Our Parent’s Generation
In a former job, I spent time with a senior-level partner who had just returned from a leadership conference in China. I recall how intrigued he was that a large portion of the event was spent discussing the ‘new generation’, the millennials, entering the workforce. The discussion focused on how millennials, regardless of the required constant feedback and praise, would hop to the next big thing without hesitation.I was taken aback at how easily companies were willing to accept that their best and brightest would only stick around for a short period before expecting them to be poached by another company (on average millennials are expected to change jobs every five years).
I grew up in a generation where company loyalty was an expectation. Our parents carefully considered their options when entering the workforce because, by-and-large, they stuck with the same company for 25+ years. Retirement parties were long drawn-out events with meaningful gifts because employees had given a significant portion of their career and life to the company, and the organization truly appreciated them for it.
Why did these highly skilled and marketable employees stick it out for so long? Because they knew that what they did for the company was reciprocated to them. They worked hard to promote the company’s success, and in return they were shown appreciation and given opportunities to progress both their careers and personal adventures.
A Commitment to Each Other
In many ways, both employees AND employers are to blame for the shift in attitude regarding the average length of employment. Employees are more easily drawn to financially aggressive opportunities and, as a result, employers are less willing to invest in employee personal growth knowing that it might be an investment in a competitor’s future asset.
When I was first introduced to SEI and its Gauntlet, I felt like this was the perfect place where I could commit myself to developing the company and have the company commit itself to developing me, personally and professionally.
Recently, I was fortunate to experience firsthand the commitment of SEI to its employees when I was tapped to lead the initial discovery phase of an opportunity my colleagues had identified with a new target account. All signs pointed toward “Go” until a few weeks prior to the beginning of the engagement our future client informed us that this initial project would be much smaller than anticipated with no guarantee of follow-on work. Right in the middle of the winter holiday season, this could likely have resulted in some bench time for me. While the project would still be profitable and a great win for our office, I was suddenly left questioning the stability of this endeavor. Before I could even reply to the client communication or provide input to our team, I received a phone call from the Managing Director (MD) of our office. Without hesitation he said, “This is risky for you as a consultant and I don’t like it for you. I would rather lose out on a deal than put my team in a bad spot. Your call.” And it didn’t stop with our MD – the two consultants who had identified this opportunity backed that same statement. At the end of the day, my colleagues and leadership team collectively valued our culture of collaboration, as well as doing it right by our employees, more than just closing another business for the company.
Build Your Employment CRED
My advice to those of you just starting in the work force, looking for new opportunities, or even the currently employed: make sure that you are seeking out a company that best matches your values, future desires, and career-long aspirations. Finding an organization with which you can build a true relationship based on mutual growth is priceless! Be proud of your paycheck because of the organization’s name on it, not the dollar amount. Go out and earn some Employment CRED:
- Check your own beliefs. Decide what kind of employee you want to be and should be to your employer.
- Research potential employers’ values. Do you see yourself being proud to work for them?
- Evaluate the potential for mutual benefits. Symbiosis makes for TWO happy parties.
- Dedicate your time and efforts to your employer. If you want a better company, MAKE it a better company.
Come see how we at SEI can build this mutual growth relationship together!