Carol Verret Consulting
Motivating and Training a
New Generation of Employees
Carol Verret / November 2000
|Generation Y is usually described
as that generation that comes after the Generation called X. The
troubling thing is that after the next generation, presumably, Generation
Z, do we go back to A or will we have to become more imaginative in our
labeling of age groups. To define them a bit further, Generation
Y is composed of 14 to 24 year olds.
As the labor pool becomes tighter, the hospitality industry is dipping deeper into this age group for line employees and lamenting the fact that turnover is high and service levels are low. We often have the specter of employees being driven to work by parents because they don’t yet have a driver’s license. The fact of the matter is that this age group is very different from even their predecessors, Gen X and even more removed from whatever the generation was before Gen X.
I have spoken to many hotel managers who feel resentment that these new employees are totally unresponsive to ‘or else’ motivational tactics and will leave them if they become disgruntled for the same money or another fifty cents an hour. Managers lament the lack of loyalty and unwillingness for go the extra mile for the ‘team’. When confronted with a performance issue, the employee will sometimes just stare at the manager as though he or she is from another planet – in a way, the manager is from another planet if he or she is over thirty.
What’s even more frustrating to some hotel managers is Generation Y’s total disinterest in ‘sucking up’ and tendency to bluntly tell the manger and other employees exactly what they think of a situation. They don’t even care if you fire them – although they will seldom give a manager the opportunity to terminate them, they just leave!
Well, get used to it and learn how to deal with them because they are the future and the manager that learns how to motivate them and train them will earn their undying loyalty. That is the message of Eric Chester, an author and speaker who coined the term Generation Why. At a recent speaking engagement at the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association convention, he outlined the events that have influenced this group of employees and how to manage, motivate and retain them.
Eric speaks at schools and works closely with young people. He is also the author of four books targeted to teens and parents. This is a generation who watched adults get a way with murder, literally, (remember the impact of the O.J. Simpson trial and the JonBenet Ramsey case) and who have noticed that hard work and character aren’t the quickest routes to fame and fortune (think the lottery and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, not to mention Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?).
Eric postulates that because their earliest influences have been television and Nintendo, they are “stimulus junkies”, easily bored. They are skeptical with well-developed garbage detectors and desensitized, which means that respect isn’t yours by virtue of your title. Eric says, “They crave the limelight, having noticed that fame comes to many for simply being in the right place at the right time and they are blunt and expressive. The good news is that all of this stimulus has made them adept at multi-tasking, fast thinking, passionately tolerant in terms of diversity and astoundingly creative.”
Eric went on to outline eight strategies for managing and motivating Generation Why:
While Generation Y may come from a different place, influenced by factors that are unique to them, managing them does not sound all that difficult. As a matter of fact, the eight strategies above are what good managers do and have always done. These strategies work equally well for every generation, in every organization at any time.
Managers who have succeeded to this point in managing by intimidation
and threats won’t make it with this generation. This is a generation
that has never known unemployment. Work is there for them if they
want it. They are in the driver’s seat – they choose you. Money
isn’t the prime motivator – they can get that anywhere. Unlike previous
generations that would grumble at being poorly treated but stay for the
sake of a paycheck, these workers won’t put up with it. Why should
they? The onus is on us to make the workplace make sense to them,
to keep it interesting and fun.
Our employees not our customers are now forcing us to return to these basic and good management principles. Our employees are forcing us to recognize their status as our internal customers and to service them if we have any hope of motivating them to provide decent customer service to our guests.
Motivating and Training Gen Y (or Gen X or Z)
The above two concepts are inseparable, when you give someone the tools to do the job and make the expectations clear, they become more motivated. In reading and studying CRM (customer relationship management if you’ve been in a cave or working the front desk) notice that it is predicated upon accumulating guest history and preferences and solidifying the loyalty of that customer. This is based upon the premise that a retained customer is less expensive than obtaining a new customer.
While the above is a marketing truism, what the whole concept assumes is that we are providing the customer service to A) obtain correct information (garbage in – garbage out) and B) that the customer is experiencing a sufficient level of satisfaction to return. Both of these speak to the issue of customer service training. We assume that if we hire the right people, they will treat the guest well. The paradox of the present is that we may hire the right people but if we don’t treat them well, they won’t stay long enough to allow us to deliver a consistent level of customer service to the guest.
Let’s re-visit Eric Chester’s principles and add one more:
Eric Chester can be reached through his web site at http://www.generationwhy.com/ or via email at email@example.com.
Carol Verret and Associates Consulting and Training offers training and consulting services to the hospitality industry in the areas of sales and customer service. Carol’s latest training product is a comprehensive customer service system, ResultsWOW?. For a complete description of her services, log onto her web site at carolverret.com. For a complete description of their services, log onto the web site at http://www.carolverret.com/.
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|Also See:||Why Customer Service Seminars Don't Work / Carol Verret / October 2000|
|Creating a Culture of Customer Service / Carol Verret Consulting and Training / Sept 2000|
|FAT, DUMB AND HAPPY – The Seasonal Boom and Bust Cycle / Carol Verret / August 2000|
|Surf's Up - Ride the Wave or Miss the Boat -The Effective Use of Technology in Hotel Sales / Carol Verret / July 2000|
|Measuring Effectiveness of Hotel Sales Departments / Carol Verret / June 2000|
|Hotel Sales Training - The Need for Immediate Results / Carol Verret/ May 2000|