ON A RECENT PEAK HOUR TRAIN trip aboard the sardine express, I found myself standing next to two older gentlemen from the Baby Boomer generation. They were discussing management issues in the insurance industry and their disdain at the younger group of middle managers. One of the men began discussing his impending retirement and commented on a junior manager in his early 30s as being an “upstart” and “eager to climb the corporate ladder before his time”. He commented that this person was just like his son and had the attitude of ‘I want it, and want it now’. This ‘upstart’ was clearly a Gen-Y, by what one gentleman said next. [quote float=”right”]”What ever happened to waiting your turn and earning promotion, instead of considering that a senior management position is due after three years of service?”[/quote]
“What ever happened to waiting your turn and earning promotion, instead of considering that a senior management position is due after three years of service?”
It was lost on these two men that it is the Baby Boomers that created this new breed of impatient Gen-Ys. For this reason, wouldn’t it be better to embrace the ‘upstarts’ ambition and add pass on the years of valuable experience via mentorship? An SAP News Center article describes the looming talent crisis, due to the retirement of the Baby Boomers, and it made special mention of how the Gen-Ys, or Millennials as the article describes them, as misunderstood. The millennials, the article went on to say, require special attention from senior executives to address their wants and needs, but on the other hand they are the most tech savvy workgroup in history. So the key to a competitive workforce is the ability to be able to motivate this young, ambitious, but impatient workforce. [quote float=”left”]So the key to a competitive workforce is the ability to be able to motivate this young, ambitious, but impatient workforce.[/quote]
A Harvard Business Review agrees. The author, Vineet Nayar, states that companies should harness the Gen-Ys sense of connectedness to the world and their belief that they, the Gen-Ys, are the agents of change. As companies around the world face constant workplace change, building a coalition of the willing using the Gen-Ys would address the ‘what’s in it for me’ and ‘I want it now’ mentality.
Asian Gen-Ys are not dissimilar from their Western counterparts. Companies with a strong brand, a leadership that has strong communication skills, and the culture to mentor younger staff, are all attractive to the Asian Gen-Ys. This new employee will remain loyal to a company as long as they get want they want, and are treated differently to older workers.
Where these Asian Gen-Ys differ from Western Millennials is in their tech savvy connectedness. New Asian employees value the opportunity to work globally more than Western millennials, which adds an interesting twist to the so called mobile, global workforce. It seems that some regions are more mobile than others. An Ernst & Young Asia survey also showed that the millennials in Asia were concerned primarily about being promoted. Unfortunately, the survey also showed that they were the least hardworking.
Indian Gen-Ys, according to the same study, are also seen as highly tech-savvy and having a desire for success and rapid advancement in the corporate world. The research shows that new Indian employees will stay with a company as long as their ideas are valued. The desire for instant gratification through making money rapidly sits high in their ethos, but that is not unique to Gen-Ys in India. There seems to be little difference between millennials across the world, as was clear from the two whinging Baby Boomers on my train.
[quote float=”right”]Indian Gen-Ys, according to the same study, are also seen as highly tech-savvy and having a desire for success and rapid advancement in the corporate world.[/quote]
Regardless of geographic location the millennials are the future of management in business. The outgoing generation should embrace the diversity of their ‘children’ and prepare them to fill the senior positions for which they yearn. Globally, millennials require constant explanation for why they are doing a task. Managers of Gen-Ys therefore need to constantly clarify the Gen-Y’s role and make adjustments to improve efficiency. The provision of regular and constant feedback, while involving the millennials, will build a positive workplace culture. And when this feedback is being conducted, it’s important to take an interest in the Gen-Y’s career and job progression goals. Managers that adopt this interactive approach, while using emotional intelligence skills, will build engagement and make the Gen-Ys feel that they are appreciated. This sincerity will help build one of the main ingredients of work place satisfaction – Trust.
And with Trust, so much is possible within an organisation – regardless of your generation.