Young British Chamber Business Group Update - Q1 2015

By Katherine Baker, YBC Committee Member

Common complaints about people from Generation Y (Gen Y) include:


  • moving from job to job
  • always expecting quick promotions
  • needing constant praise
  • not wanting to work late
  • being high-maintenance


But could these concerns be attributed to mismanagement, and is there a way to unleash the talent in these people?


The Young British Chamber recently had the privilege of listening to Spencer Ogden’s CEO, David Spencer-Percival, as part of its mentoring series. Spencer Ogden is the world’s fastest-growing energy recruitment specialist: it grew by a third last year alone despite oil prices hitting a six-year low. More pertinently, they achieved this while hiring staff from Gen Y.


So how did this company achieve revenues of £77million in 2014 after just five years? One answer is in getting the most out of this high-maintenance—but also high-performing—Gen Y staff.


First, high-performing Gen Ys are created by aligning their goals with company expectations. Help them understand that there are no short cuts to success, but make sure to explain their career plan and potential growth. As Spencer-Percival said, “You have to work hard every day at the same thing and then you will be a success!” This will create a sense of identity with the company and motivation for accomplishing long-term goals.


Once a Gen Y is aboard and identifies with the company, you must provide the training and skills to help him or her succeed. When new recruits join Spencer Ogden, they enter the Spencer Ogden Training Academy that, after the first three intensive months, continues to provide training, development and support for individuals at every stage of their career. Training gives employees the essential tools for success, which increases confidence, productivity and the drive to succeed.


Gen Ys want to learn. They desire continuous improvement and knowledge. When the learning curve of a job stops, that is when they start looking for a new job. Stop this cycle by quenching that thirst for knowledge and desire for new challenges with in-house opportunities.


With the tools to succeed, your inspired Gen Ys are ready to take on projects of their own, making delegation the next key area. Spencer-Percival explained that growth is “all about letting go, which is the hardest thing to do.” If you don’t delegate, people will never learn, they will never feel respected or needed, they will continue to take up all your time and be high-maintenance. Gen Ys tend to feel underutilised, so use them, push them and expect more from them!


Finally, give Gen Ys work-life balance at the office. Make it fun! Spencer Ogden’s Singapore office is equipped with Astro Turf flooring, an American-style diner and table tennis equipment. “At Spencer Ogden, we are committed to creating environments that encourage open communication and teamwork, and, as a result, we have a highly collaborative and productive workforce,” revealed Spencer-Percival. However, this does not mean that there are no rigid KPIs beneath all that fun. You still have to deliver. In fact, staff productivity has increased by 30% as people work harder and longer.


Spencer-Percival emphasised how much he enjoys taking someone who has never had a job before and making him or her successful. “It’s a wonderful thing to see. It’s life-changing and fantastic to watch,” he described.


So be challenged to unleash the talent in your Gen Ys. Find out what their strengths are and capitalise on them. Inspire them to work hard and nurture their passion. The result will be a highly motivated, highly successful workforce ready to competitively take your company into the future.


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