Recession? Yes, while some companies are seeing shrinking FTE numbers many other companies are searching for good employees. Sure they can find warm bodies but not ones they want to hire.  

The Bureau of Labor Statistics told us several years ago that over 500 industries were going to be hurting for new – talented- employees due to the rising Boomers retirement rate. The Bureau just announced that the Boomers are starting to retire at a rate of 10K per day.  Recession or not- Boomers are retiring- in vast numbers.   

For many industries the hunt is on for new talent- not just a warm body to fill the FTE quota – but talented employees.  For example the nursing industry is experiencing an average turnover rate of 35%. The Petrolatum industry can’t find employees to train and when they do this young talent leaves before the training is over. Retention is very difficult. Many hospitals are telling me that young nurses stay a year – then leave -looking for another place to work.   

There are many problems and just as many solutions. So lets tackle one of these. 

Over 57% of today’s workforce is made up of Generation X ( Gen X) and Generation Y (Gen Y) age groups. These are employees that were born between 1965 – 2000. The problem is that many companies aren’t aware that their turnover rates from these two groups is due to the fact that the organization is not Gen X/Y friendly. These two groups have very different values and work ethic than the previous two generations ( Boomers and Traditionalists).  One issue is that when a Gen X or Y employee encounters a hostile work environment or culture- they leave. Often times without notice. Many of my clients are reporting that they have had a Gen Xer or Yer leave at the lunch break. When the manager went looking for them- he/she would find their ID badge and keys on their desk – no note- no warning- just left. I had one restaurant client tell me that it was their cashier that left- just before the lunch rush. The employee just walked out the front door- never to be seen again. 

The future clearly belongs to those organizations that can connect, motivate and inspire each of the four generations that is currently in the workplace. 

Organizations, managers and leaders need to understand each of the generations, what drives them and what each is looking for in the work environment. 

One key is to eliminate the “pay your dues” “or bully” mentality of the traditionalist (born between 1922-1945) group. Both Gen Xers and Gen Yers are products of the “awareness of the child” years. As parents we worked hard to raise our child’s self-esteem and wanted to hear their opinions they were not to be “seen and not heard” like us. For example: they were given a voice on “where should we go for dinner” and “what do you want for dinner.” They were given a voice on everything from – shopping for clothes, food, to playing sports- like t-ball, and karate lessons – etc. Now they are in the workforce- and they expect to have “voice” and have their opinions heard. 

Bullying and “paying your dues” is seen by these Gen Xers and Gen Yers as childish and creating a hostile work environment.  Many won’t put up with this behavior long- so they leave looking for a more Gen X/ Gen Y friendly company.   

Companies must change- and become the Employer of Choice by moving to being seen as a Gen X and Gen Y friendly organization.  

Contact the author for more information. 708-836-0118,