Workplace: Managing Generation X
Are your twenty-something employees really so different from their baby-boomer counterparts? Dan Logan, president of Boston-based Trinity Communications, thinks so. The $5.5-million marketing-communications company surveyed its 11 "Generation X" employees (about 25% of its staff) last November to find out what attracts and motivates young people. Vice-president Nancy Michalowski, who conducted the survey, was surprised to find that "a good 401(k) plan" -- not salary -- was number one on their list of financial concerns. Other high-ranking issues were learning opportunities, up-to-date technology, workforce diversity, and flexibility.
In response, Trinity changed many of its policies and added some new programs. For instance, the company changed 401(k) providers, added more-aggressive mutual funds, reduced the time before a new hire could join the plan from 18 months to 6 months, and made vesting instantaneous. The company also altered its vacation policy and now offers everyone an annual six-week time-off bank for vacation, personal days, sick days , and holidays. Lunchtime diversity programs were added, and Trinity has begun participating in three minority-based internship programs. Logan also decided to supply all employees with home computers, Internet accounts, and training in new media. The total price tag: about $175,000.
Isn't that a lot to spend on employees who, more than likely, will leave your company after a few years anyway? Logan doesn't think so. "I think there's still loyalty out there if you treat people well," he says.
DONNA FENN is the author of Upstarts! How Gen-Y Entrepreneurs Are Rocking the World of Business and 8 Ways You Can Profit From Their Success, an exploration of the ways Gen Y is changing the entrepreneurial landscape.
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