At Work

Gen Y Commitment Anxiety

Everybody talks about the lack of commitment of the Gen Y employees. While there are managers who may accommodate them there are others who complain or ignore them.

In this article, I would like to come to their defence and offer a solution.

A retiree friend bumped into me on the street, looking a little distraught, and without apprehension he told me that his son who is 28 has changed jobs for the fourth time.

He went on to complain that it would look terrible on his son’s resume and quickly blamed it on the characteristic of the Gen Y workers.

I was so tempted to give my point of view but refrained seeing that it was his son and he was struggling to deal with the problem.

However, this is what I would have said to him: “He’s 28 years old, so he shouldn’t be your problem anymore. And, yes, there is a general trend among young employees to job-hop when the going gets tough!”

Unfortunately this is so rampant that it has almost become a permanent feature for my corporate contemporaries to describe their young recruits the moment we have a chance to chat about human resource matters.

“Most of them have high expectations when it comes to salary and perks but they just can’t hold down a job as many of them lack commitment,” said the manager of a publishing company. Commitment, or the lack of it, is the word that determines an employee’s future in the company.

No bashing

Here I have decided to take an empathetic stand and want to arrest the Gen Y bashing.

I am inclined to believe that a lot of what employers say about their young workers has to do with their own expectations and values that often lead to the lack of motivation.

As a result, the young employees become frustrated, lethargic and restlessness sets in. If you are young and fit this description, feel free to drop me a note at

I believe there is a huge mitigating step that you can take before making that leap to the next job. It is the latch between the pondering thought of “giving it a chance” and to send an e-mail job application.

There are several beats to this step. First, you have to find the part of the job that you enjoy most in doing because that’s where your strength lies.

Once you have identified it, you can go and speak with your manager to see if he or she could help you find a way to make use of this strength to help the organisation. Some people call this putting round pegs in round holes. Only here you initiate the move.

Once you are there, you will find that your job satisfaction will be enhanced as doing well in a job will motivate you to develop yourself further. It would be better if you could find like-minded people or even one person in the company who shares your thoughts and views to work with.

Social and mutual support in a job are important as they will help you to strengthen your sense of belonging and to a certain extent, team camaraderie.

You are likely to be more committed to a job that gives you a keen sense of belonging. Working in isolation will present a different set of problems.

Achieving goals

When you feel you are getting somewhere and being motivated, you should try and see how some of your own goals and company’s goals can be met and achieved.

For instance if the company has just started on a corporate social responsibility (CSR) project, and your passion is in carrying out community work, you may want to ask your employers or managers if you can play a bigger role in that area.

This will not only further motivate you, it will also show the company that you are committed .

Being committed to your job also means going the extra mile for the company. The long hours in the office or having to travel often for work can be physically taxing.

If you are physically unfit you are more likely to find fault with your working environment and the people you work with.

Even though this element is so often overlooked, it helps to determine your frame of mind, level of energy and mood when handling different situations at work.

While commitment to your job requires you to work your best, it also requires you to work your best during working hours.

Working more than 12 hours everyday without rest, personal space or time is not the way to go.

You do not want to end up feeling miserable and tired and blaming the company for cheating you of your personal time and space.

So, before you can start to build commitment in your job, be committed to being happy at work!

Article taken from Workable Tips by Paul Kam.

Paul is a Kuala Lumpur-based managing director to a HR consulting and training organisation, with over 16 years in consulting, training and advisory experience throughout Asia. He also serves as a director to several companies in various sectors.

Paul has led a wide range of start-ups successfully and manage four organisations in multiple industries. He has demonstrated clear strategic thinking capability in setting clear business modality, direction and goals. He has worked extensively with both private and public sector leaders throughout Asia and has designed and led several transformation, alignment and strategic change initiatives. With his understanding of market conditions and challenges in the various industries Paul is passionate in partnering with clients to shift and align mindsets and behaviours of leaders and employees by focusing on innovative programmes and solutions to inspire them.

Paul is a qualified advocate and solicitor is also a member of the Malaysian Institute of Management. He is also a certified team profiler and life and wealth coach.