“I hire people brighter than me and then I get out of their way.” Lee Iacocca

Complaining that younger generations don’t want to work, are entitled, and don’t fully commit to their jobs is a Baby Boomer pastime. 

But complain as we might, the younger generation is our workforce now, and they have more to offer than we think. So for the sake of our businesses, let’s bracket out the stereotypes and talk about how to get this new generation of workers committed and engaged.


Talent Waste

Talent is the hardest deadly waste to quantify because it’s not money we lose, but money we aren’t able to get. It’s a waste that happens when your employee has a spontaneous idea that they choose not to share, or new efficiencies that they sit on for one reason or another.

If you run your workplace with a do-your-job-and-only-your-job flow, people will feel like they’re paddling upstream to share an idea. There’s resistance before they open their mouths.

But, if you foster creativity and openness, and make people feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves and everyone is in this together, then the current changes. New ideas are seen as valuable and articulating them feels natural: it’s keeping silent that feels against the flow. 

But how can you send that message to the younger people on your team?


Change the Mindset

We need to stop trying to shoe-horn Millennials into our work habits. Older generations “got the job done,” often staying until 9, choosing work over seeing our kids, and committing as much time as we needed.

Work-life balance is the reality now—in many cases, it’s a much bigger deal than offering a “competitive salary”. Your younger employees will want to be home for dinner at six and available for Saturday soccer practice. 

If you let talent walk away because you won’t be flexible, your competition will scoop them up. The essential first step to stemming talent waste is to hire the right people, and then give them a competitively-structured work environment.


What You Can Do 

Rather than thinking they’ll be “taken advantage of” or that they’ve “given into entitlement”, today’s top companies actively foster work-life balance. Here are some tips from some of these innovators: 

These are easy steps that will change the current of your workplace culture and increase flexibility and loyalty across the team – rookie Millennials and veteran employees alike. In return, your people will be motivated to help the business that’s helping them.