The finance workforce of today and tomorrow is not motivated by the same things that inspire 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 workforce much more today than even just a generation ago and Americans, especially, 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, adopt new policies to ensure younger employees not only perform their tasks at acceptable levels, but also garner the self-satisfaction that will ensure their loyalty and progression to higher and higher levels within the department:
- Use 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 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 influence operations outside the finance department.
- The CPA Journal Online notes that many Generation Y members entering the workforce have been raised on video games, where they know instantly whether they are successful in accomplishing their mission. The games also require success at one level before they are rewarded with additional features (perks), points (salary), and challenges (responsibility and authority). Providing this immediate feedback in the form of praise, discrete counseling, and advancement opportunities is critical in keeping promising workers engaged and enthusiastic.
- 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 care that makes people want to work for the company.