Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot, has an interesting take on managing Generation Yers in a recent New York Times Corner Office column:
We’re trying to build a culture specifically to attract and retain Gen Y’ers. I just think cultures are stuck in the 1990s and don’t match the way Gen Y’ers work. So we set it up for them in a way that they really like. They want to work wherever they can work. They want a ton of freedom. They want to change jobs every six months, so we’re very aggressive about pushing people around to different jobs. They care less about money and more about learning. We want there to be a certain percentage of the company that moves every three months between departments and does new jobs. One of the things I track is what percentage of the company changed jobs in the last three months. If that’s flattening out, I get worried because I know these Gen Y’ers will leave if they’re not moving around.
In general, I think Halligan has hit the nail on the head. However, I would offer one word of caution. The desire to move people around frequently must be considered in the context of the business. In some companies, we can put people on projects of very limited duration, and within several months, measure the results of that person's work on a particular project. In those situations, frequent rotations can make a good deal of sense. However, in other situations, the projects or the nature of the work require a longer period of time to truly evaluate a person's effectiveness. In those situations, rotations must be managed carefully. You don't want to reward someone for launching initiatives without ever seeing if they can implement effectively.