Monthly Archives: November 2020

Understanding GenY

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UNDERSTANDING AND MANAGING GENERATION Y

Born to Baby Boomers who delayed parenthood or had second families after divorce, Gen Yers are dubbed the “Echo Boom” Generation because they replicated the earlier bulge in the birthrate. This large group now comprises 26 percent of the American population. Their generational signposts reflect their experiences as treasured children who grew up amidst unprecedented technological abundance and change.

* Helicopter parents. Driven by a desire to give their children every advantage, the parents of Gen Yers catered to them–to a point where the children sometimes failed to learn responsibility or accountability.

* Columbine High School. Together with other tragedies like the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the 1999 Columbine massacre taught Gen Yers that their parents could not protect them from every danger.

* Technical expertise. Regular computer use is a life law for Gen Yers, who bring value to the workplace through their comfort with and ability to teach applications of technology.

* Online social networking. Nearly 70 percent of Gen Yers use social networking tools every day. They can readily develop new ways to connect with clients and customers if given the opportunity to do so.

* Economic turmoil. Having watched their parents’ nest eggs deteriorate in the economic downturn of the early 2000s, Gen Yers seek financial security. This makes them much less likely to job-hop than Gen Xers.

* Seeking groups. Gen Yers grew up engaging in structured group activities. They want to feel a sense of belonging and camaraderie on the job.

* Integrating life and work. Having grown up with busy, varied, and interesting schedules, Gen Yers quickly lose patience with fixed, cubicle-bound jobs. They work best when they are free to come and go as they please.

* Social responsibility. Two-thirds of Gen Yers want to work for an organization that acts ethically. Their loyalty is enhanced by evidence of social responsibility toward the planet.

* Volunteerism. Meaningful, employer-sponsored community involvement opportunities are extremely attractive options to Gen Yers.

Managing Gen Yers skillfully is critical to today’s organizations, because they will represent the majority of tomorrow’s leaders. Acknowledging that this generation is sometimes in danger of “self-destructing,” the Johnsons strongly recommend helping them integrate into the work setting, providing solid experiences early in their careers, and offering frequent coaching and feedback. Ten other effective tactics include:

1. Create opportunities to bond. A family atmosphere and a sense of community will strongly appeal to Gen Yers.

2. Tell it like it is. Despite being coddled and catered to, these young people want to know the truth, and respect those who give it to them.

3. Avoid the “Good Old Days.” Gen Yers have no interest in reminiscences. They are eagerly capable to live in the present.

4. Create Gen Y friendly rules. Gen Yers become frustrated with stupid rules even more quickly than Gen Xers.

5. Be open to virtual work environments. Gen Yers have an expectation that their organization’s technology will be up to date, and that their managers are open to creative applications.

6. Offer flextime. The ability to plan their own schedules and the freedom to work when they choose are major motivators for this group.

7. Interact often. Gen Yers look for mentors and coaches on the job who will be there for them like their parents were to a similar degree. They wish for support and guidance.

8. Stir up a little fun. When Gen Yers enjoy their jobs, overall attendance at work will increase, and tardiness will decrease.

9. Tell them why. Gen Yers believe they deserve explanations for everything and that their opinions matter.

10. Offer close coaching and guidance. What might seem like micromanaging to older employers will be welcomed as guidance by Gen Yers. At some point, this guidance will lead to their readiness to work more independently.

Understanding GenY

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UNDERSTANDING AND MANAGING GENERATION X

Members of Generation X reached adulthood in the 1980s. According to the Johnsons, however, the effects of their generational signposts have kept many Gen Xers from being entirely “tamed.”

1. Children Became Unfashionable. In stark contrast to the Baby Boomers, Generation X is the smallest generation in recent history. For reasons including parents who worked long hours and a rising divorce rate, many grew up feeling that they were not valued as children, and determined to create a better family life for themselves.

2. The Disillusioning 1970s. Having watched their parents become embittered toward national leaders and struggle through an economic downturn, Gen Xers came to feel they had no one to rely on but themselves.

3. “Sesame Street” Rules. This popular television show, watched by an estimated 77 million Gen X children, taught them that learning should be fun and fast-paced. They have since brought this expectation into the workplace.

4. The Decadent 1980s. Many Gen Xers matured during the boom years of the 1980s, acquired a taste for the good life, and are willing to work for it.

5. Latchkey Kids. Nearly half of Gen Xers had no parent at home after school. Consequently, they became highly independent workers.

6. The 1990-1991 Recession. Despite years of commitment to their companies, many parents of Gen Xers were laid off during the early 1990s. These children reacted with limited loyalty to their own employers.

In order to effectively manage Gen Xers, it is important to recognize that they respect accomplishment over titles, and prioritize work-life balance. They respond well to those who understand what they want out of life. There are ten successful Gen X management tools for managers to consider:

1. Give them individual recognition. Gen Xers appreciate any and all opportunities to stand out.

2. Create collegial teams. Gen Xers welcome support, reciprocity, and well-established team mentalities.

3. Establish a meritocracy. Gen Xers are extremely resentful of patronage and other forms of unfair advantage.

4. Support their lifestyle. Money is important, but Gen Xers also want to have fun at their jobs and be able to have rich family lives.

5. Provide schedule flexibility. Offering telecommuting and other flexible options can be the key to keeping a talented Gen Xer.

6. Help them prepare for their next job. Gen Xers do not expect loyalty from any employer. Instead, they value training that will keep them marketable if and when they need to find another job.

7. Vary their experiences. Gen Xers want to acquire as many experiences as possible to maximize their long-term career potential.

8. Apply “Donald Trump Training.” Gen Xers respond well to being given apprentice tasks and then allowed to sink or swim on their own.

9. Get rid of stupid rules. Partly because they were often alone as children, Gen Xers learned to create their own rules. They have little patience for others’ rules that make no sense to them.

10. Coach office politics. Most Gen Xers lack political savvy and need help to find their way through the corporate jungle.