Avoid chasing Gen Y away

by |

The disconnect between managers and Gen Y is causing problems for individuals and the companies they work for – so what common mistakes are being made and what are the solutions?

Lack of planning and development

Problem: The stereotype for Gen Y is that they’re job-jumpers – they’ll stick around for a couple years before looking for greener grasses. However, if they feel recognized and challenged they are likely to stick around longer – especially if they know they have a long-term plan with the company.

Solution: Just because they don’t seek security or loyalty does not mean they don’t want to plan. Set realistic, benchmarked goals, and make it clear that achievement will equal promotion, success, and add to their future potential. And follow through on your promises

Rigid, unnecessary rules

Problem: Bureaucracy, lack of flexibility, unwillingness to try new things – all unfortunately common in large companies and Gen Y won’t like any of it. They want results-based assessment, mobile work options and the opportunity to innovate. Denying them those perks will make it seem like the company is stuck in the Stone Age.

Solution: While changing might seem like more effort than it’s worth, this is the way of the future. What’s more, you already have a resource on hand with ample energy and enthusiasm: your Gen Y workers. Give them a couple hours a week to work out where you can improve flexibility and decrease red tape and you might find all your staff more productive and happier at the end of the process.

Platitudes instead of real feedback

Problem: Gen Ys are used to the instant, honest feedback of the internet so they want that in real life (or “IRL” as the kids say). If you’re saying “Yeah, you’re doing fine” to frequent requests for feedback your younger employers are going to lose interest and feel unchallenged.

Solution: Implement a mentoring system with regular meetings. You’ll be surprised how popular the services are and you’ll have better workers because of it.

Company culture failures

Problem: Work/life balance, support for charity work and an engaging workplace aren’t “nice to haves” any more. Millennials will work hard, but they want to play hard, too. More and more young candidates want to know about flexibility and corporate social responsibility before signing on.

Solution: There is no one-size-fits-all solution for flexibility, but consider whether flexible start times, offering personal days and work from home options could work for your company. Gen Y care about doing good with their time, too, so an option such as time off to volunteer could win you some fans.   


  • An Expat on 2013-05-30 1:53:12 PM

    All this sounds good if unemployment is low. But it's not!

    Gen Y - Be careful watch what you ask for or you may find your options "totally open".

  • gen y on 2013-05-30 1:37:48 PM

    All we are looking for is a purpose to the work we do

  • An Expat on 2013-05-30 5:23:21 PM

    Regardless of what you think, every generation before you thought they needed a purpose in their lives or work.

    You've heard of the Peace Corp? We all wanted to work for them years ago - and make a difference.

    In this job market, you are lucky to have a job and it will be that way for many years to come.

    This generation does have an advantage in that many of the previous generations were force to do mind numbing work which is now done by machines.

  • a different gen y on 2013-05-31 11:34:32 AM

    Everyone wanted to work for the peace corps but not that many people really did it. I think most of us just want to know the company we work for shares our values. It's not about making a difference once in a big way, it's about little differences every day. Not to mention rescue the planet, economy etc. from the shit Baby Boomers and Gen X put them through.

  • In the middle on 2013-06-04 9:52:54 AM

    Although there is always the talk of "over-generalizing" when referring to an entire generation, I thought this article made some good points. I would like to find some information, similar to this only that applies to dealing with a unionized workforce. It would be interesting to see if/how the younger generations have impacted collective agreements.

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