A lack of loyalty or engagement?

I came across a discussion on LinkedIn recently posing the question ‘Would you hire a young person?’

The discussion was based on quite a bold statement by an employer who claimed that they don’t hire anyone under the age of 25 because ‘young people have no sense of loyalty’.

But is it a lack of loyalty or a lack of engagement?

Ian Gooden, CEO at Chiumento recently wrote a blog around the difference between efficiency and happiness at work for Generation Y.  Ian quoted “For Generation Y it appears happiness wins hands down”, and for someone who falls neatly into the 18 – 33 year old category, I have to say I agree.

But this is not through a lack of loyalty or interest in the organisation, I find that statement quite derogatory, this is through a want to be engaged in my job.  And I believe this is true irrespective of age.  Whether you’re a Baby Boomer or a Gen Y, I find it hard to believe that anyone would be happy to turn up to work every day to an atmosphere where they are un-energised.

And I use the phrase ‘happy to turn up’ intentionally.  Our research on Corporate Prisoners delves into the risk to organisational performance when dealing with that group of employees who aren’t happy to turn up, but do so anyway!  These individuals create drag on organisational performance – yet often they are unrecognised and, more importantly, ignored.

I was very happy to see some very positive comments in response to the discussion.  Where the general consensus was that young people are only as good as their Managers allow them to be and loyalty comes from being provided with a clear career development plan.

But what entitles an employer to loyalty anyway?  Do they feel that by purely giving someone a job they are automatically entitled to it?  The reality is that the initial euphoria of a new role soon wears off as the realities of the job at hand set in anyway.  In areas of skill shortages should it actually be the employer that is grateful as the world goes back into growth?

At Chiumento we recognise that the world is changing.  Gen Y are the future and unfortunately for an employer that means moving with the times, creating jobs that engage a younger workforce.

I think organisations could be missing out on top talent by being so age focused; loyalty shouldn’t be measured in years, but in the contribution to overall business goals.

Katy Nicholls
Sales and Marketing Executive

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