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Extreme Measures

How to attract Generation Y employees

Imagine a group of strangers picked to work together and go on weekend adventures to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start being real. Sounds like a new MTV show, right? Believe it or not, it's your company-or at least it should be. With the labor pool shrinking and the economy expanding, today's college grads don't have to accept just any old job offer. And their expectations are higher: A survey of Gen Y college students by O'Connor Kenny Partners Inc., a communications firm in Memphis, found the number-one thing they're looking for in a job is a fun working environment.

So what's a company to do? More are offering cool outings as part of their benefits packages to attract new workers. There are companies that'll take care of all the details-San Francisco-based Absolute Adventures Inc., for one, will organize weekly activities based on employees' interests. For no start-up fee but $25 per month per participant, you can choose from a variety of discounted activities-from swing dancing and whale-watching trips to kayaking with sea otters.

"The balance between work and personal life has shifted," says Absolute Adventures' owner Patric Douglas, 33. "Those companies that fail to recognize this balance will see problems."

One of Douglas' clients is, a site offering health and wellness products. "We ask a lot of our employees," says Buffi Szeles, human resources manager at "This is one way of giving back to them that recognizes the value of exploring the world, staying healthy and staying fit. That's an important message for companies to send if they want to keep employees happy."

Maybe following MTV's example isn't such a bad idea.

Contact Source

Absolute Adventures Inc., (415) 235-9410,

This story appears in the June 2000 issue of Startups. Subscribe »