The so-called Generation Y (i.e teenagers to young adults) appear to have a very different out look on work and life when compared to those who have been working for 10-15 years or more.    They care less about salaries and more about flexible working, time to travel and a better work-life balance.  They appear to want to ‘work to live’ rather than ‘live to work’.

As a consequence they can be perceived by managers (many of whom are Baby Boomers or Generation X) as people who:

  • Don’t want to follow the rules
  • Can’t always be counted on
  • Have short attention spans
  • Are short on ‘manners’
  • Are not prepared to work hard or put themselves out

However, this is a group that will constitute the majority of the workforce within the next decade, and therefore cannot simply be ignored.

So what should you do? How do you engage staff who appear to have a different set of values from your own?

Let’s take training as an example.  More and more businesses, regardless of size and industry, see the value of training their staff. The training will range from mandatory training like health and safety through to other topics such as personal and management skills training.  However, the key question is, ‘does your training actually reach, engage and motivate your target audience (Generation Y employees) and thereby add value to your business?’

Thinking about training in marketing terms, if you want to sell your products or services,  you investigate what market you want to go into and then tailor your product or service to meet that market’s needs. The same can be said for training. Quality training that adds value to your business is one that looks at the specific needs of your employees and then is delivered in a way that gets “buy-in” from the group.

Generation Y, just like any other particular group of people, have different needs and they have to be reached in different ways. Reviewing such things as the message, the environment, the delivery method in relation to your target audience will help your business get the most out of training its Generation Y employees.

The same can be said for all other aspects of employee engagement.  Spend time with your Generation Y employees to understand their needs, aspirations and perspectives and work with them in way that will benefit both them and your organisation.

Understanding Generational differences and motivations has never been more important than in the current working environment, so to get the best from every generation equip your managers with the skills they need with our Understanding Generational Differences and Motivations half day in house course.