Right now, a battle for survival has eclipsed the war for talent. Business leaders are slashing headcounts and budgets and focusing with laser vision on what it takes to succeed in a deep global recession. But when the economy recovers, companies will return swiftly to the crucial work of recruiting and retaining top performers. Renewal and growth cannot be rekindled without high-octane brain power.
Yet the value proposition is changing dramatically in a new era of talent management. Two dominant demographic cohorts--Generation Y and baby boomers--are redefining what it takes for a company to be an "employer of choice." The 78 million boomers and 70 million Gen Y's crave flexibility, personal growth, connection and opportunities to "give back." The Bookend Generations are remapping old ideals of success as they pursue a "Rewards Remix" that prizes meaning and choice over money.
What do the Bookend Generations want?
Top Picks for Gen Y and Baby Boomers:
- Y's and boomers crave Odysseys. They are highly loyal yet see their careers as fluid journeys, suffused with flexibility over the day and over the long term. For these adventurers, career is a lifelong Odyssey, often punctuated by short time-outs or mini-odysseys to explore passions and altruism.
- Y's and boomers are shifting from Me to We. Vested in healing the planet and improving the lot of humankind, they want some of this "give back" to happen on company time.
- Y's and boomers value work/life balance and prioritize Flexibility and Remote Work. They are shedding Industrial Age conceptions of work and demanding control over when, where and how work gets done.
A Key Finding: The Bookend Generations seek a radical Rewards Remix. Gen Y's and boomers want employers to deliver on an important set of non-monetary rewards. Opportunities to take a short sabbatical, to give back to the community through work, or to engage in stimulating, challenging projects often can trump the size of the boomer or Gen Y paycheck. Our most recent data (January 2009) shows rising job insecurity and financial pressures yet a continued strong desire for newer rewards from odysseys to altruistic work.
This shift in the core values of a sizable proportion of the work force is both challenging and liberating for employers. Companies now must begin tackling the difficult task of creating more complex, holistic incentive structures. They must decipher how to use time as currency, make perks such as sabbaticals into norms of career planning, and realize the value of a green workplace as a retention tool. Such work is not easy. But the good news is that these motivators are far less costly than raises and bonuses at a time of shrinking budgets.
Best Practices: Finally, this report details cutting-edge best practices: 27 new company initiatives that take steps toward offering a needed Rewards Remix. Best and next practices, ranging from Houston's "Flex in the City" program to Ernst & Young's "Corporate Responsibility Fellowships" show how progressive employers are responding to a sea-change in employee attitudes.