Tips for managing Generation Y employees

Technically savvy and ambitious and putting a high value on self-fulfillment, Gen Y can rejuvenate business and bring idealism and energy to the workplace but they may also bring potentially high turnover and are generally perceived as being more demanding than other generations.

Some insights into Gen Y employees

It is said that Gen Y’s core values include Realism, Confidence, Extreme Fun and being Social. They also have an “earn to spend” mentality and consider that work should bring fulfillment as well as being a means to an end. They are entrepreneurial and like multitasking, collaboration and being goal orientated.

In his paper “Leadership Revelations: An Australian Perspective and Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders Today” Avril Henry lists some of the following general traits of Gen Y:

  • Gen Ys don’t see a distinction between personal and work time so flexibility is important
  • Variety, change and responsibility are important
  • Gen Ys are less responsive to authoritative management and like a participative management style
  • Gen Ys like creativity and constructive, regular feedback
  • Gen Ys like peer mentoring. Despite their confidence they may have fragile egos and this provides a safe learning environment
  • Gen Y is motivated by constant and instant feedback and attention

Peter Sheahan in his paper “Understanding Generation Y in the workplace" published by the Australian Institute of Management offers the following tips for managing Gen Y employees:

  • Offer a range of experiences with challenge and variety
  • Explain the relevance of work tasks
  • Reward and recognition should be regular on the spot ones rather than formal bonuses or incentive schemes
  • Mentoring is a more valuable technique than coaching
  • Be aware that Gen Y is more likely than previous generations to tell others about their bad experiences with employers and have a broad audience with the use of social media.