Kelvinwright's Blog

postmodern thoughts

Great Expectations – Generation Y

gen-y-at-a-glance-millennial-branding  I’ve been interested in the development of Generation Y for a while, that new group of tech savvy, connected individuals now leaving Universities and entering the workplace. It frustrates me when I read comments along the lines of them being an impatient bunch of people more interested in connecting via Facebook, in building up their LinkedIn profile or more interested in advancing their careers, than helping the company grow. They are impatient; and well done to them for being so!

Gen Yers do not seem to get stuck in the rut of complaining for years about the employer that does not develop them, look after them, give them an opportunity or a pay rise. Gen Yers haven’t gone to University, making the salary sacrifices in their late teens and early twenties, to sit in a job with no prospects of career advancement and development. They are an inquisitive bunch of young professionals, open to change, willing to take the initiative, and willing to improve the way things are done: or put another way, they have the open mindsets and behaviours that we ask of our more senior colleagues and mid-management leaders, without yet having the years of experience. There must be a way to develop them, asking them what they would do different if they were in charge. We shouldn’t be afraid – one of them might just come up with the solution that nobody else has offered.

My message to HR professionals and company leaders would be this: if you want to ensure that your organisation has the ability to attract, recruit, develop and retain Gen Yers, then you need to engage them, which means that you need to talk to them, to do what is not customary to do and to ask them what they’re looking for, ask them why they joined you in the first place, and ask them if their expectations are being met. And it is senior people who need to do this. I’ve written before about the MD walk about – our Directors and senior business leaders need to move about in the organisation and to talk to those young professionals coming in: they need to ask them: why did you join us? Are you satisfied here? What would you do differently? It still seems alien in many organisations for senior leaders to speak in one-to-one and small group situations with colleagues lower down in the organisation. This needs to change, or our talent will leave, knowing that if we don’t develop them, then somebody else will.

Generation Yers are more switched on and more connected than any other generation. They also embrace change better than anybody else and are prepared to lead it, even if they don’t yet have the necessary experience to do so. Whilst many more “senior” colleagues seek to slow down, reject and criticise change, Gen Yers seek to constantly improve and question how things are done. We need to ensure that the mechanisms are in place to take their ideas on board (and indeed everybody else’s) and innovate: And regarding the, “they’re too young”: if an employee is ready for development, ready for a promotion, and ready for something new, then s/he is old enough.



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December 14, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

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