I am going to confess upfront that I’m a Baby Boomer. I like being known as the group that questioned authority and highly influenced corporate reform. I enjoy being a member of a group that is strong in number and continues to impact and redefine how life is lived. We are the largest group in the workforce….uh, until now.
Millennials, Gen Y, Engagement
Labor statistics tell us that 8,000 Baby Boomers are retiring EACH DAY. Enter Generation Y, also referred to as the Millennial. Gen Y is the largest segment in the overall workforce. Look around you at work. Gen Y is there in a significant way. Gen Y’ers are the 20 and 30 year olds showing up on teams throughout your organization, including your leadership teams. So here are tips on how to keep them because….we need them.
Meaningful Work – Gen Y embraces making a difference. Gen Y’ers are attracted to corporations involved in volunteerism, being “green”, and with community responsibility activities. Another side to meaningful work is helping Gen Y connect how their specific job tasks and work make a difference to the organization’s goals and achievements. Help Gen Y see how they make a difference to the company and the community.
Technology – the PC and Mac were born during the Gen Y birth years. They’ve always had access to email and Beta has always been a preview version of software and not a VCR format. Technology isn’t a privilege. It’s a “no brainer” to Gen Y that technology is a part of their work tools. Also, Gen Y defers to technology to do things. For example: when asked to reach someone quickly, Ping, IM, or Text are some of Gen Y’s main default communication methods…be open to the presence of technology as they norm for Gen Y.
Teams – Gen Y has been on sports teams, play groups, school project teams, and social networks their entire life. As a result, they crave collaboration, feedback, and information from others at any time. Encourage teamwork and create teams. Everyone is equal on the team. Be open to Gen Y not seeing hierarchy in the organization. They’ve had immediate access to coaches, teachers, principals, parents, mentors every step of the way. They’ve been encouraged and welcomed to approach people regardless of that person’s position. Millennials also seek peer affirmation. 70% of Millennials are more excited about a decision they’ve made when their friends agree, compared with 48% of non-Millennials.
The statistics just quoted are from research from the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Click this link for interesting insights into Gen Y. Their research gives insights into setting up environments where the largest group in the workforce can thrive.