Generation Y or Gen Y, also known as millennials, is the fastest growing workforce in the corporate world. Millenials joining your workforce are mainly composed of employees born in the 1980s to 2000s. Why are they called Gen Y? Well they'll always ask you 'Why?' You might often hear: “Why are we doing this?” or “Why should I do this?” from this exceptional, unique and ambitious generation. This new breed of employees demands a higher level of liberty, independence and flexibility in their positions. They don't just simply 'do' what they are told; they need to know when, how and why, before they get started.
This just means they need to be managed differently than previous generations, which is not necessarily a bad thing. By 2025, it is estimated that Gen Y employees will make up 75 percent of the workforce. They also tend to 'job hop' more, staying in one position for approximately two years. For a company, this can be a nightmare in terms of staff retention. So how do you keep a millennial motivated enough to stay in your organisation? Here are seven strategies for managing and retaining a Gen Y in your workplace.
1. Listen to their ideas
8 out of 10 millenials want their organisation to listen to their opinions and ideas. They don't like it when their thoughts go unnoticed. By listening to your employees, you're showing them that they're important to your business. This is one of the easiest strategies to implement. Simply ask them for their feedback on new projects or plans.
2. Work-life balance
Gen Ys are more interested in integrating their job with their family and personal lives. Organisations can keep employees engaged by implementing policies that reflect Gen Y's needs, for example, implementing flexible work schedules in the company. Gen Ys also love doing multiple activities like playing on sports teams and spending leisure time with family and friends.
3. Employee-centred workplace
Gen Y wants to enjoy its work and also make friends in the workplace. It can be worrisome if your millennials aren't participating at company events or not going out with workplace friends for lunch. Gen Y employees want their workplace to be 'fun' and 'social'. Strong work relationships lead to higher employee satisfaction, morale and performance. You can consider regular team-building events to strengthen workplace relationships or even get the team together informally in the workplace, such as at breaks or for important events like birthdays.
4. Continuous learning
80 percent of millennials are typically well-educated and have a higher percentage of university degrees than any generation before them. They understand the need to be continuous learners, in both their professional and personal lives. They are well-trained and have come to expect constant learning and new challenges.
5. Encourage technological skill
Organisations need to allow Gen Y to leverage their technological skills. They are well informed about the latest trends in technology and are also very creative in navigating the latest technological tools available. They may very well be the ones to come up with the most efficient and creative ways of re-engineering business work processes for your organisation.
6. Constant feedback
Due to the role of technology in their lives, Generation Y prefers to receive frequent feedback. Unlike the past, where people received annual reviews, Gen Y needs to know how they're performing much more frequently. While recognition is important to all generations, Gen Y is genuinely motivated by feedback. 95 percent are motivated to work harder when they know the progress of their work. If they feel like they are being recognised for their work, they will work harder for the organisation.
Mentoring is even more important in today's workplace than it was at the time of the baby boomers. Things change so fast, not only in terms of process and technology, but also in the competitive environment that a steady flow of professional guidance is critical to professional survival. Therefore, give your Generation Y employees mentors who can help them make sense of the corporate culture and business decision making.
JOB THEY LOVE DOING
For Generation Y, loving what they do outranks any financial rewards. With half of Gen Y preferring to have no job, rather than holding a job they hate is great news for employers on tight budgets. It allows businesses to offer rewarding roles instead of big salaries to motivate their Gen Y staff.
Generation Y is the future of the workforce. In 2016, Generation Y made up nearly half of the employees worldwide (Harvard Business Press) and businesses can no longer afford to ignore them as a potential pool of talent. Organisations need to understand this in order to survive and sustain in the highly competitive global environment.
Manjur Ahmed is the Head of HR & Admin at Grameen Telecom Trust.