I’d like to hear to your views in a minute to see whether you agree or not! But first, here’s a story I really like. Do you know David Ogilvy, the famous founder of Ogilvy & Mather? He was quite a philosopher as well as an excellent businessman. There are countless anecdotes about him; here’s one I particularly like. Ogilvy had a habit of sending all new employees in the Ogilvy & Mather chain a Russian doll; you know those Matryoshka dolls?
Yes. Open one and another emerges, and then another. Ogilvy would include a note with the gift: If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.
That was his gift to welcome new hires. I think it’s a great idea, very meaningful. So yes, how does your company develop a culture that prioritizes mentoring and inspires young people to say, “I can see myself developing in this company and expanding my horizons”?
What else are young people looking for?
My impression, based on conversations with students, is that they want a work environment without a lot of red tape. They don’t want to deal with bureaucracy; they prefer firms where they’re not strictly monitored, where they can work in a relaxed environment, and where they have the authority to make decisions. They also want to develop themselves. This could be achieved through the company’s training programs, but as you say, the corporate culture should enable them to develop on the job as well. Young people value flexible hours: Quality of life is as important to them as standard of living; they don’t want a monotonous 9-to-5 work life.
I’d like to repeat something I heard along the same lines as the Matryoshka story you just told us. A “grade A” manager will hire a “grade A” employee, whereas a “grade B” manager will hire a “grade C” employee, preferring someone who is compliant and won’t question their decisions. They see a solid candidate as a threat. Sadly, this happens in the private sector as well as in public offices; applicants with fantastic CVs may be regarded as threats. This naturally harms an institution in both the short and long term; if you attract good candidates, more will follow. Keep that door shut, though, and you enter a vicious circle.
Yes. Your comment about young people not liking bureaucratic environments reminds me of a great quote. It was General Patton who said, “Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with the results.”
It sounds like a great principle to me.
A very accurate principle.
“Motivation” is a magical word and a concept that should be at the top of our minds as managers. Figuring out how to increase people’s enthusiasm for work and achievement and their loyalty to their jobs and companies is the single most critical question for managers and leaders. Yet discovering what motivates people is so complicated and exclusive because it varies from person to person that we might spend a lifetime looking for it.