As an employer, it likely sucks to hear that this is the first generation of workers will not devote themselves to one employer for the duration of their lives. Our parents, grandparents and grandparents parents sought good jobs with security and dedicated themselves to the company for their whole life. Those days are over, for better or for worse.
The workplace is changing faster than ever and the generational divide is something all employers need to understand. This is the X and Y debate, and no not the chromosomes.
As an employer you may have already realized that the “kids” these days are not quite the same hires that you have made throughout your hiring history.
Here is the first thing to note; what is Gen X and Gen Y:
Gen X are those born between 1965- 1977 and Gen Y are born 1977-1995, after that we get what is called “millennials.”
First of all why is this important?
Gen Y’ers account for up almost 80 million people in the USA alone and are the fastest growing demographic in the market and workplace. “We are exerting more influence into the global marketplace due to sheer numbers and hyper connectivity”. As stated by “The Gen Y Guy” Jason Dorsey.
Here are some differences and how to use them to your advantage:
Technology: Here is the big one. Gen Y were born into fast moving technology and even though they do not necessarily always understand it, they are dependent on it. Gen X doesn’t excel in this department as strongly, although we cannot make the assumption that all Gen Y are born knowing how to code a computer.
Social Etiquette: “Manners” seems to be a big one and it’s not that Gen Y are more rude, its that they have a different perception of social etiquette. For example, when you say to dress “business casual,” a Gen X will most likely wear a suit and perhaps a tie, a Gen Y will wear skinny jeans and a button up shirt (without ironing it). There needs to be freedom of identity and personality or else it’s not going to work out.
Employment: A Gen X will put in the hours and the years to a company until retirement day and give of themselves and the sacrifices that accompany it if they enjoy the job. A Gen Y expects to work in at least 7 different companies and professions in their lifetime. This demographic is the most fast paced and goal oriented, and always striving for bigger and better, while believing in “the dream”. They will not stop and settle.
Compensation: A Gen Y cannot be “bought” with merely financial benefits. Many of the talent agencies out there do not pay their staff all that well, yet the staff stick around because they are praised, they have amazing workplace culture, they are happy in their positions and happen to love the friday bar cart. Gen X would often do the grunt work for the paycheck as they were bred into that culture.
There are 2 keys here.
PRAISE and INSTANT GRATIFICATION.
The key to a Gen Y’s heart is constant praise. (perhaps it was the participation ribbons we got growing up).
Along with praise of course comes instant gratification. A thing to note with this demographic is the need for in the moment gratification, from lines to on-demand products, we want things immediately.
Knowing how to value your employees is the key to a happy work environment and creating a culture that nurtures creativity and excellence. Have the important conversations to further understand your people, what makes them feel valued and what professionalism you expect from them. Once you can understand them, they can be some of the best talent you will ever hire.
Just ensure you allow them to grow personally and professionally or they will be gone from your roster as quick as they can text their way into a new position. Model the behaviour you want to see and have fun with the process and make sure there is good communication!
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