For fascinating insight into the work attitudes of Gen X and Millennials, check out Rebecca Ryan’s Live First, Work Second. Ryan’s firm, Next Generation Consulting, is a market research firm focused on engaging young professionals.
I particularly liked Ryan’s formula for attracting and retaining talent in the 20 to 40 age cohort – “Straight-A Management” – as a response to what she cites as an epidemic of bad management. Based on David Richo’s work (How to Be an Adult in Relationships), Straight-A Management involves:
- Acceptance – being accepting of diversity among employees.
- Affection – creating a sense of affiliation & collegiality.
- Allowance – supporting employees’ professional aspirations.
- Appreciation – acknowledging employees’ contributions to their work.
- Attention – being attentive and accessible.
Although the book is about attracting and retaining the young professionals, Ryan advocates the importance of people-centered management to engage employees of ALL ages. This approach is consistent with the time-honored advice that “you must engage employees’ heads and hearts if you want to get the best from your people.”
I couldn’t have said it better.