Generation Y Taking Over Today’s Business World
The face of business is changing and fast with the many baby boomers reaching retirement age. And who is there to take their place? Generation Y twenty-somethings. Once the entire Baby Boomer Generation moves out there is another to take its place. However, business may not be prepared to handle this generation’s way of thinking, despite the fact that it was them, the baby boomers, who raised the Generation Y kids. According to Hira (2007) this new generation is equipped with information and the ability to retrieve an unlimited about of information at any given time.
The days of working 60 hours a week is not only inconceivable but unnecessary to Generation Y. Additionally, this new workforce demands their own personal life, this calls for business to work around their personal schedule, not the other way around. Hira (2007) describes Joshua Butler who upon interviewing with KPMG negotiated a schedule that allows for a body building and tennis career. Hira (2007) continued with the issues faced in today’s business world including recruiting and retention. Generation Y is a difficult group for both issues.
Specifically, this generation has a short attention span, has been “spoiled” and raised to believe they can do and have anything, and shows a lack of loyalty. Generation Y has much less responsibility than that of their parents. According to Hira (2007), while the baby boomer parents were ohhing and awing over their generation Y babies, they never taught them the meaning of hardship. For this reason, more generation Y young adults return to live at home after college; parents not only allow this but at times encourage their adult children to return home.
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This is reflecting in the retention of jobs, because these young adults don’t necessarily need to maintain employment to pay bills, their parents will do it for them. Businesses today works harder to find and keep good employees and some have found effective ways of doing this. For example, appropriate compensation for over time hours, talking to employees or potential employees on their level by using text messages, Face Book etc, and flexible scheduling all appeal to the Generation Y employees.
So it is clear that businesses are stepping up and making some major changes with regard to recruiting and retention, but what about in areas such as teambuilding and training and can these four issues effect each other? Teambuilding has become an essential concept in today’s business. This is an interesting and much different topic with this younger generation. Many Generation Y-ers are very good at multitasking and enjoy sharing and discussing their projects with others, especially their managers.
Therefore, teams in today’s workplace may be more effective than ever, as they may be more willing contribute to the businesses as a whole. Additionally, business may increase retention with the use of teams. This issue is important because it affects everyday work life for the individual, whether positive or negative. Team building can also create diversity in terms of workload for an employee. As Hira (2007) noted, this generation bores easily and therefore must be continually stimulated. This means changing up the work from time to time. Well organized teams within the workplace will need to be organized and well run.
Business is now at a crossroads were an older generation is converging with the new. Therefore, it will be necessary for businesses to ensure these two population are working efficiently together. Due to differences in age, thinking patterns, political beliefs, etc. , it will be necessary for management to carefully monitor and intervene when conflict occurs. Here we are talking about one generation (baby boomers) who does what their told and a younger generation (Y) who is full of free flowing thought and does not mind speaking up. Another issue to consider is training methods.
Not only are the Generation Y young adults highly education; but they have unlimited information at their fingertips. With increases in technology, these employees can find any piece of information they need at virtually any time. It therefore goes to reason that not all employees need the same type of training. An additional aspect to consider is the method of training. As previously noted, this new generation has a short attention span; therefore the traditional ways of training will not work. Likewise, the Baby Boomer Generation comes from the mentality that they do as their told.
If that means sitting for two days in a dark room looking at over heads and listening to a lecturer on some training material, that is what they do. According to Spiro (2006), Generation Y-ers are not going to hide behind a mound of work taking orders, let alone sit in for days of one sided trainings. This generation unlike the one before them wants a sense of ownership (Spiro, 2007). Spiro (2007) also notes that this generation has learned to use every available resources for continued learning. This includes peers and supervisors. Coaching uses senior employees as mentors for the newer employees.
According to Spiro (2007), this will be one way for employers to keep turnover rates low. Coaching or mentoring is slightly different than training because it allows for a more one-on-one contact. Considering that this new generation likes to share ideas, there is a continual exchange and therefore a continual learning process is taking place. With these issues exposed it is clear that business must completely modernize their way of thinking about employees in order to keep them. Therefore, the first step as a consultant must be a thorough assessment of the organization and the issues at hand.
I would need to make some observations for a period of at least one week. This will provide me with the information necessary to see the dynamics of the organization and its employees. Conducting observations for this period of time will also give the employees time to “get used” to me being around and therefore make a shift from working like someone is watching them, to working “business as usual”. However, because Generation Y has an openness and willing to share, they may feel less uncomfortable having a consultant than the Baby Boomer Generation.
While the younger generation may want to show off their work and skills, the older generation may feel exposed or at risk for termination. I would observe the general atmosphere of the company, team interactions, and general proficiency of work. After careful observations, I would review company records in terms of employee recruiting techniques, retention rates, and trainings methods as well as any employee comments, and complaints that might be on file. Things I would look for would include: current trainings, attendance at trainings, and outcomes of these trainings Next, I would conduct employee interviews.
Things I would be interested in would include the employee’s thoughts toward the current way of business, team work activities, and trainings available. This will be an important step in my process. One, because the younger generation will want to feel apart of the process. They will want to voice their opinion. Two, the older generation may not be as eager to participate or voice their true opinion. This older generation may be more apt to sugar coat their true feelings. These interviews will allow me to see the disparity between the two groups, giving me a better view as to where the company is in terms of employee attitudes.
Once the observations, review of the records and interviews are completed, I will have a comprehensive view of the company and I will be able to start where the company currently is. The main issues presented in Hira’s (2007) articles revolved around recruitment and retention. However, to look only at these issues a business will miss a large piece of the picture. Employee’s lives no longer revolve around work but work revolves around the employee’s life. This puts the younger generation at a distinct advantage in terms of employment negations.
Businesses must realize that the exchange of information is happening at a rapid pace and the Generation Y young adults are ahead of the curve on this one. When businesses try to slow these employees down, Generation Y-ers have no qualms over quitting. These new employees know that there is another company who will want them. And in the meantime, they also know they always have mom and dad.
Hira, A. Nadria. “You Raided Then Now You Manage Them”. Fortune. May 28, 2007: 38-46. Spiro, Cara. “Generation Y in the Workplace”. Workplace Transformation. November-December, 2006: 16-19.