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    May 28, 2024

    Younger Employees & The Leadership They Want

    The turnover rate for younger employees is only growing. Some of that is because of a disconnect in understanding the leadership they are looking for. Younger employees want to learn from more seasoned leaders, but they also value transparent and responsive managers and leaders at a higher level than most employees in previous generations.

    For older leaders, being more transparent with an employee or their teams can feel like they are giving away power.  However, learning how to be more transparent can help older leaders reduce the turnover of their younger employees.  The benefit is that by sharing more information and being more open to ideas and feedback from younger employees, they can often get more engagement and buy-in from their teams.  It comes down to being a leader who is viewed as being open, actively listening, and is seen as honest.  Transparent leaders work to ensure that all relevant information is being shared, which can lead to more informed decisions that align with company goals.

    Some of the more direct ways organizations can provide more transparency are:

    • Be careful to post job descriptions that include detailed information about the position and that all information is accurate.  
    • Maintain regular communication through all stages of any organizational change.
    • Have a true open-door policy so that employees know they can openly discuss a conflict or fear if needed.  
    • If a mistake is made, be upfront about it and share ways to improve in the future.
    • Make sure that employees can give feedback regularly.

    Though there has been a lot of discussion recently about inclusion and whether DE&I initiatives are important, younger employees value diversity. Having a policy or occasional lunch and learns about inclusion is not the same for younger employers as seeing action and measurable change. If you already have a diverse workforce, finding ways to highlight how each group contributes and is included, can show that the company is committed to recognizing everyone in the workforce.

    One approach your company may want to consider is a focus on understanding that everyone has biases. These are a product of where we were born, what we experienced, and who we grew up with. No one has control over those things. Bias isn’t something to be ashamed of because everyone has it. The opportunity is to create conversations and learning experiences about being curious as to why we have them. 

    What can work well is for leadership to openly express and encourage curiosity, which can lead to better diversity intelligence. Leaders in the organization can actively take an interest in each team member’s perspective. This type of approach is welcomed by almost all employees and reinforces the organization’s commitment to everyone having a voice. That doesn’t mean that every idea shared is going to be used, but it means that everyone’s input is valued.

    Understanding what younger employees value allows organizations to create more inclusion, be seen by younger employees as an employer of choice, and potentially provide a more inclusive work culture that ultimately benefits all employees.

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