When I was a teenager, many households had to add a phone line because my fellow teens and I spent so much time talking to each other in the evenings.

Housewives stereotypically (we are talking about stereotypes) spent hours during the day gossiping with friends over the phone.

Now that we’re old enough that geezing is becoming a hobby, we know deep in our bones that the ETG (embedded technology generation, aka Generation Z, Digital Natives, or iGeneration) are unhealthily glued to their smartphone screens, which is leading to the deep and distressing decay of our society.

Because nothing encourages self-righteous indignation so much as guilty equivalence.

Meanwhile, in another part of Equivalencytown, back in the ’60s the youth of America expressed their distrust of the government by dressing funny and participating in protest marches. That’s in contrast to the Tea Party of the late ‘2000s, whose members (the same generation only older) expressed their distrust of the government by dressing funny and participating in protest marches.

And before you go there, don’t: The January 6th insurrectionists had no equivalency other than the dressing funny part. And anyway they have nothing to do with this week’s topic, which is about recruiting, hiring, leading, and promoting members of the ETG.

From what I’ve been reading, this is hard to do, because [insert negative ETG stereotype here].

Maybe I’m missing something. It’s entirely possible, because I’m not hiring anyone any more. On the other hand …

A favorite ETG stereotype is that its members are “entitled.” What do they feel they’re entitled to? Stuff they want but haven’t earned.

For example?

Here’s something. From what I’ve seen, heard of, read, and imagined your typical ETGers think they’re entitled to pleasant working conditions, supportive leadership, compensation for 100% of the time they’re on the clock, and the sense that what they do for a living contributes to something important.

Maybe this is unreasonable and entitled. On the other hand, the stats say about half of working adults have left at least one job because they figure getting away from their manager will improve their lives. It appears there’s a lot of entitlement going around.

Jumping to the punchline, you can expect lots of ETGers to prefer the gig economy and remote work to traditional employment, because it puts them in better control of their financial situation and working environment. Gig work is also, in their eyes, a more honest account of their relationship with their clients – arm’s length, transactional, and with loyalty limited to pay they receive.

Think of it as the level of patriotism you’d find in a mercenary army.

So if your workforce is underpopulated and you’re having trouble finding people, look to contractors whose responsibilities can be handled remotely as an alternative to traditional recruiting.

Meanwhile, to the extent a contractor/client relationship with your workforce isn’t a satisfactory solution, the supply side of the equation isn’t likely to improve very much, at least not in the short term. The math of it says f = c + r – d, where f, your future workforce population, is equal to c, the current population, plus r, the number of new workforce recruits, minus d, the number of defections.

Yes, I know, and I’m sorry (no, I’m not). I’ve asked you to wade through what really is the day-before-yesterday’s news: reducing undesired employee attrition by making sure you provide a great place to work is as good an investment in your organization as you’re likely to find.

It looks like, in this respect at least, the future is going to look a lot like the present only more so.

Bob’s last word: I was tempted to provide a bulleted list of concrete steps you can take to reduce undesired attrition. I decided against it, on the grounds that the KJR community doesn’t need one.

If you do need help getting to the starting gate, try this: start by removing everything that makes employees’ working environments unpleasant.

Bob’s sales pitch: It’s summer! Time for some light reading. And what could be lighter than the novel Dave Kaiser and I wrote … inspired by a true story! … about a woman who was killed by an elephant in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.

It’s titled The Moral Hazard of Lime Daquiris, and, no, it isn’t one of those business theories that’s packaged into a novel so as to slip the author’s ideas into a digestible form.

It’s just light reading. I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it.

Now playing on CIO.com: The Edison Ratio: What business and IT leaders get wrong about innovation.

They get (and brag about) their responsibility for the 1% inspiration but often miss the remaining 99% of what’s needed.