At Work

Getting Gen Y To Commit

In today’s evolving workplace and with new work trends emerging, a job for life and a retirement gift are quaint traditions of a bygone era. Frequent job transitions are becoming the new reality.

A series of jobs seems to be the norm as workers search for more fulfilling work, and employers are looking for ways to keep their workers engaged. In fact, the search for personal development has been observed and corroborated by a recent survey.

The Kelly Global Workforce Index, a survey which obtained the views of approximately 134,000 people in the Asia-Pacific, North America and Europe, found that when asked to name the one thing that would make an employee more committed to their job, 40% of respondents in the Asia-Pacific cited “more interesting or challenging work”.

Interestingly, 41% of respondents who said that more interesting or challenging work would make them more committed were from Generation Y (Gen Y) — those born in the 1980s and 1990s.

These younger workers bring to the workplace their traits and attitudes that are redefining how they want to be engaged by their employers.


From the survey findings, it is clear that opportunities for personal growth and development are critical to younger workers, as is the chance to perform stimulating and challenging work.

Conversely, when asked to name the one factor that would most likely cause an employee to leave an organisation, lack of opportunities for advancement and poor management were top of the responses.

Gen Y had the highest number of respondents at 32%, citing lack of opportunities for advancement as a deal breaker, followed by Generation X (those born between 1964 and 1981) at 26% and baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) at 14%.

Retaining talent and ensuring that employees are happy in an organisation requires employers to re-evaluate their organisational culture.

Is there loyalty within and to the organisation? A company bereft of loyalty is not serving itself well. Motivation decreases and productivity is affected, and business performance will be negatively affected in the long term.

When employees feel a sense of loyalty to an organisation and are engaged on a level that motivates them to give their best, employers will find that they have a win-win situation. Happy, motivated employees drive an increase in productivity to meet the objectives of an organisation’s business goals.

Creating an environment where employees feel a sense of loyalty to the organisation and are engaged at a consistent and meaningful level will see them willingly invest their skills and knowledge towards business objectives.

Top-down leadership

This requires top-down leadership. Top management needs to take the lead by creating a workplace culture built on trust. The best way to build loyalty is to get to know employees on a personal level and understand what drives them to perform.

Reward their successes and they will feel that their achievements are being noticed and appreciated. For every employee who feels that his or her unique traits and contributions are accepted and appreciated, the return on investment in terms of company loyalty is keeping that particular talent within the organisation.

With constant personal growth and development, happy and fulfilled employees are more often than not willing to further their career with the employer who keeps them happy.

This ensures that the organisation benefits in the long term, with the right people exhibiting the right skills and attitudes that contribute to the bottom line and overall business goals. - Singapore Straits Times/Asia News Network

·Article by Dhirendra Shantilal, senior vice-president (Asia Pacific), Kelly Services.