teaching companies how to answer this question. However, it seems that many of them still want to focus on tactics instead of strategy.


In 1998, Stanford professor Dr. Jeffery Pfeffer published a book called “The Human Equation” and in this book he describes seven practices of successful organizations. Pfeffer came up with these practices from analyzing well researched studies of successful companies. Generation Y workers were not yet part of the work force when Pfeffer wrote his book but it is interesting to see how his recommendations for the general management of people answer many of the concerns relating to Generation Y workers. The seven practices are:


1. Employment security


Pfeffer found that in organizations that had regular layoffs, employees were not able to continue to perform at a high level. If an employee is constantly worried about losing his or her job in a round of layoffs, the incentive to work towards the long term goals of the company is eliminated. Generation Y workers are not afraid to change jobs and it is not likely that they would stay in a company where their future was threatened.

This makes management of the size of the company’s work force very important. Companies have to correctly forecast the demand for their product or service so that they will not make the mistake of hiring too many employees during good times only to have to lay them off when demand slows.


2. Selective hiring of new personnel


Pfeffer argues that employers should hire from the largest pool of people possible. The company has to have a very good understanding of what skills and attributes it needs. These skills and attributes must closely match the requirements of the particular job being hired and how the company sees itself in the world. People need to feel that the goals and beliefs of the company are compatible with their own. Pfeffer continues by saying that the company should select for basic ability and attitude instead relying solely on technical skills. The company can train new hires in technical areas much easier than it can attempt to change attitudes.


This attempt to find a better fit between employees and the work they do will appeal to Generation Y workers who are looking to work on something that matters to them. The ability to learn and improve their skills while they work will appeal to these highly capable yet inexperienced workers.


3. Self-managed teams and decentralization of decision making as the basic principles of organizational design


Pfeffer feels that team based decisions are better than decisions made by upper management in some instances. He feels that this gives each employee a more personal stake in the outcome. It also allows employees to put their ideas forward which results in better solutions to problems. Layers of management and administration jobs can be eliminated with a team based system and this reduces cost for the company.

These teams fit in well with the collaborative nature of Generation Y workers. They have an opportunity to express their ideas and use their skills to influence the outcome. Generation Y workers have skills with technology that may be lacking in some companies. This team based approach allows them to share these skills for the benefit of all employees.


4. High compensation contingent on organizational performance


Pfeffer explains that organizations cannot claim their people are the most important factor in its success and then pay them at or below the average wage in the industry. Employees are very quick to pick up on this disconnect. He explains that bonus pay is very important because employees will see the connection between their performance and the performance of the company. It is important that these bonuses be based on the performance of the team and not the individual. Individual bonuses would cause competition within the team and this would hurt cooperation among its members. -->


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