Gen Y – Strike the note

by | Feb 25, 2012 | Employers Tips

There has been a lot of discussion that Generation Y, the newest generation to enter the workforce, are difficult to work with and please, yet by just understanding their different values, goals and ideas of the workplace will help you and your company use the best points of this generation and retain hard-working employees. Condemned for having a sense of entitlement, being outspoken, inability to take criticism, and technologically obsessed sounds like the making of the worst employee, but employers especially HR Resources department have to work with this workforce and by accepting that the organisation’s style and practices might have to be altered for a better fit is the first step.

Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of this generation, more focus needs to and should be placed on the positive aspects this generation brings to your organisation. Here are some positive aspects to having Generation Y in your workplace:

  • The most educated generation compared to previous generations, enjoy constantly developing themselves and their careers
  • They tend to be more optimistic about life
  • Generally more socially aware than previous generations, and they want their work to make a difference in the world
  • They are tolerant and accepting of cultural differences, often with travel experiences or internships abroad, and tend to get along with a wide variety of peoples
  • They are technically savvy, always in tune with the latest social media tools or new gadgets and will use this skill to find smarter ways of working,
  • This generation has the ability to find information fast and use this to generate new ideas or come up with better processes

Once you understand what this generation wants, hopes and dreams for, they are quite easy to understand and work with. Generation Y want their job to have a purpose, be fun and they want to feel that what they do counts. They want to have a mentoring relationship with a senior management employee, to be given opportunities to lead and thrive and the chance to learn new skills or develop their careers. This generation tends to have a low boredom threshold because they give up multi-tasking from a young age so they need to always undertake new challenges, or new experiences or at least know that there is an opportunity to do so.

Here are some strategies on how to manage and motivate the Generation Y workforce:

  • Let them know that what they do matters and explain to them why it matters.
  • Tell them the truth, if something isn’t going right, tell them and don’t pretend it is because they will later find out on their own and question why you hide it.
  • Explain the why of what you re asking them to do and tell them what’s in it for them. Don’t just “order” them to do it because then they won’t want to do it.
  • Learn their language – communicate in terms they understand or use social media tools, or the Intranet to communicate.
  • Be on the lookout for “rewarding opportunities,” not just compensation.
  • Praise them in public surrounded by other employees.
  • Make the workplace a fun place to be at.
  • Practice the model behaviour or “talk the talk”– don’t expect one thing out of them that you don’t and won’t deliver yourself.


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