Another “aha” moment passed through social media this week (apologies to those for whom this is so last whenever). I love this!! It could have been posted by just about everyone I worked with in the first decade or two of my career: It’s early days as a consultant, 19-hum-hum, a collection of us recovering from an hours-long presentation, when out pops, “what would you do if you weren’t doing this?” I was amazed by how many people had Vermont B&B dreams. Not a single person said they were doing meaningful work they enjoyed doing, much less that they were in their dream job.
Flash forward to now and a group I call “Fresh Talent” – millennials, top talent, tech talent, and emerging talent. This group is changing the face of work by setting high expectations for what work has to offer and taking personal ownership of their work and experiences.
Despite a surround-sound of tough economies, job scarcity, and lack of opportunity, this group is largely immune to “reality.” Fresh Talent has a highly developed sense of self and are hyper-aware of their value. They want to be seen as individuals possessed of unique talents and abilities, and recognized not only for what they do contribute but also for what they might contribute. A good salary, benefits and perks are just the price of admission into their fabulousness – don’t waste their time with the offer, focus instead on the deal, specifically what you’re going to deliver in terms of opportunity, recognition and environment, to enable their greatness.
Oh, the sheer obnoxiousness of it all! Right?
Not right. Razz at your peril, employers. Because these are the butterflies you want in your net. How many of your people are chuckling at the cartoon above? Are you chuckling at it? Fresh talent only seems obnoxious – as would anyone who asks for what they want and expects to get it seem to a person who is at effect of their career and not at cause. They actually have it right – people who believe in themselves and who are eager to share their brilliance with you, in exchange for opportunity, recognition and environment (and a decent package), are the people you want on your team. This kind of natural mojo can’t be taught – but it can be infectious. Bring in enough butterflies and you’ll start to see a difference in your organization.
- The opportunity to do great work and acquire new skills
- Recognition for who they are, the skills they have, and the work they do
- A great environment, the culture, workspace, and vibe of the organization.
If you can tell a great employment story – and back it up with an awesome employee experience – you’ll not only attract Fresh Talent, but infuse your organization with much needed energy, creativity, and possibility.
Full disclosure: I genuinely love what I do. I haven’t always loved the companies I’ve worked for, but the work itself – love it.