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Five Ways to Engage Gen Y at Work

1. Keep social media alive and well in the office.

Gen Yers know how to multitask and use technology to their advantage. Social media breaks are the new cigarette breaks — a chance to pause & socialize during the day.

If you block Facebook at work, chances are the Gen Yer will just use his/her phone and you’ll seem “old school” for blocking it. An efficient worker won’t let social media, or anything else, get in the way of their productivity.

2. Ask them for technology expertise & involvement.

We Gen Yers are known as “digital natives.” Don’t miss out tapping us for the ways we can use our social power for your company’s good. Have your Gen Yers manage an internal online forum, start a company Yammer account, or even just be part of the Facebook team.

3. Incentivize — and not just financially.

Gen Yers want to know “What’s in it for me — now?” While this is a transformation for many Gen X and Boomer managers who “paid their dues,” there is a way to turn this mentality into a positive. Gen Yers will climb mountains for small privileges like flex hours, volunteer time during work hours, leadership opportunities or additional company-sponsored education. Not every incentive comes directly as financial reward, and we know professional growth doesn’t just equal cash in our pockets.

4. Allow work shifting.

Being “on the job” 24/7 doesn’t seem that weird or presumptous to Gen Y. We grew up connected to technology and most don’t mind answering e-mail on off days or hours, if that means occasionally work time can be used for personal passions that also help the company (like blogging about Gen Y workplace issues & management…*ahem*).

5. Mentor, guide, lead.

Gen Yers will scream for hands-on management if they don’t get it. My generation is used to personalized attention and constant constructive feedback (no, you don’t have to flatter or constantly praise — but do constantly guide). Take advantage of our engagement and drive to succeed by making sure we have a mentor or team of advisors, maybe even outside of a direct supervisory chain.  This helps the company quickly grow Gen Yers into the best possible employees, a win-win.

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