The rise of Generation-Why? In a job interview, they are just as likely to be rating you as you are to be rating them.

Naomi Simson

I know I have blogged before that, in my opinion, Gen-Y are no different to their older counterparts. They are just as hard-working and committed, but they get to choose what they are committed to.

Now there is a bigger movement at hand – Generation-Why? In fact it is not a generation as such, more that people are really questioning the purpose of what they do and recognising that this needs to align to their own personal values for them to be satisfied and engaged.

I recently heard of a candidate who, when interviewing for a large professional firm, questioned the potential employers carbon footprint. The interviewer did not have a clear ‘green statement’ at hand, so the candidate withdrew from the interview process and accepted a position in an organisation that did have a green statement.

This is not lip service. An organisation cannot say it is green then act differently, it just won’t cut it. Actions must be 100% aligned with the values of an organisation, otherwise they are meaningless. There are no tick boxes here.

The point is the business community is different now – we have moved on. People are looking for organisations that are not just for profit.

I believe it is those organisations that offer flexibility that will win. They will attract the best people, have the most engaged people and ultimately be the most profitable. It might be inconvenient, but happy people do make happy profits.

I like this definition by Eric Chester of “The Give a Damn Factor” (another view of engagement): “An employee’s personal vested interest in the image, profits and long-term success of the place they work.”

Generation-Why? don’t want to be told what to do. They want to know the problem or the expected outcome – and they want to figure out how to do it themselves. They want to know why they are doing something. They want to know more and continually develop, learn and be mentored – which sound good to me.

Here is a Generation-Why? report card on how we as leaders are being assessed, according to Pals, a fast-growth US fast food company:

  • Do they know who I am?
  • Do they not play favourites?
  • Am I always learning?
  • Can I make important decisions?
  • Are my ideas taken seriously?
  • Do they listen when I speak?

How would you rate yourself as a Generation-Why? employer?

To read more Naomi Simson blogs, click here.

Naomi Simson is the founder and CEO (Chief Experiences Officer) of RedBalloon Days, Naomi is passionate about pleasure! Backed by enthusiasm, energy and drive and recently named one of Australia’s best bosses (Australia’s Marketing Employer of Choice), the Entrepreneurs Organisation (Sydney Chapter) President 2007 – 2008 and mother of two, Naomi also inspires others as a regular speaker, writes a blog and has recently completed her first book.


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