Infidel generation, really? What if companies didn’t activate the right levers to retain talent…

« Les jeunes veulent un équilibre, ils ne veulent pas un 9h-18h ».

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Young people born after 1995, designated by the term “generation Z” and driven by the 4th industrial revolution, require a reconsideration of management practices within the company. One of the key themes is the relationship to loyalty. While fidelity and long-term loyalty were principles specific to past generations (baby boomers and Generation X), young people no longer seem to hold the company sacred, and may even leave it without qualms quickly afterwards. their hiring.

One out of two young English people thus refuses to commit to a long-term business, favoring the more flexible and flexible status of temporary worker or “freelancer”. Moreover, if the phenomenon of “slashing”, which designates the fact of combining several professional activities, concerns all generations, it particularly affects young people under 30 (39% against 19% of those over 60), controlling perfectly digital and living in a culture of instantaneity.

Therefore, how to rethink the question of the loyalty of the young generation to the company? To answer this question, we conducted a case study, to be published in the Human Resources Management Review, with a major English sports equipment retailer renowned for its appeal to young people.

“They don't want a 9am-6pm”

The case study highlights the emergence of a new conception of loyalty among young people, which is based on emotional, social, collaborative, intrapreneurial and ethical dimensions.

First, the emotional dimension comes through in the search for work-life balance and meaning, much more than in the search for financial security. A manager attests to this: Young people want a balance, they don't want a 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. They want their balance in such a way that they feel the best they can; there are some who work better in the evening, others better in the morning “.

The social dimension of loyalty is based on the need for integration into the group and the pride of belonging to the organization, as attested by a young employee: “ Above all, you have to be available for your team and not just for your employer. Loyalty, I see it especially in the team “.

The social dimension of loyalty extends to the collaborative dimension, in the sense that young people expect their company to entrust them with various projects in which they can take on responsibilities together, as a team. A manager explains: The advantage of young people is that they dare to take initiatives together, to discuss, to say what is wrong, to be much more in the relationship, being less afraid “.

The intrapreneurial dimension is based on the possibility not only of choosing one's own path within the company, but also of being able to be an actor in it, by participating in the organizational “vision”. A young employee appreciates the opportunities offered by his employer: “ There is this notion of career where you are not locked into a trade. In addition, young people are actors and can give their point of view; their initiatives serve the company's vision “.

Finally, the ethical dimension of loyalty has emerged even more clearly during the health crisis, which has highlighted a very significant need for meaning, for social usefulness of young people through missions in which they can engage to defend environmental and/or social causes.

New loyalty policies

Faced with these multiple sources of loyalty observed among Generation Z, companies are now working on four main levers in their youth loyalty policy: 1) well-being, 2) authenticity and affectivity, 3 ) creation and engagement as well as 4) ultra-connection and sharing.

The first lever, based on well-being, can involve taking better account of young people's preferences in terms of working hours, by developing flexitime policies, for example, which give employees the possibility of working according to hours of their choice. American companies like Microsoft or Google switched to the 4-day week in 2021.

The second lever targets the search for authenticity and affectivity. This lever is based, for example, on the development of corporate social responsibility, and includes an evolution in the role of the manager, called upon to replace the roles of supervision and control with those of support and coaching, aimed at supporting and help young people “grow” in the company. The mobilization of AgroParisTech students calling for deserting agro-industry in full graduation signals a signal: many young people refuse to work in companies that have not put in place a policy to meet environmental challenges. and social.

The third lever, namely creation and commitment, calls for encouraging the sense of creation and commitment of employees, through methods calling for co-creation and the empowerment of employees, as evidenced by the development of intrapreneurship within the organization itself. Following the well-known example of Google, which very early on authorized its employees to devote one day a week to a project other than that of their mission, the Société Générale bank called on its employees to invent “the bank of tomorrow”.

Finally, the fourth lever, encouraging ultra-connection and sharing, is based on adapting the workspace to be both digital and physical. Certain practices, such as the layout of the workspace, or even “gamification”, are considered as mechanisms for strengthening the loyalty of young recruits, while being part of their use of digital technologies. For example, the Welcome to the Jungle company has created a virtual currency, the “monkey”, in order to promote the work of employees. The principle is simple: every day, each member of the company receives 10 monkeys that he must use to reward his collaborators.

All these loyalty practices are set to become widespread, at the risk of cutting themselves off from Generation Z, which would be all the more problematic as it constitutes a driving force in the renewal of skills and the digital transformation of companies.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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