Those of us with years of work experience under our belt are used to biding our time. We’re accustomed to waiting for clients to be ready, willing and able to work with us. We wait for cash to come into the bank. And we wait for people to deliver on our lofty expectations. As a result we develop patience in spades. Instant gratification, by contrast is within the purview of the young.
Generation Y and Z (millennials by another name) have a different outlook on life. They come into the workplace presuming they will make an immediate impact. And they do so with little work experience to draw upon or credentials to support that assumption.
Consequently, they become quickly disenfranchised. They lack the desire or ability to see beyond their current reality. And they leave your employ; believing they will have to make a difference elsewhere.
In business, there are two significant risks with employees who have grown up receiving instant gratification:
JOB SATISFACTION: This requires hard work and continued effort. The employee has to be proactive in making the job their own so that they become more satisfied and engaged.
MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS: These take time to build. Even if you hit it off with a co-worker on day one; you cannot ‘strengthen’ the relationship overnight. Without time and patience you end up with lots of acquaintances you cannot trust.
When we recruit a new member of staff we’re taking on more than their talent and skill set. Also, we’re taking on their mindset about the role and their ideals about work in general.
Instant gratification is endemic in millennials. So, when we employ members of the younger generation, we can safely surmise that this is likely to be a part of their make-up.
And that’s only the first step. It’s the responsibility of leaders in companies to pick up the slack and teach our young workers patience. We need to build up their confidence and show them a different way of working. We must show them a route that allows them to make an impact in the longer-term. In addition, we have to convince them that their role has purpose, now.
Good leaders care that their people enjoy working for them. Moreover, they will have the patience needed to nurture young talent. The benefits are twofold. As leaders you stay fresh and relevant by being open to different ways of working. And you benefit the organisation by retaining your talent and keeping attrition to a minimum.