Of the many Gen Y nicknames one that really fascinates me is “trophy kids,” referring to the fact that when Gen Y members participated in activities as kids, where everyone was guaranteed a trophy. By receiving prizes even when their performance levels were poor, these kids avoided feeling like losers.
Some argue that as a result of this system, Gen Y has had a tough time handling rejection and criticism as adults. Some say Gen Y members believe they deserve rewards regardless of how hard they work, and that they lack the motivation to work harder. Thus, some view Gen Y members as slackers.
Is Gen Y really a generation of slackers? Do we care less if we lose our jobs and know that Mom and Dad will be there to bail us out? Are we capable of reaching top-level positions, and do we even want them?
I would like to answer no to all these questions. Gen Y is a passion-seeking generation. They may not stick with the same jobs for more than a few years, but that’s often because they’re striving toward their perfect fit. They don’t want to commit to a situation unless it’s one they absolutely love. And once they do find it, they certainly don’t slack off.
I keep hearing stories about people in their late 20s and even early 30s who’ve re-enrolled in school because they’re unsatisfied with their current jobs. They want careers they can really immerse themselves in. Returning to school is not an easy thing to do; it takes willpower to go back to spending your weeknights studying when all your friends are getting off work at 5 p.m. and hitting happy hour. But Gen Y is doing it.
Recently, an economist told me that his firm was in the process of making a new Gen Y hire. He said this candidate recently completed her second degree, which she obtained while continuing the part-time, dead-end job she wanted to get out of. He wholly disagreed with the slacker stereotype and commented on the good values and skills that can be found in Gen Y.
As credit unions seek Gen Y members to join their teams–something they certainly should be doing–they can’t be hung up on the slacker stereotype. They must realize most young adults are not looking to put in minimum effort at the office and rush home. They view their careers as their lives, and they want to do work that’s fulfilling.
So let your potential young hires know that your credit union is making a difference in your community, and explain how they can be a part of it. Reward young employees for hard work and provide incentives that will encourage them to push even harder. Create a supportive company culture that they’ll want to be a part of. Develop resources within your credit union that allow entry-level employees to work their way up to management positions. Look for the passionate young adults, because they’re definitely out there.