What the rise of gen y means for the workplaceThe workplace continues to undergo dramatic changes, largely driven by economic conditions, technology, and – importantly – the young people who are coming into the workforce. So-called Generation Y, or the “Millennials,” who are now in their 20s, are flooding into the workforce and transforming the way work gets done.

Managers need to understand this new reality and embrace the fact that managing Gen Y is a whole new animal. If you think you can simply ignore demographic trends and continue business as usual, consider this: Today, the workforce is comprised of roughly 50 percent Baby Boomers and 25 percent Generation Y workers. A recent study projected that by the end of the decade, that ratio will flip – 50 percent of the workforce will be those born from the mid-1980s to the year 2000, and that Boomers will be just a quarter of the workforce.

That means the Gen Yers will soon be the ones making the rules, and they have some very different ideas of how business should operate.

It is helpful to understand that Gen Yers were raised differently from Boomers; Millennials grew up having a voice in the household, and therefore are accustomed to acting in partnership with their elders. They have always been allowed to ask “why,” and it’s unlikely they will stop asking simply because that is not the way you have run your business in the past.

With that in mind, here are some things managers should consider to put their Gen Y employees in a position to succeed and, therefore, help the business:

  • Put them in teams. Gen Yers are accustomed to working in teams. They feel more productive when they are side-by-side with co-workers and can collaborate.
  • Give them feedback. This generation craves input about performance. So provide it. You might not understand the need to be reassured and directed on a frequent basis, but you can be sure that they want to know how they are doing.
  • Give them structure. Millennials want to know where they are headed, whether on a specific task, or on a career path.
  • Give them challenging tasks. Gen Yers desperately want to avoid what they perceive to be a job that is boring. If they are bored, they will quickly disengage. Therefore, challenging them is a way to keep them engaged and doing their best work.
  • Make work social. This goes hand-in-hand with putting them in teams. This generation of workers is very social; after all, they gave us social media. Enabling them to interact with colleagues and creating a fun, sociable work environment will help you get the most out of them.

Is it worth considering and pursuing changes in the way your business is managed? The answer is almost certainly “yes.” Millennials add value to the workplace because they are strong multi-taskers, innovative, and typically willing to make themselves available both after hours and on weekends. They are tech savvy, adept with social media, and willing to speak their minds.

In short, Gen Y workers can be an asset for your business, as long as you manage them the right way.

Contact us at (215) 441.4600 if you have questions or would like to discuss how this topic may impact your business.