Top Tips for Managers: Successfully Managing Generation Y Employees
- Make sure you have the best technology you can afford. If your young employees' computers at home are a lot faster than the ones at the office, they feel like they have a bad job.
- Make sure your young people know what doing a good job actually looks like. Your new hires fresh out of college may not have enough experience to understand the nuances of a completed project. Clear, written instructions and easy-to-understand steps given up front will save a lot of time long term.
- Let your young people know that it is always OK to ask questions about procedures. Younger workers are often afraid to ask questions and often prefer to try to find an online solution, which can result in a slow approach to success.
- Try to put a positive spin on even the most negative feedback. The elementary and high school systems from the Generation Y experience gave very little negative feedback and used verbiage such as:
“You made a mistake, but it’s easy to get back on track.” “This is wrong, but you weren't really that far off.”
But do give feedback AND do it often.
- Create sincere preset feedback attached to routine tasks.
- Add feedback to another activity or meeting.
- Prioritize: Make sure what you think is important is really important and very clear.
Be direct and honest with Generation Y employees. This earns their respect and willingness to put forth more effort. Don't promise more than you can deliver; they will remember.
Learn how to be right without making younger workers wrong. Make sure you are not employing military-style management techniques, which are not very effective with Generation Y. Take the time to listen and engage them in conversations about their ideas. Your employees should feel heard and should know that you value their opinions and contributions. When your Generation Y employees feel valued, they are much more likely to listen and even learn from you.
The world's worst leadership strategy for Generation Y employees: Wishing they were like you!
Successful managers understand the issues between older and younger workers.
Struggling to understand their younger, seemingly noncommittal coworkers, older employees can often find themselves recalling days when loyalty and commitment meant sacrifice: "Back in my day, we had nothing - no wireless, no BlackBerry devices. We ate dirt and we liked it! We walked to work in the snow. Uphill. Both ways! We had no shoes...Heck, we had no feet! Older workers struggle with technology, and what do young people say about it? “The reason your computer crashed is because you are old!"Younger workers will quit a job to go on a ski trip, leaving those of us who are over thirty scratching our heads and attacking their work ethic.
Generation Y employees see us as inefficient.
They ask a question and we have to give the history of the answer, examples of the answer, why the answer may not be the answer and what our grandfather used to say about the answer. What they really want is the answer. And they want it now!
These young people are brilliant. We all need to work together because we need each other; young people need our experience and we need to understand. Praise them along the way to the goal and instate short deadlines, because monthly goals don’t mean much. If you give younger workers a monthly goal, they may wait until the end of the month to do anything.
Make sure they clearly understand business etiquette.
- Putting your phone on vibrate in meetings.
- How to open and close a meeting.
- Eating and drinking in the office.
- Response times and not being apathetic.
Try to inspire loyalty when employees are naturally skeptical.
- Tell it like it is and reward their value with attention.
- Praise them and give clear guidelines on how to be successful.
- People who are recently out of school need how-to style information.
- Give clear, written instructions: They may be afraid to make a mistake and will not take action.
Create an appealing environment.
- Promote creativity and independent thinking.
- Make sure you don’t have a system or rule that does not have valid reason to exist.
- Hold them accountable by holding yourself accountable in front of them.
Managing GenY Summary
- These young people are not living in our times; we are living in theirs.
- People are motivated by people who see their value (for young people, this is huge because to them attention equals value).
- Let people know you see their value and they will work more effectively as a team.