A few months ago, I watched a television show in which a young interviewee proclaimed (in a tongue-in-cheek manner) that he was not interested in the position he was interviewing for unless he was going to be constantly praised and could wear his hair long.
While it’s a humorous, if not silly illustration of the younger generation, some of it rings true. It isn’t that the Millennial or Gen Y generation (being those who were born between 1982 and 2000) is truly averse to working hard, or is worse than preceding generations, but they most definitely have a different work style.
According to an USA Today interview with the CEO of an HR company, the workers of the Millennial Generation demand flexible schedules and a better work/life balance than previous generations. They would prefer to take a long break in the middle of the day and finish working late at night.
As the CEO of an organization who employs a vast number of Gen Y-ers, I have come to realize two things. One being that this new generation of workers is undeniably different (though not necessarily bad), and two being that the “everyone gets a trophy” generation can be managed easily by following a few simple guidelines:
· Use their comfort with technology to your advantage. The current generation is, to say the least, tech-savvy. Keep them connected with their work in and out of the office by providing them with remote access to email, office instant messengers, etc.
· RESPECT IS PARAMOUNT. The Millennial Generation believes in mutual respect. They will respect their managers much more if they feel that it is a two-way street. Supervising them is far easier if they are allowed to take liberties while on the clock afforded to them because of their hard work and your respect.
· Keep them in the loop. Set up regular meetings with your staff so that not only do you know what they are doing, but they know what it is that you are doing, as well. If the Millennial Generation feels listened to by managers who respect them, they will be more likely to show loyalty to your business, work longer hours, and deliver a higher quality product.
· Emphasize your expectations for quality over quantity. Let your Gen Y workers know that you care more about the quality of the finished product than when/where it was completed. This will motivate your staff to prove their responsibility, seriousness and adherence to deadlines, in order to earn them the freedom that they desire in the workplace.
To read more from BBB President/CEO Sheryl Bilbrey, visit the San Diego BBB President’s Blog.