Thu, Jul 26, 2012
Each summer, hundreds of thousands of graduates flood the workplace with nothing but a degree and a dream of having a great career. An increasingly large percentage (50% of the world’s population is under 30 years old) of the workforce is considered part of Generation Y, a tech-savvy group who craves feedback and reinforcement, and uses humor regularly.
For managers proudly planted in the Baby Boomer Generation or Generation X, communicating effectively with Gen Y employees can be a new experience. Bruce Tulgan, researcher and leader of Rainmaker Thinking, Inc, a consulting firm dealing with today’s multigenerational workforce, has some great tips for managing younger employees.
- Gen Y-ers have what Bruce Tulgan calls “BS detectors” – meaning they appreciate authenticity and can tell when managers aren’t being transparent. Managers should stay away from behaviors that they think will endear them to their younger employees, including badmouthing higher-ups, looking the other way when offering insincere praise or making promises they can’t keep. Build rapport by discussing work, being supportive and making your expectations clear.
- Gen Y-ers often report to multiple managers, and their assignments can pull them in multiple directions – a behavior many haven’t dealt with before, especially if they are in their first “real” job. Bruce Tulgan says they often try to please everyone and end up pleasing no one. To combat these behaviors, ask your Gen Y employee to give you an inventory of all their assignments to help them learn to prioritize. Help educate them to be transparent with their workload, making a habit of giving each manager the same kind of inventory.
- Gen Y employees are easily brought into the social aspect of the workplace, especially if they believe their boss isn’t present or available. This can cause them to focus more on personal relationships than work relationships with their colleagues. Be there for your Gen Y employees and make sure they have plenty of responsibilities, which can encourage them to dovetail their work tasks with colleagues instead of focus on personal matters.
Bruce Tulgan offers a 51-lesson video training called Not Everyone Gets a Trophy: How to Manage Generation Y, and is also available to speak at your next event.