The 80’s Manager – Understand Your Workforce

by | Oct 18, 2012 | Employers Tips

This subject raises its head far too many times than I believe is necessary. For an older manager who managed employees in their same generation and now having to manage Generation Y could be quite a shock. After all, Generation Y has so many horror work stories connected to them that the manager might just decide that it is impossible to manage this generation. This isn’t the case; you just need to understand how to manage this workforce.

1. Work/life balanceSignature Staff Blog

Generation Y grew up watching their parents working all the time which is why this generation is often called the “latch-key” kids as often they would arrive home to an empty house waiting for their parents to come home from work. Generation Y doesn’t want to have the same type of work life, they are looking for a work/life balance where they don’t live to work, but instead work to live. As a manager if you are able to allow flexible work times, tele-commuting, open starting and ending hours or just understand that sometimes things come up, your Generation Y employees will have more respect for you and also more loyalty.

2. Question past practices

Generation Y does question past practices or the way things were done previously but not because they are outspoken or disrespectful. It is because this generation wants to make sure the process of doing things is the most effective and relies on the use of technology to help make processes easier or faster. This is why this workforce tends to push the envelope and suggest changes to the old way of doing business. Conventional managerial styles will not work this workforce. Managers who expect or even demand their team to blindly follow orders or never question why something is being done with without a doubt butt heads with younger employees who feel the need to ask questions or see if something can be improved.

3. Multi-taskers

Signature Staff BlogOne complaint is that this generation tends to be unfocused or also doing multiple things at once, especially using technology or social media. This compliant needs to be turned into a positive aspect as you have employees who are able to successfully multi-task, who enjoy working at a fast-pace and staying on top of technology which will help develop new ideas or processes for your team and company. Use their skills and passion for technology to your advantage by asking for their suggestions or advice on what type of technology to use. Generation Y will get bored by having to work on projects on a individual basis and want to have multiple projects or deadlines going at once.

4. Loyalty to Me, Inc.

This new generation are expected to change jobs and even careers often as they seek out self-fulfilment in the workplace. To retain these employees companies will have to focus on making these employees feel valued, and this is where the manager comes in. This younger generation received constant feedback from parents, teachers and coaches while growing up and not only expect but demand the same from their bosses. The routine once a year performance review/evaluation won’t be enough for these types of employees. They need to have regular input and constructive feedback from their supervisors in an effort to know how they are doing and to advance their careers. Generation Y wants to have a strong relationship with their managers where they feel connected on a daily or weekly basis and are able to have a 2-way conversation.

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