“Generation Y” is widely used in reference to persons born between 1978-2000. Much to the displeasure of many older workers, Generation Y-ers are now of working age and some older workers have referred to them as “Generation Y Slackers”. Why are they referred to as slackers? Some older workers have said: (a) They act overly entitled. As if we owe them this job (b) They leave dead on time at 5 or whatever specified time and seem to dislike going “above & beyond” for work (c) Their work ethic seems that much “off” all the time.
So how do you older workers deal with your co-workers that you refer to as “Generation Y slackers” … and get them working the way you used to work when you were their age? Here are a few pointers:
- Try to understand them. Get to know those that work closely with you, try to see what makes them tick and how their minds work. It will go a long way towards helping to guide your decisions and mental processes as it relates to dealing with them on a daily basis.
- Think idealism and mentoring. Some Generation Y-ers are leading the charge on going “green”. Work with their strengths … look for areas of particular interest to them such as recycling.
- The reality is that they are typically high-performance. Understand that this generation stands to be the most productive of all prior, so yes they may seem high-maintenance, but that will typically come with high-performance, so try to find the balance.
- They are typically tech savvy, and this usually brings more pluses than negatives. Find the way forward with this in mind.
- They are typically most productive in environments where creativity and independent thinking are looked upon as positive and appealing. Where possible at all, this should be included in the way forward for your department / company.
- They have financial smarts and care about benefits such as 401(k) retirement plans. Use these benefits as motivators for Generation Y-ers.
- They typically like to multi-task, and don’t like to stay too long on any one assignment. Challenge them in this regard.
- Be flexible. Yes the standard was to wear a tie or heels when you were their age, but if these dress code requirements are simply just that, and presentation is not that critical (for e.g. they don’t interface with clients / customers), then you should consider relaxing the dress code. Not go grunge .. but make it less stiff and more comfortable / relaxed.
Basically you should look at Generation Y-ers as Generation X on steroids. Some may seem like “slackers”, but ultimately Generation Y employees can be a powerful force in your department / office … more powerful than all other classes of workers. Set the bar high, motivate them and reward them well, and you should be seeing a serious improvement to your bottom line. We hope the tips above were useful.