I was out for dinner recently with my good friend Koji. We were talking about the current generation’s level of exposure to the world; via the constant overflow of social media – something Chris recently touched upon in our blog on ‘cognitive overload’.

It lead us to the term ‘Generation Y’ or ‘Millenials’. These are people who have grown up in a digital age, many of whom have only ever known a world where mobile phone and the Internet exist.  They were born into the age of social media.

This all got me to thinking about a common challenge faced by many of the clients and organisations we work with: how do you onboard Generation Y into your business?

Millenials are perceived to be proactive individuals, who like to receive regular feedback.  They are confident, outgoing and extroverted people.  They want to be challenged, they want to compete and they want to win. However 68% of corporate recruiters believe it is difficult to manage millennials in the workplace.

Since Gen Y is the future of workforce, here are some pointers to help you integrated Generation Y into the workplace:

1) Provide Structure

This generation wants parameters.  They want goals, objectives and targets. How you are going to help to achieve them?  By providing your employees with career pathways, guidance and support will go a long way to make the millennial feel more at home in your workplace.

2) Allow for Flexibility

Not to contradict myself immediately but this generation also enjoys flexibility.  Millenials respond well to working from home, bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives and video-conference technology.  Be creative.  Understand that this generation works and learns completely differently from any previous and that your learning and development strategy must be adaptable. 

3) Communicate: Give and Receive Feedback

Like the pre-Gen Y, BT ads used to say, “it’s good to talk”.  And it really is.  Millennials appreciate feedback both in formal situations such as appraisal and informally on a day-to-day, on-the-job basis.  They also like achievements, whether it be awards, badges or other forms of recognition.  Once again, this is where you can be creative.  Create an environment that encourages a culture of success.

4) Create an Informal Learning Culture

It’s been said that Millenials are the most educated generation in history.

This is the generation that learns through YouTube, online tutorials, and eLearning.  Dry and dull mandatory and compliance training isn’t going to stimulate this audience.  The goal is to make learning less of a chore and more of a hobby.  Assist employees; they want to learn and ensure that the learning they undertake is tailored for their own individual aspirations.

5) Help Them Feel At Home with Technology

iPads, smart watches, tablets and games consoles – Generation Y surround themselves with technology and for the most part – they always have done.  It’s familiar to them.  Not only that, they have expectationsof technology. They expect technology to be quick, fast and intuitive.  Slow, clunky systems just won’t cut it anymore.

6) It’s Happening Now

The main thing to remember about Generation Y is that it’s happening right now.  Considering some definitions include all those who were born in the 80’s and 90’s, these are the people working in your organisation today. They aren’t the future, they are the present. 

Generation Y ‘think different’ - why don’t you?

Posted by: Nick Ramsay