Generation Y and the workplace
Emily Allen

Emily Allen

Generation Y and the workplace

Ever noticed that your younger employees hate talking on the phone? Richard Phillips explains why we need a different approach to ‘Generation Y’.

Generation Y employees are those who were born between 1975 and 1995. They are generally media and technology savvy and seek a large amount of mental and visual stimulation. As employees, they have the potential to be demanding, become demotivated in slow-paced environments, and avoid team work.

Generation Y have grown up with more choice in terms of travel, education and opportunity than their older colleagues. Consequently, they expect more choice at work and do not respond positively to too much control. Try giving them flexibility in the way they achieve organisational objectives. There’s always more than one way to skin a cat!

They will respond to a workplace that is environmentally friendly and allows them to take time out to recharge their batteries. Keep them interested; with the choices available to them they could be moving on before you know it. Make sure you develop their potential, giving them plenty of scope for growth and promotion.

Generation Y don’t like bureaucracy, and value time away from work. Be careful, however, that you don’t disenfranchise your more senior employees by treating Generation Ys too differently. It’s all a balancing act, folks! Friction can occur around communication:

Typically the older generations prefer talking face-to-face or on the phone, and the younger generations tend toward text-based messages like email and instant message ... It becomes very frustrating when you communicate with someone in a mode that they don’t like..." - Forbes Blogs

Lastly, remember that a lot of Generation Y favour smaller companies with less rigid hierarchies and the opportunity for more responsibility, sooner.

What you do to manage the differences between generations could make a big difference to your organisation.