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McCrindle Research on Gen Y

Generation Y has a reputation for little company loyalty and poor job commitment. Clearly Generation Y have a shorter tenure in a job but the cause isn’t so much a lack of loyalty or commitment but a desire for variety, challenge, and change.

This high job mobility is not just a factor of being young, but also a factor of the new career expectations, today’s market opportunities and a solid job market created by these economic and demographic times. In other words don’t expect the Gen Y’s to “get over it” and settle down. We’re talking lifestyle not life stage.

The world for Generation Y has become incentivised. Customer loyalty is bought with frequent buyer programs, points, or discounts. And so is employee loyalty. By understanding and meeting their needs, and motivating through relevant reward and recognition strategies, retention can be heightened.

Mentoring is a great vehicle for values sharing and knowledge transfer. However rather than just the traditional “older manager mentors younger employee” set up, some reverse mentoring where the knowledge flows both ways. Let the older share experience and expertise while the younger can give insights into engaging with their generation and the new times.

While derided as fickle, self-focussed, and transient the reality is that they just reflect their times. Economic cycles come and go, jobs aren’t guaranteed, and profits are seemingly pre-eminent – so it is not an inherent selfishness but a response to the corporate realities. When managers step from behind the corporate image and build staff rapport and relate to individuals then loyalty and commitment from Gen Y can indeed be garnered.

Generational trends are not like a pendulum that swings back and forth. Their focus on; work/life balance, flexibility, flat structures, social environment, fun culture, and access to information reveals permanent priorities.

For Generation Y their employment matters to them and it is a major part of their life. However it is not their life – but rather it provides the funds to fuel their life. Therefore a career that allows them the opportunity to continue the other aspects of their life stage whether they be educational, social, spiritual, or entrepreneurial is highly attractive.

Gen Y generally has a strong relationship ethic. They are collaborative learners, enjoy working in teams, and thrive in a relaxed consensus-driven group.

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Good post. You hit a lot of the key pieces of Gen Y. Like all generations we are a product of youth plus the history and technology that we grew up with.

I always find examples are a great way to talk about Gen Y – ask a senior manager about their Gen Y child/nephew/neighbor, etc – and they usually talk about how great and smart they are. Use that as a starting point to Gen Y in your workplace.

Sharon Tewksbury-Bloom

I have done a presentation on targeting Gen Y / Millenials as volunteers and I make an argument in that that we are self focused but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think a lot of the reason we are self focused is that we are able to pick from so may good options.
Take volunteering. Gen Y is volunteering in larger numbers than any other since the Great Generation. But we volunteer in a different way. We know that there are lots of places to volunteer, many worthy causes which we support. So we are more likely to find one that is well managed, flexible, GenY friendly, a good career builder, perhaps comes with perks, etc. We are savvy consumers.
That does not mean we are not generous, dedicated to service, or not willing to commit.