Task not time: profile of a Gen Y job

Harvard Business Review’s come out with their Breakthrough Ideas for 2008.

Redefining work away from the 40-hour week, 8-hour day is one of the ideas.

According to author Tamara Erickson, Generation Y workers (born since 1980) prefer jobs defined by task, not time and want to be compensated by what they produce.  They resent being asked to stay in the office after their tasks are done and face time annoys them. And these are the folks who will be replacing retiring Boomers.

As one Gen Y said during research interviews with the author, "what is it with you people and 8:30 a.m.?".

Suggestions on how to redefine work to get an edge in the talent wars:

  • Articulate the results you expect, tie accountability to getting the job done
  • Make physical attendance at the office, including meetings, optional
  • Gauge performance base don the quality of the work performed
  • Measure dedication in ways other than face time
  • Use networking technology to let employees work from anywhere
  • Create drop-in centres, team spaces and open work areas for staff

"Shift your definition of work from a place your employes go for a specified period to something they do — anytime, anywhere. Task, not time — a model that dominated employment until a century ago — is a powerful way to draw in the newest crop of workers."

Published by

Jay Robb

I've reviewed more than 500 business books for the Hamilton Spectator since 1999 and worked in public relations since 1993.

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