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Bridging the Gap to GEN Y: Top 5 Tips To Understanding “Y”

If you’re a Gen Xer or Baby Boomer, it’s time to understand Generation Y. There are 75 million Generation Y -employees in the workforce.  60 million Baby Boomers are going to exit the work force in the next 3 years and Gen X includes about 40 million.  Gen Y is a huge up and coming generation that not only has a loud voice but really sees the world and specifically their work/life differently.

To better understand GEN Y, we need to start at the beginning.  From childhood, GEN Y grew up in sports programs where everybody got a trophy and was always successful. The parents of the GEN Y kids always provided them with positive feedback and coaching such as saying “great job!”, “you can be anything you want”….They also grew up with technology at their fingertips, TV, Video Games, IPods, Nintendo, Texting and on and on.

As a result of this type of growing environment, GEN Y appears to be entitled, especially if you are looking at them from the eyes of a GEN Xer, but the benefit of their upbringing makes them very coachable and quick to learn.

In the workplace, GEN Y is constantly looking for feedback and learning.  As a manager, if you can provide your GEN Y employees with Leadership Training and Motivating Projects then you will get the most out of this group.

5 Tips to help bridge the management gap for GEN Y:

1)      Train Boomers on how to communicate with GEN Y Electronically:  Most GEN -Yers respond immediately to text messages whereas Boomer prefers face to face interaction and phone calls.

2)      Leadership and mentoring: GEN -Y is hungry for knowledge and are seeking leaders to follow who will give them advice and mentoring on how to improve their skill sets and move forward in their careers.

3)      Make the work meaningful, GEN- Y is very passionate about making a difference in the world.

4)      Stay current without being phony.  Understand the new technologies that GEN- Y uses not only computer technology, but also with what’s going on in your industry. Stay active, and hang out with people as much as you can who are in their 20s and 30s so you as a manager are relevant.

5)      Gen Y moves 50% faster on projects then Boomers: The Baby Boomer workforce is perceived as rigid, closed-minded, overbearing whereas GEN Y is perceived as entitled, lazy, self-absorbed however, because GEN-Y is so quick and knows how to find shortcuts they appear to be not working as hard as the boomers, but often they just know how to get to job done faster.

The fundamental difference in these generations is that Gen Y doesn’t see a distinction between work life and personal life.  Gen Y sees it as all one big life.  They see personal first and work second.  As a manager if you can learn to speak their language and start your coaching and conversations from this perspective you will find a much more receptive audience.  Finally understand that GEN Y gets bored very quickly, so consider how to make their work and additional projects meaningful, creative and interesting and you will have engaged employees.

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