THERE SEEMS TO BE A HUGE DISCONNECT between how older people define “career” versus younger people.

This was well articulated by the author of 50 Ways to Get a Job, Dev Aujila. In a recent interview, he spoke of stability based jobs versus skill based jobs. He was speaking to job seekers, but business leaders have a lot to learn from this.

My parents grew up with the model that success looks like having one employer and one career for your entire working life. That model was already breaking down in the 1970s, and now it’s rarely effective.

So what draws you to a job, if not the promise of stability?

Skill development.

Because you can take your skills with you from one job to another, from one employer to another, and even into your life beyond work.

But many companies still focus on the traditional messages of:

  • What you’ll earn
  • Health benefits
  • What you’ll save when you work here a long time

What’s missing? Skill development. Those traditional things are fine, but many potential employees don’t really trust the promises. Even if they love your company, in the back of their mind they’re questioning, “what happens if I’m only in this job for a year or two?”

Because they know that’s quite likely.

To you as boss, this looks like a lack of loyalty. But from their point of view, it’s just risk management. When you have an underperformer in your stock portfolio, you just dump it and move on, right? You’re being “disloyal,” I suppose, but you don’t feel you owe loyalty to a faceless investment.

So go out and find your amazing people by talking to them about how much they’ll develop. Then make sure you deliver on that promise. You’ll be rewarded with their productivity.

And maybe even their loyalty over the long term. If you deserve it.

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