Last week, 26-year old Mashable writer David Infante coined a new term for a subset of the endlessly talked about millennial generation. He has dubbed those who shun traditional jobs to work out of coffee shops and co-working spaces as consultants, social media experts, web designers, and entrepreneurs “Yuccies” – Young Urban Creatives.
Yuccies are mostly 20 and very early 30-somethings who are disillusioned with corporate America, where they are expected to have 5 years of experience for an entry-level job despite being fresh out of college. (Not to mention that mountain of debt they are carrying that makes that entry-level salary hard to swallow.) They came of age during the Great Recession, when they were dealing with stagnant wages, stunted career growth, and likely even unemployment. Their struggles through this time have shown them the importance of things like saving money and having good health insurance, although they are unwilling to work in unfulfilling jobs to achieve these goals. (This embracing of financial success and material things is what separates Yuccies from hipsters, by the way.)
If you have potential Yuccies working at your company, what can you do to keep them from quitting and starting an artisanal brewery? Truthfully, what they want is not much different than your other employees—it’s just that Yuccies are actually more likely to quit if they don’t get them.
- Give them a creative outlet: If you hire a talented designer or writer you discovered via her well-trafficked blog and relegate her to a rote job where she’s writing boring corporate website copy, expect her to walk. Work with your creative employees to find ways they can use their unique skills to contribute to your company’s success.
- Allow them to be entrepreneurial: Give high-potential employees ownership over something—a project, an initiative, or a small area of the business. Working 40+ hours per week at a job that isn’t fulfilling and doesn’t offer a sense of purpose will give anyone a reason to start thinking about going into business for themselves.
- Offer fair wages, good benefits, and flexibility: Twenty-somethings won’t always take the crappy jobs to work their way up the ladder anymore, because they know in many cases there is no ladder. They see policies like rigid schedules, formal dress codes, and limited vacation time as archaic. They also spent the Great Recession in grad school getting their MBAs, so they expect to be fairly compensated.
- Be socially responsible: The Millennial generation at large is well-known to desire to work at a company that is doing some good in the world. Even if your company is not directly in the business of helping others, offer volunteer opportunities, and communicate any initiatives your company participates in to your employees.
- Hire them as consultants: If you can’t hold Yuccies down to a steady job at your company, consider hiring them as freelancers. You can benefit from their skill set and they can still work on opening up their organic vegan taco truck on the side.