Managing Generation Y

Generation Y employees are defined as those aged 30 years and under. Older managers can find it difficult to understand and manage this age group. The values and motivations of the different generations are often poles apart. As a result there is often a large gulf between how Gen Y employees are currently managed and the way in which they want to be managed. The result can be frustrated and under-performing employees.

With an ever increasing number of ambitious young professionals entering the workplace, managers need to be better prepared to create a work environment that enables their younger employees to thrive. The Gen Y workforce tends to be exceptionally well motivated. They are often keen to hone their knowledge and to enhance their qualifications in order to achieve personal success.

Gen Y wants to work for managers who are ‘visionary’ and who use a democratic approach. They respond badly to the more traditional “command and control” approach where managers tell their employees what to do and how to do it.

Given these differences there are a number of practical steps mangers can take to harness Gen Y’s desire to succeed, so engaging and empowering them.

1. Understand the effect of different management styles and learn how to flex your natural style to become more visionary and democratic.

2. Provide developmental opportunities. Gen Y employees respond well to being given access to continuous professional development programmes at an early stage in their career. Providing formally recognised qualifications and access to high-quality training courses will up-skill, develop and ultimately retain Gen Y staff.

3. Promote coaching and mentoring. The sharing of talent between generations builds an environment of collaboration that Gen Y’s seek. Up-skilling existing managers so  their coaching skills are highly developed and they can meet generation Y's development needs should be a priority.