Gen Y in the Workforce

I was surprised to see Shannon Seery Gude mentioned in the local IT press, CIO Magazine’s May issue, not surprised that she has been quoted in a magazine, but more that our IT press found her, kudos to the CIO Mag guys!

The May issue covered a very topical area on Gen Y in the workforce, the article was written by a Gen Y, interviewing other Gen Y’s and Baby Boomer CIOs, all in all a good read.

Company loyalty was a big discussion point, the bottom line don’t expect loyalty from your Gen Y’s unless the company provides them with loyalty first. Should we be surprised by this, many a Gen Y has seen their parents lose their jobs made redundant after years of loyalty to their employer. Further management rhetoric over the years has been that we need to manage our own career’s “don’t expect the company or management to it for you”, to me this is not a message that breeds loyalty. However this does not mean you can’t build loyalty with Gen Y’s and have them hang around for a few years, or more. You just need to make the job satisfying. Sound like employee engagement?

Job satisfaction is the biggest motivator of Gen Y’s. They always need new challenges and want to see their efforts come to fruition. Putting a Gen Y in a dead end job, or working on a make busy project, so they “learn”, is a sure way to loose them.

Another important factor for Gen Y is work life balance, they don’t live to work, many are happy to do the work to get the job done, just not necessarily between 9 and 5. Gen Y’s have heard of work life balance for many years, so why should we be surprised they demand it? Work life balance not only means giving employees the ability to work when they want, eg 9am or 12am, where they choose, eg the office or the lounge room, but also allow them to disconnect from work, without penalty. Remember work is no longer somewhere you go, it is something you do. The “disconnect without penalty” is the difficult part as a management culture needs to be developed, it doesn’t just happen in organisations. Enticing Gen Y with lots of money to get the job done will not work in the same way it has for many of the current crop of middle managers.

Social interactions are also important, putting work in the way of a Gen Y’s social interactions is another sure way for them to leave. This is where Shannon’s quote came in “social networking features and collaboration tools such as blogs and wikis to allow employees to connect and collaborate with one another” (Must find Shannon’s post that the article referred to, why didn’t the article include it?). An interesting side note, a post on Cisco’s Mobile Visions blog last week highlighted mobile technology as one of the key attributes for social networking, if you want to attract Gen Y’s maybe you could look at some mobility benefits, free text messaging, sponsored data broadband wireless cards? Let’s not forget the cool video they also pointed to 2 weeks ago on attracting the Millennial Generation, you know the one after Gen Y.

Once again in summary Gen Y’s are:-

  • Young
  • Restless
  • In a hurry
  • Will not automatically provide their employers with loyalty
  • Not necessarily motivated by money
  • Demand job satisfactions
  • At the end of the day want work life balance and be able to pay the bills

4 thoughts on “Gen Y in the Workforce

  1. I’ve been thinking about this as well.
    http://tonygoodson.typepad.com/tonygoodson/2006/06/business_and_th.html What will a new starter turning up to a big corporate make of having to switch off their SMS and mobile, lock-down on their PC/Laptop, an operating system (Windows 2000 or XP) that is one or two generations behind the one they have at home, no Chat, “What’s Twitter?”, RSS – No Thanks!

    How long will a GenY/Z or Millenial last with technology that’s 5-10 years behind the technology they use at home!

    Will a large corporate (Bank) allow SMS, Chat, Twitter, RSS onto it’s precious network? Hell No!! So what’s going to happen? How will the large corporate employers attract and keep the Gen Yers?

    This is going to be very interesting!!

  2. Completely agree Tony!

    I have this argument with people all the time who say “back in my day we respected other peoples time/money/work/etc”, kind of funny if you go back 20 years when the same thing was being said 🙂

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