We have no idea how to motivate & retain young generations. Everything has changed and we have no clue what to do with them.
The other day I heard a manager saying to a 20-something-year-old "We have great development programs here with fantastic career opportunities" to which the girl said, "I can develop myself and get promoted by changing jobs."
These guys figured this out. They also figured out other things like:
Every company offers the same benefit.
Pension no longer motivates them because they "know" (I have heard them saying) that with the development of AI, decreasing population, and the collapse of the pension system, universal basic income is inevitable. You cannot sell them the pension pot narrative. They are putting 1+1 together.
They can develop themselves and learn by going from one job to another. There is no reason to stick around.
Since many of them are doing this, the stigma over job hopping will soon disappear and will be the norm. They know that there are no consequences of them not being "loyal".
They have shredded responsibilities like having children & mortgages etc. which makes them free. They cannot be reigned in by financial obligations.
Approaching employee motivation & retention must change because I sometimes feel, that everybody keeps singing the same song. Development, career progression, good leadership, flexible working hours etc..... Every report says the same thing, yet, we are not closer to the solution.
What if we asked these younger generations "What alternatives have they figured out to our current offerings?" and studied that instead of reading the same data obscured by our collective delusion about the problem?
And maybe, just maybe, we need to abandon the idea of focusing on retention, instead, develop a mindset of bringing the best out of everyone while we have them. Maybe, just maybe, this is the best motivation because there is one thing that hasn't changed. People love creating, contributing, and making a difference. No benefit system will beat that in a world where alternatives are plentiful.
What if we changed our mindset to that? Jobs would look very different and it may even solve our problem.
Just maybe, we are looking at employee retention with the mindset from 1976.