Millennials working in the financial world of today and tomorrow are not motivated by the same things that inspired their parents, and most likely, their supervisors.
Obviously, younger employees are accustomed to accessing information, whether personal, social, or professional, at the click of a few keys. They also seldom see work as the focal point of their week. Women are now established in the financial world much more today than even just a generation ago and Americans, in particular, are putting marriage and family plans on hold as they establish careers and experience other fulfilling activities.
These changes in the employment atmosphere demand firms in general, and finance departments in particular, to adopt new policies to ensure younger employees not only perform their tasks at acceptable levels, but also provide the self-satisfaction that will ensure younger employees loyalty and encourage their commitment to progress to higher and higher levels within the department:
- The CPA Journal Online notes that many Generation Y members entering the financial arena have been raised on video games, where they know instantly whether they are successful in accomplishing their mission. These games also require success at one level before they are rewarded with additional features (perks), points (salary), and challenges (responsibility and authority). Providing this type of timely feedback is critically important and the key difference in managing todays younger work force. Prompt feedback in the form of praise, discrete counseling, and outlining clear advancement opportunities is critical in keeping promising young workers engaged and enthusiastic.
- Take advantage of technology to allow for greater flexibility. Laptop computers, tablets, smart phones, wireless connectivity, personal teleconferencing, and more are reducing the importance of physical location in the performance of many finance jobs. Flex days that allow billing specialists and auditors to work from home or the doctor’s waiting room show a company’s commitment to work-life balance and can actually add to productivity by eliminating commute times and personal days.
- Keep workers abreast of the company’s goals and clearly highlight how their duties contribute to achieving them. Younger workers do not subscribe to the “show up, shut up, get paid” theory. We do not advocate putting up with insubordination, but allowing employees to offer constructive suggestions as to how tasks may be accomplished more efficiently creates a team approach to the job. It also encourages employees to look at the big picture, which will serve them well as they take on responsibilities that ultimately influence operations outside the finance department.
Accepting different attitudes and motivations among younger workers does not mean allowing the inmates to run the asylum. Strong managers develop techniques that exhibit leadership that allows their charges to excel. Certain accepted rules must be followed in regards to time-off, dress code, etc. but respecting employees’ opinions and taking their suggestions seriously will demonstrate the kind of attitude that makes people want to work for a company and more importantly, to invest in increasing their skills to aim for advancement, that will encourage them to consider it a career, as opposed to a job.
Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is President of International Search Consultants, and can be reached directly at or direct dial at 888-866-7276
Anna Souers is Director of Finance Recruiters and can be reached directly at or direct dial at 800-450-3808