Tips On Training And Managing The Generation Y Workforce
Meet Generation Y, the young men and women born after 1981 – and the fastest growing segment of the workforce. If the common stereotypes are true, Generation Y employees are easily bored, impatient and disloyal. Yet they’re also open-minded, collaborative and keen multi-taskers. The trick is to understand what makes Gen Y employees “tick” and to address both the positive and negative characteristics of Generation Y.
Weaned on computers, video games, cell phones and the latest electronic gadgets, Generation Y employees (or Millennials) are “stimulus junkies.” They are often independent due to living in homes where both parents worked – or from splitting their time between two households after their parents divorced. And they’re a diverse group as far as race, religion and lifestyle, so they tend to be more accepting and less judgmental of others.
Unlike previous generations, the Generation Y workforce may not put work ahead of their personal lives. This doesn’t mean they won’t work hard or dedicate themselves to their jobs, but it does mean they expect a healthy balance between work and play. Millennials think in terms of groups and are often team-oriented. In addition, they put a lot of emphasis on their relationship with their immediate boss. Your retention rates will be higher if you pair your young employees with the right supervisor – someone who understands, respects and motivates them.
To get the most from your Gen Y employees – both in training and in day-to-day operations – you need to understand the values of Generation Y.
1) Recognize that Gen Y employees are tech-savvy and interested in all of its applications – Provide the latest technological resources for their career development, and consider computer-based training that involves quizzes, online videos and even virtual “games.”
2) Reassure Gen Y employees that what they do matters – Be quick to praise them for their outstanding efforts, and look for opportunities to recognize them in public (Employee of the Month Award, for example).
3) Share your vision – Millennials are not the type to fade into the background. They’re interested in the bigger picture – the company’s goals, strategies and values – and will be more loyal if they understand how their job relates to the whole.
4) Be open to their feedback – Even though they’re younger, Generation Y employees want to be heard and treated with respect. At the same time, you’ll earn their respect not by your title, but by your actions, honesty and positive influence.
5) Let them work in teams – Gen Y employees like working in groups, preferably with peers, where they can share their ideas and talents. In training, they’ll respond favorably to group discussions, projects and experiential activities.