Article: Are workplaces ready to host Generation Y?


Are workplaces ready to host Generation Y?

In 12 years, Gen Y will take over the workforce. But, are our offices in sync with this generation?
Are workplaces ready to host Generation Y?

A fast-paced and impatient workforce that seeks constant change may not find it feasible to wait for the yearly performance reviews


In 12 years, Gen Y will take over the workforce. But, are our offices in sync with this generation?

By 2025 Generation Y, also known as the millennials, will constitute almost 75 per cent of the world’s workforce, estimates suggest. While workplaces are still trying to figure out a way to tackle the Baby Boomers and Generation X, Gen Y (which already constitutes a significant portion of the workforce), are stirring things up like never before. Gen Y, loosely defined as those born after 1980, stay in a job for just over two years than the average worker, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As they have a quicker burnout rate, companies have introduced a slew of measures like flexi work, compressed work week etc to help retain such employees. In the process, however, most firms are ignoring the needs of Gen Y.
An article on the Forbes website points out that technology and globalisation has changed the game when it comes to Gen Y workers. The writer, Erica Dhawan, reasons, “Gen Y has grown up participating in this revolution and sees clearly how they can be creative and innovative in today’s world.” Employing Gen Y and putting it to work will be a little difficult for companies still operating on the conventional model. They have forced many employers to revamp their hiring strategies to reflect the changing modes of technology. Though millennials were the hardest hit by the 2007 recession, they were the first ones to quit if they feel frustrated with their jobs. Career growth means a lot to them and companies would do well to keep a check on the attrition rates. Here are some ways in which the burnout issue can be addressed

1. Change review systems:

Retention will be a major challenge for organisations. A fast-paced and impatient workforce that seeks constant change may not find it feasible to wait for the yearly performance review and appraisals. They vie for constant feedback and timely growth, the absence of which may provoke them to quit. Employee engagement is the key here. Frequent training and feedback sessions will be necessary. Opportunities to earn frequent yet small performance bonuses and benefits may go a long way in keeping them engaged.

2. Recognise their lifestyle needs:

There is one good thing about Gen Y. This generation doesn’t resist a grinding work schedule. However, it is the whats and the hows of work that matter to them the most: a fixed schedule in office tends to bore them. Most of the Gen Y workers want flexibility in their work. They like the dynamism of work and little or no growth will not help in retaining such workers. Dhawan points out, “Gen Y doesn’t see the need to be at work at the same time every day and want the freedom to pursue other activities during workdays. Of course, the situation is different for some specific roles, such as on a trading floor, patient services, getting trained in the first months or year at a firm, or during team meeting times at large companies. Yet only in careers where a full-time presence is needed should it matter when you show up to do the job as long as the job gets done.”

3. Understand their approach to work: For Gen Y workers, going to office is not just about work and salary: It is an experience where shared learning and space gives them time to be more creative. Moreover, this generation shares a different relationship with its peers and superiors as compared to the older generation. In terms of knowledge and exposure, Gen Y is more updated and professionally qualified than older generations. The confidence to challenge authority comes from this background. They are more task oriented rather than hierarchy oriented. It is unlikely that this attitude will change as this generation grows old. Tackling this will need a different sort of leadership as expectations of having a ‘yes boss’ approach towards seniors doesn’t work for them.

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Topics: Diversity, Culture

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