Making room for the new generations

Millennials are now pretty firmly entrenched in the workforce and Gen Z is hot on their trail. These new generations of workers have brought new outlooks, perspectives, ideals and enhanced tech skills to the credit union industry.

Millennials and Gen Z’s have grown up fully immersed in a technologically driven and connected world. They are used to instant communication and information at their rapidly-moving fingertips via texting, Instagram, SnapChat, and Skype. They are confident, fast paced and often feel entitled to quite a lot from their employers. When deciding on career opportunities, they value a sense of purpose, making an important contribution and work/life balance.

Millennials and Gen Z’s seek flexible work schedules, benefits that enhance their quality of life, and frequent promotions. They do not buy into a “paying your dues” mentality for getting ahead. Given the rapid social and economic changes today, younger generations are not inclined to wait patiently for anything, including employer opportunities. Overall, this has reduced employer loyalty and long-term employee retention. And this is a problem for companies looking to find and keep top talent.

So how do credit unions attract and retain this new workforce without compromising their values and established best practices?

To start with, keep an open mind regarding your policies, procedures and benefit packages. Don’t get stuck in an old fashioned way of thinking that could keep you from retaining good people. Adapting to the current job market should have a positive impact not only on your new hires, but also your current staff and your bottom line.

During the selection process, adopt a direct approach in interviews and use an employee behavioral assessment, like The Omnia Profile, to discover if the candidate is a good fit with your company culture. Discuss your credit union’s work culture and expectations. Review work hours, especially if there is limited flexibility. Ask questions that screen for work ethic as well as the values that align with your credit union’s mission.

For example:

What do you expect to get out of this job?

After you’re hired, how do you plan to advance from this position to the next? What qualities and actions do you believe are necessary to continue moving up in this organization?

Where do you see yourself in two/five/ten years? Explain how you’ll get there.

How would you describe your ideal job?

How do you define success?

What qualifications do you have that will make you successful?

What motivates you to go the extra mile on a project or job?

Ask questions regarding preferred communication methods, work style, feedback and reward structure, and problem solving style to gauge how this fits within your organization. These generations are used to both giving and receiving constant feedback; think online reviews of purchases, books, movies and articles, as well as blogs and texting. Constant interaction is their way of life, and really it has become so for many of us as well. As a result, more people expect it from their work too.

  • How do you primarily communicate with friends? How often?
  • When you have a dilemma to solve, how do you approach it?
  • How do you spend your free time? (Do you prefer doing things alone, with friends, or in bigger groups?)
  • When you do an exceptional job, how do you want to be rewarded?
  • Describe your ideal feedback scenario (i.e., format, frequency, who delivers it?)
  • Describe the ideal work/life balance.
  • Is the concept of “paying your dues” outdated? Why?

If you are recruiting directly out of college, here are some questions that draw on the candidate’s experience as a student to help you determine future work habits.

  • Why did you choose the courses you took?
  • What 5 adjectives would your favorite professor use to describe you? Your least favorite professor?
  • What was your most memorable classroom experience?
  • How has your college experience prepared you for your career?
  • What are two or three accomplishments that have given you the most satisfaction — and why?
  • What was your favorite class — and why? What was your least favorite class — and why?
  • What changes would you make in your college?
  • What skills have you acquired from your internships and part-time jobs?
  • Describe your favorite professor or favorite supervisor.
  • Do you think your grades are a good indication of the type of employee you’ll make? Why?

Look at these generations for new ideas and fresh perspectives that make sense for your organization. Think outside the box and adapt where feasible to stay competitive, current and to keep your employees engaged.

Carolyn Eagen

Carolyn Eagen

Carolyn Eagen is an Account Executive with Sogeti USA, a Capgemini Group Company. Carolyn and Sogeti help clients identify a best practice approach to complex business challenges through advanced technology ... Web: Details