When I was researching the factors and catalysts of employee engagement, I met a young man who knew exactly what he wanted from his employer. Keep it real, he said: “I have no misconceptions about my role in this company. I am here to be productive and to make money for the organization. What I ask in return is to have real relationships at work.”

This is not exceptional any more. Many of the young people I speak with want a work environment that is free of bureaucracy, red tape and need-to-know-only attitudes. They want transparency and authentic relationships. I have heard “don’t spin it” more than once. Why do employers think they can hide anything from the very people who are making the company work?  Management only looks foolish when the employees already know what’s going on but management tries to “spin it”.

Why does management always underestimate their employees? We are dealing with a very savvy group of young people who are often “in the know” before we are. Today’s digital natives are more connected than any generation in history. Their communication is constant and always brief.

We must stop underestimating this group of employees and start asking them what they really need. They will tell you. So go ahead and listen carefully, because if you do you might just learn something important about building real relationships at work that have meaning and are transparent. High Performing Teams emerge from these authentic relationships… but that is a blog for another day.