Lifetime employment faded in the 70’s, and with it, the demand of unquestioned loyalty by the employee. We’ve been searching for a new employment compact ever since.
Gen X saw their fathers laid off and swore they would never give unquestioned loyalty to an employer; they have not and won’t. Gen Y does not trust employers as far as they can throw them. The economic collapse and subsequent non recovery has muted these feelings, but they remain strong.
Perhaps there is something to be learned from the military. Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh of the Harvard Business Review propose companies consider a civilian version of the military’s tour of duty . I believe there is much to recommend this concept. Both Gen X and Gen Y should find the idea interesting as it involves a far shorter term of commitment, and with it, implied short duration of loyalty.