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7 Things You Should Know about Gen Y

7 Things You Should Know about Gen Y

RainmakerThinking, Inc.

March 03, 2008

In the aftermath of graduation time, Generation Y (those born 1978 and later) employees will be streaming into the workplace from the “class of 2005” from graduate schools, four- and two-year colleges, and high schools all over the land. Chances are you’ll be hiring some or many in the near future.

Seven most important things to know about Generation Y employees:

1. They have high expectations, first and foremost, for themselves. They expect to identify problems nobody else has identified, solve problems nobody else has solved, and do things smarter. They expect to prove themselves to themselves and to you. They expect to do more work better and faster than the next guy.

2. They also have high expectations for you. They expect you to keep track of who they are and what they are doing and to help them succeed. They expect you to take note of their success and reward them accordingly. They expect you to be honest and direct and fair and highly engaged every step of the way. They wouldn’t have come to work for you if they didn’t expect these things.

3. They look at every employer as a hub of resources: Learning opportunities, relationship opportunities, opportunities to tackle creative challenges and collect proof of their ability to add value, flexible work conditions, financial and non-financial rewards.

4. The number one question for Generation Y at work is this: “What’s the deal around here?” If you do not answer that question explicitly on a regular basis, you will lose their enthusiasm… followed by losing their commitment. They want to know exactly what you want from them and what you have to offer them—-today, tomorrow and next week.

5. If you want to attract a large enough applicant pool, build a recruiting campaign that answers the question, “What’s the deal?” Then be very, very selective. Speed is important in hiring, but not as important as making good hires. Before you test and interview applicants, first try scaring them away by giving them all the downsides and telling them how very much you expect from them.

6. GenYers want to get on board and up to speed very fast. The worst thing you can do with a GenY new hire is leave them sitting around waiting… Be ready for them when they arrive. Put them into a high activity, high learning environment immediately. Tell them about the mission of the team, the mission of the organization, but tell them where they fit in the big picture. They want to own some task or responsibility as soon as possible, no matter how small it may be. What task or responsibility can you give the new-hire 100% almost immediately? Train them for that task immediately and hand it over.

7. High maintenance is the key to high performance with Generation Y. Gen Y employees thrive on small goals with short deadlines. The number one rule for managing Generation Y: Break it down into smaller pieces. Then break it down some more. Give them one new task at a time, first training them up to speed and then handing it over. That’s what GenY development looks like.

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