Thousands of baby boomers retire every year, and in the wake of this huge generational shift in the workplace, employers and business owners are looking to the new generation. ‘Millennials,’ or ‘Generation Y’ could be the ones to help their organizations succeed.
Gen Y is my generation. We were born between 1980 and 1995 (I was born in 1987) and we were raised in a completely unique environment compared to our parents. We grew up with more adult supervision; we had parents who focused on positive reinforcement and empowerment; we were the first generation to experience the world both before and after the Internet exploded in popularity. Because of our unique upbringing, Gen Y employees are bringing new skills, ideas and techniques to the modern workplace, which are changing how we do business.
But what does that mean for you as a business owner? Why should you be looking for Gen Y workers to help your organization grow and succeed? What can you expect from this new influx of employees?
Let’s find out how my generation can help your business:
1. We can build on existing processes
As our predecessors retire, Gen Y workers are happy to learn and absorb as much as we can from them. However, because we were raised to think differently than our parents, we’re constantly looking for ways to improve on old ideas and processes.
We’re not content to sit back and “do things as usual,” which means taking an analytical look at how our roles have changed and adapted over time, and how they can be further honed to be more efficient. Expect us to bring new ideas to the table, and to want to have open and frank discussions about the ways in which we can help our place of work grow.
2. We’re comfortable with technology
Once we’ve learned the ins and outs of your business, expect us to start suggesting ways that your business can be using technology more effectively. We’ll go out of our way to look up better systems, apps and services that can help manage your business and increase productivity.
We want to feel hands-on in the workplace, and we are comfortable suggesting and helping implement better technologies that make our own (and everyone else’s) jobs easier. By thinking creatively about ways in which technology can help your business grow and become leaner, we’ll save you money.
3. Our desire for a work/life balance makes us efficient
Many employers take the statement “I want a good work/life balance” to mean that Gen Y workers are lazy or not hard working, but this isn’t the case at all. What this means is that we understand that there’s more to life than our jobs. So we strive to enjoy what we do professionally and work to be more efficient with our time at work so that we can enjoy our time outside of it.
This is why many Gen Y workers are pushing for flexible hours or telecommuting. We realize that having more flexibility over our own time helps us be more productive. And by eliminating inefficiencies we’re able to work that much harder and faster, which helps us relax when we’re not on the clock.
4. We can easily adapt to changing markets and demands
The lightning-fast pace of Internet culture demands that we make a concerted effort to keep up with changing stories, trends and technologies. Because Gen Y workers have grown up learning to adapt to ever-changing environments, it also means that we can quickly pick up on new processes, ways of thinking or tools to help your business succeed.
5. We’re always looking for feedback
My generation was the first to grow up with regular awards for “participation,” which has taught us the desire to be recognized for our time and efforts on a consistent basis. What this boils down to in the workplace is that Gen Y workers want to have consistent feedback about our performance, work habits and contributions to your business. We would rather have regular, informal chats about how we’re doing than rigid performance reviews that only happen once a year.
While some employers may balk at this idea, what it means for your business is that Gen Y workers want our employers to be hands-on in helping guide our growth within the organization. By talking to us, giving us feedback and constructive criticism, we’ll be more effective and help you grow faster.
6. We want to get to know you and your business
Gen Y workers are looking to connect with our place of work. We want to be able to stop and chat with our bosses, to socialize with co-workers during our lunch hours and most importantly to feel a sense of connection to the place that pays our bills. We don’t want to get a desk job where we toil away for 40 hours a week, waiting for the clock to strike 5 pm or that glorious two-day weekend. We want to work somewhere where we feel inspired, and we’re willing to help shape the kinds of workplaces that make us happy.
This means developing a deep understanding of what your business does, why it operates in specific ways and understanding the correlation between different departments and processes. Gen Y workers will ask questions, probe for deeper answers and try to leave our mark on wherever we’ve worked.
What are your thoughts on the benefits of hiring Gen Y workers? Be sure to share them with us in the comments!