A recent report published on the CIO website indicated the Gen Y are now more loyal to their employer than they have ever been. For a number of years I have been arguing that Gen Y are not as different as the older generations like to claim that they are. I'm not suggesting that as a generation they aren't different, what I am suggesting is that the degree of difference is not as high as some have been arguing.
For many years I was laughed at for suggesting that the apparent 'lack of loyalty' by Gen Y was more driven by a booming economy than anything else. Gen Y when new in the workforce are able to exercise their right to change employers if the employer's promises didn't match the reality of organisational life. Many of the rest of us would love to have had that freedom of mind to take the same action. The reality is that for many of the older generations, they choose to put up with poor cultures and organisations because of their life stage - many married with children and large mortgages. (I, for one took the "I'm creating my own path" choice and with my business partner Andrew I am loving that choice!)
It is little wonder, therefore that when the economy has changed Gen Y, when asked if they plan to stay or go have responded with a resounding increase in, "I plan to stay!" Gen Y aren't stupid. There's no point being 'mobile' in your career if there isn't anywhere to go!
My hope is that Gen Y don't lose their intolerance for organisations not matching what they say. I have experienced too many people in the older generations who wish that their organisation's culture was better than it is. But many of these people stay in those organisations for fear of not getting another opportunity elsewhere. Unfortunately this means that the organisations don't change like they should.
Gen Y may have a serious impact on organisational cultures over time because they may make them more accountable. While there is good reason to celebrate the reported increase in Gen Y 'loyalty' my hope and belief is that they are just plain smart and they'll be loyal while they are shown loyalty themselves. I also believe that they will continue to take responsibility for themselves and their career development far more than previous generations. Such action comes with being 'employably mobile'.