If you follow tech at all you’re probably aware that Mary Meeker‘s annual report on the state of digital came out a couple of weeks ago. It’s always a great read and gives excellent thinking on where we’re all heading on the technology front. As an aside, by now I hope we all recognize that no matter what business we’re in, what’s happening with the internet and with technology will affect us, so this is probably worth a few minutes of reading.
Buried in the report is a nugget that’s our topic today. It has to do with what young employees ages 18-34 (often called GenY or Millenials) want out of their jobs vs. what their managers believe those Millennials want. The differences are startling and I believe have great implications. Let’s see what you think.
If you have a look at the chart, you’ll see that managers are pretty clueless. They believe that most younger employees are after big bucks while the truth is that only 27% of actual Millennials report that as an important factor. Granted, the data is a couple of years old but I doubt things have changed very much. Where the Millennials say they want “meaningful work” and the importance they place on feeling a “sense of accomplishment,” mangers dismiss those factors as being important almost entirely. Quite the disconnect.
I suspect that this is due to a couple of things. First, I’ve known many managers who rarely interact with people several layers “beneath” them. Maybe a “hello” at a holiday party is as close as they get. One could write that off to the demands of the job and the lack of time in the day. That’s crap – you need to make an effort and the people who make the actual work happen are worth the effort.
More importantly, I suspect that for many of these disconnected managers this is how they treat their customers as well. They don’t make an effort to understand the truth about their customers’ needs and wants, believing that they have a full understanding already. And we wonder why businesses fail…
What your staff wants, how they value work, and how their priorities might differ from yours is something about which you shouldn’t be guessing. Are you?