The $25,000… Mistake?

Last week I had the opportunity of speaking at Intersure; a group of independent insurance brokers.

Hosted at the Fairmont in Downtown Dallas, I call uber after I get into DFW.

My driver, Shannon, an MBA student is one of the most personable and enthusiastic guys I’ve been around.

The first question he asks me:

What do you do?

I tell him a little bit about YPE and the work we do with young pros and executives, which then leads to an interesting conversation.

Shannon goes on to tell that one of his friends works for a Fortune 500 company. And like most companies today, they’re struggling when it comes to retaining young professionals.

That being the case, they just implemented a new policy:

A 25k bonus for young pros that stay at the company for at least 5 years.

I bring this up because my presentation at Intersure was focused on giving their executive members the strategies and tools for attracting, developing and retaining today’s young professionals.

Needless to say throwing a 25k bonus at their young talent just for staying at the company for five years didn’t make the list.

Something about this feels wrong. It sets the wrong precedent and it sends the wrong message.

Case in point…

Look at Zappos.

Here’s a company recognized as having a powerful culture and they do the exact opposite. They utilize a pay to quit model offering new hires thousands of dollars to leave their company.

Here’s why I share this story with you…

Being a young pro myself along with having had the privilege of leading thousands of young pros thus far in my career, I’ve come to realize that there are certain strategies that work better than others when it comes to retaining young talent.

The strategy I’m about to share with you might be the most effective.

I believe one of the keys to retaining young pros comes down to giving them ownership. And not necessarily ownership in your company (unless they deserve it).

Here’s why…

During my presentation to these executives, I briefly walked them through the YPE Development Formula, which I’ve included below.

As you see it consists of six needs that we believe young pros have to experience on a consistent basis in order to be fulfilled and achieve success within your company.

Giving them ownership in the following way fulfills these needs…

Get them involved in making decisions that impact the future direction and vision of your company.

Here’s how this simple act helps them experience their needs:

Clarity

It has been said that “clarity is power” and I agree. But for young pros, clarity also gives them certainty.

And when they have certainty it does two things.

First it helps them produce at high levels.

Second, it gives them the clarity and confidence needed for their future roles in your company resulting in them buying into the future direction and vision.

Connection

If you want young pros to support your cause you must not focus on convincing them.

Instead you must focus on connecting with them.

When you get them engaged in making decisions that impact the future of your company and thus impacts the future of their career, you’ll connect with them on a level that will create trust and loyalty.

Collaboration

It’s important to note that young pros today support what they create.

Therefore if they feel like they’ve worked together with you and the team to create a decision, oftentimes they’re going to support it.

Even if they disagree.

The reason being?

You made the effort to collaborate and work with them.

Most executives already know the importance of this yet few actually do it.

If you’re one of the few who do and not one of the many who talk you’ll see your young pros turn into your most loyal advocates and be there for you when you need them most.

Growth

When you get your young talent involved in the decision making process you demand more from them.

You hold them to a higher standard.

In other words, you challenge them to raise their thinking to being an owner of the business.

And if there’s one thing that leads to a fulfilling career, it’s experiencing growth on a consistent basis.

Contribution

Besides growth, this may be one of the most powerful of all the needs.

The reason being that if you put a young pro in a position to contribute you’ll simultaneously help them experience the needs of connection, growth, collaboration, and significance.

There’s no greater way to make them feel like they’ve made a contribution than by putting them in a position to impact the future direction and vision of your company.

Significance

At the end of the day young pros want to feel significant. They want to feel like they matter.

One of the most powerful acts that will show your young talent that they matter is asking them for their thoughts and insights.

Concluding Thoughts

I know this strategy may seem too simple to work but I think that’s why it delivers at the level it does.

I bring this up because leading today’s young pros is not as difficult as most make it out to be. And we definitely don’t need to make it more complicated than it needs to be.

If we let our negative perceptions of the millennial generation drive our thinking about today’s young pros, it will make it that much more difficult to lead them.

Instead we need talk to them and treat them as the type of person we know they can be.

Do this and I think you’ll be excited with the results.