you fun stuff to look at and play around with online, and we’re going to facilitate an ongoing conversation that will engage you far longer and more intimately than a 30-second television commercial.

Generations 101

The Wall Street Journal provides an article that does a nice job of laying out the upcoming shortage of workers.  The focus is upon the different generations and the general drive behind each.  The article is rather rudimentary, but it provides a clean view of the problem.

First:

Americans of childbearing age simply are not producing enough kids to meet the economy’s future need for workers, notably in fast-growing fields such as medicine and engineering. The shortfall is coming largely because the fabled baby boom generation was so huge—75 million Americans born in the 18 years from 1946 to 1964—that no other generation can be expected to match it any time soon.

Ok, that point leads to this:

They are being replaced by two younger generations, each with its own desires regarding the opportunities and rewards available at work. The challenge for hiring managers is to figure out what these workers’ needs are, so that employers will be able to find them, hire them, and keep them on the job.

Retention is going to be a top business initiative over the next couple of decades which is a simply outcome of supply and demand.

The baby boomers: They place a heavy emphasis on work and successfully climbing the corporate ladder. Work is an anchor in their lives.

The Gen Xers, born between 1965 and 1980: They enjoy work but are more concerned about the work-life balance.

Generation Y, also known as Millennials, born after 1980 and now age 28 or younger: They often have different priorities than their Gen X and baby boomer counterparts, Smith says.

“Because of their reliance on technology, [Millennials] think they can work at any time and any place and believe they should be evaluated on the basis of work produced—not on how, when or where they got it done. Curiously, most Millennials want long-term relationships with employers, but on their own terms,” Smith says.

And finally, here is the rub we have seen between Baby Boomer managers and Gen Y employees:

The Millennials respond poorly to those who act in an authoritarian manner and those who expect to be respected due to higher rank alone. They believe they can learn quickly, take on significant responsibility and make major contributions far sooner than baby boomers think they can.

Exactly.  There has to be a balance between the boomer manager allowing the Gen Y worker to grow quickly in the role and the Gen Y worker not expecting too much, too fast.  There is distinct tension between these two goals.

As they see, read the entire thing.