Managing Generation Y: Some Thoughts

A great deal has been written about Generations X and Y in recent years. These are some short extracts from a longer article written by Heather Neeley, M.A., Master Trainer for RainmakerThinking Inc., which appeared on the Gonzaga University website and is about Generation Yers in the USA, though there are some common themes with Generation Yers in different corners of the world according to international research which I have been undertaking in recent times.

“Our task is to learn what makes them tick so we can maximize the talents and help develop them in areas where they are under-skilled…

Y-ers are self-confident, independent, goal-oriented, hard working and look to their parents as role models…

This is a generation raised in a society with an intense focus on achievement …. Studies show that stress levels among teens are at an all time high and there has been an increase in eating disorders, alcohol abuse and other stress related problems…

Out of the many characteristics of Gen Y, here are a few to consider:

Independent and Collaborative: … Many are confident beyond their years and have been in the role of teaching their elders how to make technology work. They believe in their skills and are not shy about taking risks… They want the direction and support that [adults/employers] can provide, but what they are also looking for is the freedom to get the task done at their pace utilizing their own creativity.

Gen Yers are a walking contradiction. While they can be independent, they also possess an intense desire for collaboration. Research shows that Gen Yers work well alone but work even more efficiently with others……

Gen Y is the first generation that can claim technology as a birthright ….. Keep in mind that Gen Yers see technology as a tool and want to use it, but more importantly they want to create with it….

The Gen Y Career Mindset: Like many people shaped by the information revolution, the best Gen Yers are independent, techno-savvy, entrepreneurial minded, crave responsibility, demand instant feedback and relentlessly pursue work that gives them a sense of accomplishment. Our research tells us that there are three major reasons why Gen Yers select one career over another.

  • They want to do meaningful work that makes a difference
  • They want to work with committed co-workers.
  • They want to meet their personal and financial goals.

…Your Gen Yers won’t stick around if you don’t get to know them as individuals. Be open to customizing career paths, training and projects…..

We need to remember that Gen Yers are showing us the future; they possess a blend of characteristics that represent our historical, social and economic conditions. The opportunity to collaborate with them will create amazing new possibilities for your organization.”

The Next Wave of Young Workers, by Heather Neely, M.A., Master Trainer for Rainmaker Thinking, Inc. Published on the Gonzaga University website with the permission of WACE Connection Magazine and Heather Neely.