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Managing Generation Y in the Workplace

By most measures about 75% of Generation Y (Millennials) are now in the workplace (out of school at least and possibly out of the family home, although many still live with their parent(s)). As more and more enter the workplace, understanding their needs and their generational/cultural attitudes towards work/life balance and engagement can make for a better workplace for everyone.

Managing Generation Y in the workplace
Arrive Prepared Blog, by Kim Herrera

Strategies for Managing and Leading Generation Y

So how do employers take their understanding of Generation Y and translate that knowledge into a strategy for managing and developing Millennials’ talent? In an October 26, 2007 article, “Management Techniques for Bringing Out the Best in Generation Y,” Deborah Gilburg, a specialist in generational dynamics and organizational succession planning, offers a number of robust techniques for employers to implement when developing Generation Y leaders. She suggests that when working with Millennials, managers should:

■ Keep Gen Y employees engaged by implementing policies that reflect Millennials’ need for connection to the world outside of work, such as flex-time, telecommuting and volunteer opportunities.
■ Understand and work with the Gen Y sense of urgency. Develop challenging incentive programs that provide a vehicle for talented Millennial employees to grow quickly within the organization.
■ Help Millennials become acclimated to the corporate world by providing mentors who assist Gen Y employees learn the “ins and outs of the corporate culture,” as well as “how to process constructive feedback instead of discounting or withering under it, and how to increase their self-motivation and problem-solving skills.”
■ Recognize Generation Y’s need to understand their role in the organization. Communicate the “big-picture purpose” of the company and provide clarity on how individuals’ roles support the purpose and direction of the business.
■ Meet Millennials’ need for ongoing feedback. Schedule regular meetings to discuss expectations, job performance and direction setting.
■ Design training programs that are aligned to Millennials’ interactive learning style and that provide opportunities for them to learn how to rebound from mistakes. As Gilburg notes, “Experiential, team-based training gives Millennials opportunities to make and process mistakes in a safe learning environment and successfully transfer their new knowledge and skills to their workplace.”
■ Model effective professional communication skills that take place outside the virtual world of email, texting, or IM. Provide modeling and clear direction for face-to-face interpersonal communication.
■ Implement programs to help Millennials develop greater problem-solving skills—skills that Generation Y employees often failed to develop in their early educational experiences. Filling the gap in these cognitive abilities is critical for helping Millennials succeed in meeting the strategic demands that the business will expect of them as they grow in the organization.”

Frankly, a lot of these strategies match my needs as well (when I was a new entrant to the workforce and even now). I didn’t often get my needs met. Perhaps we can do a better job. I have little time for those who say that new employees should ‘earn’ their opportunities. Employers need employees to be trained, engaged and prepared for now, not in the future. Earning your stripes and promotions in fast changing times is far to slow a strategy. I also have little respect for those who fail to listen well and openly to fresh viewpoints and acknowledge and discuss them, rather than dismiss them. I want a better future and that will be accomplished through passing on our accomplishments in an excellent state to people prepared to improve on them.

As one wag said, “My generation invented the Internet and the Web, now, please, let’s see your generation do something great with them.”


Posted on: July 29, 2011, 7:37 am Category: Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Robert Noise said

    I am glad someone is finally going to step up and help them learn to be adults.

  2. admin said

    NoisBob: Yep. It’s ironic how standard it is for the older generation to poop on the generation after them even after they had it done to them. I love the quotes from Socrates, Shakespeare, etc. who decry how bad and immature all young adults are. And for many of us, these are our own kids. I recall all the stories about how awful and poorly prepared my own Boomer generation was with our long hair and crazy music, and how the world was going to Hell in a handbasket.