Avoid chasing Gen Y away

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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 recognised 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.


  • Cartier Rose on 2014-06-25 2:04:49 PM

    I am not sure if this article refers to Gen Y or to Gen X or even to baby-boomers. I recalled reading similar articles in the 80s, referring to Gen X as frequent job-hoppers who wants honest feedback and opportunities to try new things, etc, so what has changed since apart from the fact that Gen Y are more computer savy?

  • Justin B. on 2014-06-25 4:01:35 PM

    Perhaps then it is more of a human-need, rather than a Gen Y need, but it is more apparent in younger people? And the reason this hasn't changed much is before younger workers were indoctrinated into a certain culture so it was perpetuated, whereas Gen Y is more likely to push back so now it is seen as a Gen Y issue?

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