Five Ways to Transform Generation Y Behavior into a Business Opportunity
Generation Y. The Millennials. The Connected Generation. We have given this generation of people – born between 1980 and 2000 – many names, but none so hurtful as the Entitlement Generation. They’ve also been called arrogant, self-centered, and diagnosed collectively with ADHD.
The truth of the matter is that generation Y harbors a lot of potential, providing that you, as a leader, know how to harness it through proper leadership and management skills. This blog post discusses 5 ways to transform generation Y behavior into an opportunity for your business.
1. Generation Y knows there is more to life then work, and they expect you to know this as well. They want work to be fun, and the line between work and life is blurred. This means they do have a strong work ethic that can be leveraged, providing you as their employer allow for a flexible schedule eliminating the need to sit at their desk 9 through 5 to create the perception they are getting their job done.
2. It appears Generation Y spends a lot of time texting, IM’ing, Facebooking, and Tweeting, which creates the impression they are spending a lot of time on anything but work. The truth is that all these new technologies have made them more productive and efficient, being able to access new resources and additional input. For employers this offers huge opportunity, providing you are willing to accept there are multiple ways to get the job done which are potentially more successful and might not involve them sitting at their desk, working on their computer.
3. Generation Y questions everything, and they will keep asking questions until they understand why, how and when. As an employer, if you take the time to answer these questions and think through the challenges with them, you might actually come to a solution that is more efficient and more effective then the one originally envisioned.
4. Generation Y seems to have unrealistic expectations, looking for promotions and salary increases well ahead of the considered norm: there is a drive for instant gratification, which is very much being driven by the extremely fast-paced world we live in today. The key for employers is to create an organization that allows for flexibility and exposure to different subject area’s, while mapping out a training and development plan and sticking to it. This will enable you to harness that drive into a real benefit for the overall organization and the employee.
5. Generation Y changes jobs quickly, for a variety of reasons. The economical downturn has exposed them to layoffs, something they try to avoid, and it has made employers cut back substantially on training and development. The key for employers is to create a culture committed to training and development, even on reduced budgets, and creating benefits, such as professional development opportunities through inter office exchange programs etc.
In the end, every employee is judged by his or her contribution and the value they add to the organization, and that should not change. That being said, bridging the gap between Generation X and Generation Y can be challenging. Next week, we will discuss how to communicate effectively with Generation Y.