Thursday, November 10, 2005

Generation Y:They've arrived at work with a new attitude

Here are some highlights from a recent article in USA TODAY:

They're young, smart, brash. They may wear flip-flops to the office or listen to iPods at their desk. They want to work, but they don't want work to be their life.

This is Generation Y, a force of as many as 70 million, and the first wave is just now embarking on their careers - taking their place in an increasingly multigenerational workplace.Get ready, because this generation - whose members have not yet hit 30 - is different from any that have come before, according to researchers and authors that study the lives of young people.This age group is moving into the labor force during a time of major demographic change, as companies around the USA face an aging workforce. Sixty-year-olds are working beside 20-year-olds. Freshly minted college graduates are overseeing employees old enough to be their parents. And new job entrants are changing careers faster than college students change their majors, creating frustration for employers struggling to retain and recruit talented high-performers. Unlike the generations that have gone before them, Gen Y has been pampered, nurtured and programmed with a slew of activities since they were toddlers, meaning they are both high-performance and high-maintenance, Tulgan says. They also believe in their own worth.

"Generation Y is much less likely to respond to the traditional command-and-control type of management still popular in much of today's workforce," says Jordan Kaplan. "They've grown up questioning their parents, and now they're questioning their employers. They don't know how to shut up, which is great, but that's aggravating to the 50-year-old manager who says, 'Do it and do it now.' "

That speak-your-mind philosophy makes sense to Katie Patterson, "We are willing and not afraid to challenge the status quo," this 23-year old says. "An environment where creativity and independent thinking are looked upon as a positive is appealing to people my age. We're very independent and tech savvy."

Gen Y:
They have financial smarts. After witnessing the financial insecurity that beset earlier generations stung by layoffs and the dot-com bust, today's newest entrants into the workforce are generally savvy when it comes to money and savings. They care about such benefits as 401(k) retirement plans.

•Work-life balance isn't just a buzz word. Unlike boomers who tend to put a high priority on career, today's youngest workers are more interested in making their jobs accommodate their family and personal lives. They want jobs with flexibility, telecommuting options and the ability to go part time or leave the workforce temporarily when children are in the picture.

Change, change, change. Generation Yers don't expect to stay in a job, or even a career, for too long - they've seen the scandals that imploded Enron and Arthur Andersen, and they're skeptical when it comes to such concepts as employee loyalty. They don't like to stay too long on any one assignment. This is a generation of multitaskers, and they can juggle e-mail on their BlackBerrys while talking on cellphones while trolling online. And they believe in their own self worth and value enough that they're not shy about trying to change the companies they work for.

In the workplace, conflict and resentment can arise over a host of issues, even seemingly innocuous subjects such as appearance, as a generation used to casual fare such as flip-flops, tattoos and capri pants finds more traditional attire is required at the office.

And then there's Gen Y's total comfort with technology. While boomers may expect a phone call or in-person meeting on important topics, younger workers may prefer virtual problem solving.

Conflict can also flare up over management style. Unlike previous generations who've in large part grown accustomed to the annual review, Gen Yers have grown up getting constant feedback and recognition from teachers, parents and coaches and can resent it or feel lost if communication from bosses isn't more regular.

To read the entire article click here

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