According to recent research by the iOpener Institute for People & Performance, Generation Y workers represent a ‘ticking time-bomb of potential cost and disruption’ to employers. It seems that new-found job mobility amongst the Millennial Generation is having an adverse effect on the retention of bright young stars. So how should HR departments attract, retain and manage the talent of tomorrow?

These latest finding are based on questionnaire responses relating to workforce issues from over 18,000 global professionals. What is clear from the research is that while pay and financial rewards are not unimportant to Gen-Y – they’re not prepared to be under-paid for their work – there is no significant correlation between increased levels of pay and greater talent retention. Discerning young professionals are looking for more than a regular pay-packet – and employees are simply not prepared to stay in jobs that make them unhappy.

Here at Handle Recruitment we understand the importance of cultural fit. We know that employee satisfaction is built around a strong employer brand, and forward thinking HR departments are consistently building on the reputation of their companies to encourage loyalty amongst their people. In order to establish solid talent pipelines, organisations need to invest in the managers of the future. But it seems that economics alone can no longer guarantee a brand’s survival – we need to offer more if we are to future-proof our organisations.

In her 2006 book, Generation Me, Jean Twenge discusses the confidence and assertiveness that differentiates this generation of jobseekers from their predecessors. The ‘job for life’ ethos is well and truly a thing of the past. In fact, a study last year by The Marketers Forum involving 2000 graduates has revealed that the average graduate’s first job only lasts eighteen months. Jobseekers are looking for challenges, fulfilment and the right culture.

As digital natives, interaction has become much easier for Gen-Y, with online and social network infrastructures facilitating such communications. A company’s reputation among Gen-Y is heavily influenced by these conversations because Gen-Y turns to these channels to find out about job opportunities and learn about the companies that offer them. So, for an employer to attract Gen-Y talent, its employees must be spreading the good word about their high levels of job fulfilment and enjoyable working environment.

This perceived brand image must then be realised during employment. HR departments must ensure that every employee touchpoint delivers the same positive messages if they are to stand any chance of holding on to fresh recruits who may otherwise see their tenure as a stepping stone to better prospects. Office environment, working relationships, location, atmosphere, décor, dress code, training and development opportunities and other perks are all important factors.

Maybe this more fluid attitude to employment is a reaction to today’s economy and the chaotic nature of the job market. But we cannot escape the fact that young professionals are exercising their right to take advantage of a flexible labour market by taking control of their careers.

Generation Y talent is unparalleled in its innate social, technical and communication abilities. HR innovators must react to the needs of today’s professionals by taking a fresh approach to employee relations – by building communities, engaging in two-way conversations and constructing a solid employer brand on an ever increasing array of platforms.

Star talent is priceless – it can only be bought by tapping into the emotional needs of the MTV generation. Is your brand doing enough to attract and retain the high achievers of tomorrow?