Why Don’t They Think Like We Do?

A common complaint amongst employers these days is the lack of reliable, committed staff.

Many express frustration that when they are hiring, job candidates do not show up for scheduled interviews, and those who do show up are ill-prepared.  Recruiters are scratching their heads at persistent job vacancies with starting wages at $25 or more.  What gives?

My husband often quips that when he started working, the job paying more was always the better job.  It seems young people do not see things that way.  Like the Edward Jones ad suggests, “Money is a thing, but it’s not everything”.

A headline in the current edition of the Entrepreneur magazine discusses the findings of a recent US survey indicating that less than 38% of those interviewed were interested in moving into a managerial role.  Career-minded employees of the boomer generation aspired to climbing the corporate ladder where managerial titles were associated with prestige as well as better compensation.  These days “gig” economy work options (temporary, short term commitments) are often considered to be more desirable than apparently more secure, full-time job options by younger workers.  The survey indicates that some of the reasons for the lack of interest in management roles is an erosion of trust between employees and their managers.  It also identifies a broader issue:  younger people are increasing interested in maintaining some degree of work-life balance, and managing staff is seen as a barrier to this goal.

I’m not sure whether we’ve turned Maslow’s hierarchy of needs on its head or whether this trend is actually evidence that we have moved beyond our physical safety and security needs to the higher motivators of friendship, family and a sense of connection. This issue is not just important for employers, but also for our economy.  We need to find ways to motivate employees of today in order to improve our productivity and rebuild our economic competitiveness.

To compete in the global economy, employers must find ways to motivate employees.  This required developing a better understanding of their values and finding ways to connect those values to the way staff are rewarded.  Easier said than done.

As a start, this edition includes the first installment of a new column called “Life @ 13”.  It introduces the reader to the thoughts of local residents at different stages in their lives: their aspirations, their inspirations, their fears and their frustrations.  I hope it will help us start to see our neighbours through a thoughtful, respectful and understanding lens. KG

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