What Boomers Need to Know About Gen Y and Changes in the Workplace
Posted on Jun 6 2011 at 04:21:46 PM in Employment & Work
Do a little test; ask anyone over age 31 how it's going with the young employees in their workplace. Any time I've asked this question, I see eyes roll - up, sideways and around. People don't want to say much but, they're stressed about how to work with Generation Y and are trying to make it work. In truth, it is more than this young generation causing conflict in the workplace; it is broad changes in the way business is being done.
Generation Y, or Gen Yers, are the youngest generation in the workforce and are puzzling for most managers. At over 88 million, marketers and researchers study what Gen Y want, what they expect, and how businesses and companies should adapt to them as though the world should change on their behalf. It seems they are often blamed for conflict at work because of the greater differences in their values, attitudes and beliefs from the other three generations. They sound a frightening alarm about the need for change.
What is a manager to do?
Here are 3 major changes affecting businesses today that will help everyone understand the current conflict and, the unique characteristics of Gen Y:
#1. Gen Yers are diverse because the world is becoming more diverse. It is possible today to acquire talent from any place in the world because of faster and cheaper communications. Young generations accept many cultures around the globe because they communicate easily with them and yet, to coworkers, they seem strangely comfortable with change and more sure of them selves than they should be. Perhaps they know that businesses have easy access to global collaboration and are not taking advantage of it.
#2. Gen Yers are socially responsible because they learned about caring for other people and for the planet from their parents and in their K-12 education. There is much more pressure on organizations to be socially responsible for the triple bottom line; caring about their people, the planet, and profits. This is a priority of many stockholders and of Generation Y when they're looking for jobs. They want companies to have an organizational culture that identifies how they care about these things, plans for how they will honor what they care about, and reports about how well they're doing at it.
#3. Gen Yers are digital natives who accomplish whatever possible with technology. This is a unique time in that Generation Y is using technology so far ahead of what employers use in the workplaces they enter. The big difference in the technology creates friction; Baby Boomer bosses don't believe they need up to date communications and Gen Y believe they can save the company time, money, and customers with technology but don't have access to it.
The differences that identify Gen Y are much the same as the ones driving change in society and the way business is done. The businesses that are keeping up with changes are prepared to attract, develop and retain Gen Yers and those that do not, usually don't keep them. Conflict arises when what is new in business butts-head with business practices that have not changed with the times.
I hope this helps you in your workplace for understanding the generational differences of Gen Y and three other generations there just as more change affects how business is being done today.
And now, you can get more help for getting great performance from Gen Yers in my free offer, "How to Mentor and Have Highly Productive Gen Y Employees" at http://GenerationalDividecoaching.com