As a Generation X'er, I find the Y generation perplexing at times. I recently read an article in Profit Magazine that did a good job at summarizing a generation so different from Gen X'ers and Zoomers.
Generation Y: Born 1981 to 2000 They represent 26% of the Canadian Population or roughly 8.3 Million strong
This is a generation that has by in large never been told no. There was very little winning and losing but positive reinforcement just for trying. Almost a socialism of competitiveness. They have been encouraged to voice their opinions and question their surroundings. This TV, Multi Media, Video Game playing, immediate gratification generation has been highly supervised from school to day care to camp to organized sports that they require more hands on direction than previous generations at work.
They require regular informal feed back. They have been conditioned to receive praise for everything that they do. We just need to remember this as we manage them. Immediate feed back is the best.
Motivators are affiliation, purpose, recognition, responsibility, being mentored by leaders, training, contributions to making a difference at an organization as well as skills they can take to the next job. Let's not forget about money! Their expectations for their monetary worth may be a bit lofty, especially given the current economic conditions. Create a compensation plan that pays for performance.
Since the Y Gen is young (or this is an obvious sign of how old I am getting), they may look at work as something to do between weekends or a means to a lifestyle, it is best to use interview techniques that uncover intrinsic motivation and work ethic.
Set expectations as we may assume they understand corporate environments, including: being on time, the use of the company email address book (you know what I mean!), attire, language, cell phone/black berry etiquette, time management, authority and calling in sick.
We need to nurture this generation as we watch them flourish into our community's future pillars of enterprise!
Gain the competitive edge and embrace Generation Y!