Meet Gen-Yers on their turf

June 12, 2011
Filed under: Coach's Corner — Tags: , , — jonimar @ 4:00 pm

Q: I’ve been a CEO for a long time and frankly this generation has me stumped. Our new hires are 20-somethings. I hate to stereotype but they seem arrogant and self absorbed. During an interview one candidate even checked a text message on his phone! How do I manage and motivate them?

A: Generation Y are whiz kids raised on instant gratification where a click of a button gave them access to everything. They have short attention spans, which makes them excellent multi-taskers.

If you want to reach them, meet them on their turf. They respond better to an instant message or text than a phone or face-to-face meeting. Be brief. They speak in shorthand, processing information quickly. What you may be interpreting as disrespect is their chomping at the bit to take action.

They work best in an open, energetic atmosphere. They love to participate, not wanting to miss out on anything. They thrive in an entrepreneurial environment where they are empowered and rewarded for their individualism.

Salary is less important than meaningful work where they’re recognized for the difference they make. They are motivated by a management style that mentors and develops them professionally. Inspiring leadership can unleash tremendous productivity. When they’re engaged, they willingly work after hours as long as they can check their Facebook status at work.

Sharp, highly creative and ambitious, they crave variety and challenge. If they aren’t given the chance to advance they’ll be out the door. They know they don’t have to go far to replace an aging boomer. With 1,000 retiring each day in Canada, you’ll need to continue meeting the key retention question: “What’s in it for me?”

Originally printed in The Province, June 12, 2011


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