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— by Jessica Stillman
It’s rough out there for recent college grads. With the group experiencing sky-high unemployment and even more rampant underemployment, those lucky few young people with a career track job are probably feeling pretty lucky. And a bit scared.
That’s great for employers who are hoping to wring the most out of their young hires, but the situation also has dangers. Primary among these is burnout, as frightened young folks work beyond their limits to keep their employers happy.
Of course you could argue that the newest members of the workforce have been toiling for the shortest amount of time (and probably lack the high stakes responsibilities of those higher up the career ladder) and so have the least right to suffer burnout, but entry-level workers often face less than thrilling tasks and a struggle to find their financial footing as adults.
Plus, this is one of the most happiness focused generations in decades, telling pollsters again and again that work-life balance and meaningful, non-miserable work matters more to them than traditional career status.
So what can employers do to get the most out of their young employees without driving up turnover? It’s a topic tackled on the American Express OPEN Forum blog recently by Deborah Sweeney, the CEO of MyCorporation, who offered three useful (and free) suggestions for preventing Gen Y burn out:
In addition to the usual causes of burnout like stress and overwork, some of those new to the workforce have a bumpy adjustment as they move from school to the office. Brazen Careerist recently dubbed this condition the “not going back to college blues,” and offered tips to help those struggling with the end of their student years.
While these tips are Gen Y specific, it’s also obviously true that funny haircuts and strange tech habits aside, your youngest employees are people too and familiar burnout prevention strategies for older folks generally apply to them as well. Help them keep learning, keep fit, volunteer and maintain a sense of humor and burnout is less likely.
London-based blogger Jessica Stillman covers generational issues and trends in the workforce for BNET.com.
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