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Retain the Best of ‘Em, One Day At A Time

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July 8, 2009

Is it impossible to retain the best of Generation Y? No. You can retain the best people indefinitely, “one day at a time,” as long as you are willing to keep making it work for them. At least, according to Generational Guru Bruce Tulgan.

Tulgan, who is the founder and chairman of RainmakerThinking, Inc., a consulting firm on young talent based in New Haven, Conn. has these tips on how to keep those young workers happy.

•    Take control of the turnover among Gen Yers. You want the high performers to stay and the low performers to go. The only way to make that happen is if you are the one deciding who stays and who goes.

•    Make your job the prestige job. How? You have to be extremely demanding, highly competitive, and fiercely merit based. Shine that bright light of scrutiny on yourself as a leader and on every single person you manage. Hold everyone to a higher standard, and help everyone meet that higher standard. Set up a constant loop of challenge and evaluation.

•    Push out the lower performers. Remember that stubborn low performers hate the bright light of scrutiny and usually will find a way to escape. You rarely have to fire them if you are willing to shine that bright light.

•    Don’t let good people get into downward spirals. When an otherwise good employee is struggling, help the employee see what’s going wrong and how to make things go better. Instead of suffering the pain of failure, the employee will get a chance to bank one tiny success after another.

•    Turn the reasons Gen Yers might leave into reasons they will stay, and work even harder. When Gen Yers express needs and wants that are totally unrealistic, you should let them know that immediately so that their expectations are clear. The next step, however, is to help them see what is realistic … and then help them earn it.

•    Whatever you are doing to be flexible and generous to retain your good employees, you need to be much more flexible and generous to keep your great employees.

•    Give the superstars the most time and attention.



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