Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Why Aren’t Younger Staff More Loyal to Their Employers?

When I’m giving presentations on generational differences, “older” folks often ask me, “Why aren’t they younger staff (Gen Xers and Millenials) more loyal to our company/association/nonprofit?”

After 15 years of eating/sleeping/breathing my association, my boss and I were fired. My “kids” were in high school then. They knew how loyal I was to my association and job. They experienced me being fired. They remember!

And, as companies and organizations downsized, re-engineered and right-sized staffs during the 1990s, they trained younger generations NOT to be loyal to the companies because the companies were not loyal to their parents.

In her new book, Knowing Y: The economics of engaging the next generation, Sarah Sladek lists this phenomena as one of the five currents of change in the U.S. economy. Here’s her note:
  • Gig Economy: Today's young professionals tend to work several jobs simultaneously, consult, and start-up businesses. They don't identify with one company or career. They are comfortable with job hopping and want to rid the world of silos, titles, and roles. Ys will struggle with long-range planning and doing the same work day in and day out. They will expect flextime and collaboration and welcome the opportunity to take on 'gigs' within the organization, such as leading the research and development of new ideas. 
As I tell my audiences, we should not be surprised that the younger generation does not feel the sense of company loyalty.

What does this mean to associations?

  • If they are job hopping, will they be association hopping ... especially if their association dues are paid by their company?
  • If they are focused on consulting and start-up businesses, will association membership be part of their investment of funds and time?
  • As members of an association, will they be frustrated with silos within the association?
  • As they become board members, will they balk at long-term planning?
By the way, if you are attending ASAE14 in Nashville, you can hear Sarah talk more about Knowing Y at her learning lab session from 2:00 - 3:00 pm, Monday, August 11.

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