It is estimated that by the year 2020, 40% of the U.S. workforce will be comprised of Generation Y employees. Despite this staggering number, many employers still struggle with how to effectively engage with Gen Y workers.
Generation Y is the group also referred to as Millennials (born 1982-2004), and who follow Generation X and the Baby Boomers. Gen Y now comprises a very substantial portion of the workforce in the United States, so you can bet that you will have some Gen Y employees on your hands. Understanding this group of workers and how they work is vital to maximizing their value as employees.
Gen Y employees have a lot to offer
As a manager you need to know how to tap into the power of Gen Y in the workplace and use it to the advantage of your company. There are several ways you can get your Gen Y employees to maximize their productivity and their contribution to the company.
Start by providing an environment where employees feel they are appreciated. Gen Y employees like to feel appreciated; in fact, one of the top reasons they leave companies is because they do not feel appreciated. Be sure to provide positive feedback and take the time to notice and comment on their successful efforts. By being engaged in their efforts, you are keeping them engaged in your business. Your Gen Y team will put in time and effort if you do this.
The Gen Y group is full of experts in social media, which can be a huge advantage. This group of employees grew up using the Internet so they are the ones you should lean on to help you make decisions when it comes to social media. Using these employees to help your organization to build a comprehensive social media program can make your brand more attractive, which in turn can help you reach more people. They can also be great assets as managers of both social media and digital marketing for your organization.
Another great way to manage your Gen Y employees is to be a mentor and offer them the opportunity for growth. This generation of employees is new to the workforce and they aspire to move up within the company. Attempt to be a role model and make time to discuss their future aspirations with them. Not only will they be motivated to be a great employee, you can take that opportunity to show how growing their career can align with your company.
Many Gen Y employees feel the need to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Give them purpose in the workplace by offering philanthropic opportunities through the company so they can feel more involved. This kind of attention will lead to more loyalty down the road.
As a final bit of advice for managers working with Gen Y employees, try to be flexible with them when it comes to their work schedules. Most Gen Y employees like to have flexible hours. However, do not think that six hours in the office only means six hours. In reality, your Gen Y employees could realistically be working nine to 10 hour days. Allow your Gen Y employees to work how they work best, but do set guidelines so they do not take advantage of the situation. If you offer a flexible schedule, you might even get more out of them!