Managing Generation Y: pitfalls to avoid!

A company is made up of all generations, and as it develops it integrates "youth". Generation Y, also known as millenials or digital natives, don't take to working life in the same way as their elders. There's even talk of a "generation clash"! These young individuals from a modern generation are still the talk of the town today. Their main objective is to find a job that offers interesting career prospects while reconciling their personal lives. A generation that intrigues and destabilizes managers! But how do you manage them, retain them and get the best out of them? Want to know the secrets of intergenerational collaboration?

Generation Y: a look back at an intriguing generation

Contextual definition

What hasn’t been said about Generation Y? And above all, his inability to adapt to the company! This generation represents people born between the 80s and 90s, aged between 25 and 40, and is often described as difficult to manage. They are characterized as zappers, therefore adaptable but also ready to make infidelities to their company and less respectful of hierarchy. By breaking codes, it single-handedly transforms the professional landscape and corporate culture.

Moreover, it is above all the generation that precedes Generation X. It is defined as curious and seems to have difficulty entering adulthood. It is defined as curious and seems to have difficulty entering adulthood. She seeks to understand more than she questions, and doesn’t want to repeat the same mistakes as previous generations.

It symbolically represents the headphone wires still inserted in the ears of digital natives.

A clash with the elders

Generation Y raises a lot of questions, as it bears no resemblance to previous generations in terms of lifestyle or professional environment. In fact, it seems that she’s a bit of a handful, being difficult to manage, self-centered and sometimes unstable. In fact, it takes the opposite approach, with the aim of not repeating the same mistakes as its predecessors. A generation in search of meaning, unlike their elders. She has a different view of the hierarchy and a thirst for rapid recognition.

In 1945, General MacArthur stated that "youth is not a period of life, it is a state of mind, an effect of will, an emotional intensity, a victory of courage over timidity, of the taste for adventure over the love of comfort".

The professional expectations and needs of Generation Y

Generation Y individuals need to build together through their social relationships. Their involvement in a company project can be limitless, as long as they find meaning in it and can develop their skills. Committed to strong, responsible values, millennials are evolving in a collaborative corporate environment that’s like them, with a focus on human capital, in which they can flourish.

This generation reveals a strong need for freedom and flexibility. It’s vital that we give them unwavering trust, because without it, it’s virtually impossible to win their loyalty. At the same time, she is looking for a benevolent management style with less authority.

This generation absolutely needs to believe in what it’s doing. His work aspirations can be summarized as follows:

-Be proud of your company and the values it stands for;

– prove yourself and improve your performance;

-good working conditions;

-doing fulfilling, fun work

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Their motto: diversity, mobility and speed!

Generation Y's dilemma

It poses problems for companies because of its need for meaning, its casualness, its individualism, and its fickle behavior. Basically, it’s a generation torn apart! They are very difficult to manage, and the HR function is faced with a complex task: understanding the psychosocial specificities of this generation and analyzing the managerial difficulties it engenders. But above all, to find new motivational levers to activate to ensure efficiency and performance.

Many theorists blame this generation for everything. Nevertheless, it represents the company of tomorrow.

How do you manage Generation Y?

Communicating well with her

Good management requires more communication. Annual maintenance is not enough. It’s all about dialogue and regular feedback to improve everyone’s commitment. Organizing a weekly meeting helps to restore confidence in this generation’s perpetual quest for meaning. Listening to it well can be an effective lever for preparing and welcoming the future.

Good communication is also essential to avoid misunderstandings and possible confusion. Oral communication is preferable to written. This will help identify any misunderstandings. Dialogue must be explicit, and it’s useful to adopt a flexible, direct communication style.

Involve them more and give meaning to their actions

Giving meaning involves :

-define and share the project’s challenges ;

-specify the shared values on which its work is based:

-help the individual see his or her mission

What’s more, once Generation Y understands why they’re doing something, they’re much more inclined to get involved. And don’t hesitate to call on our collective intelligence. Each person’s fresh perspective and collective diversity help the company to become more competitive. For example, the company’s internal tools must enable these young people to give their opinion and get involved in the life of the company. The global corporate spirit can also generate growth and productivity. There’s no doubt about it: co-construction is a real asset to the development of modern businesses.

The professional values most cited by Generation Y are: quality (45%), listening (43%), recognition (39%).

Building trust

Gaining the trust of this generation is imperative to get everyone involved and motivated. To achieve this, we need to set an example through our behavior. Kindness and active listening are indispensable qualities in daily life, particularly for breaking down hierarchical distance and gaining respect. Giving constructive feedback is also very important.

Ensure team cohesion

The manager must ensure a strong team spirit and put all employees on an equal footing, by establishing common values and good practices. To reinforce team spirit, team-building activities help to strengthen bonds and enhance individual skills.

It must support this generation in building team cohesion and team maturity by defining preliminary rules, such as learning to share others’ points of view without judgment, or taking the time to clarify and co-construct the team’s operating rules.

Pitfalls to avoid

Pitfall no. 1: Isolating skills and knowledge

Under no circumstances should they be prevented from evolving or acquiring new skills. The circulation of knowledge must be the key. Used to fending for herself, she aspires to a certain autonomy. Giving them room to maneuver brings a breath of fresh air into the company.

Pitfall #2: Forgetting the meaning

Generation Y is looking for meaning and authenticity. It needs to feel concerned and involved in a project, in the company’s strategy, its vision… It must therefore be given a place in the organization and encouraged to participate in defining objectives. Including them in every decision is the rule.

Pitfall no. 3: Leave no room for freedom

We need to leave the generation free to make proposals. She is accustomed to new technologies and likes to work on lively platforms so that she can exchange ideas with her colleagues. She is also comfortable working remotely. A welcoming workplace is much better than a closed office. Companies therefore need to adapt their organization to these new expectations and motivations, in order to retain committed employees and attract new ones.

Pitfall #4: Not seeing them as partners

Involved in their company, Generation Y employees expect to be seen as partners, not just employees. The manager must therefore communicate regularly both on the work accomplished and on listening to their needs. Middle management must therefore position itself as a facilitator of the employee’s career and coach in day-to-day work. HR needs to include new behaviors in their policies to ensure the engagement of this generation.

Pitfall no. 5: failing to adapt tomorrow's professions

Generation Y isn’t satisfied with just one job or one skill. She has a thirst for continuous learning. The HR function therefore needs to take a fresh look at the jobs of the future, to ensure that this generation retains its loyalty. It’s virtually impossible to stay in the same profession for the rest of your life. Tomorrow’s professions must therefore be adapted.

As you can see, this generation has a lot to contribute, so it’s vital to get to grips with them and stay ahead of the game! Generation Y wants to work differently! Companies need to get to work quickly if they are to appeal to this generation.

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To sum up

En 1 Questions

  • What is Generation Y?

    It refers to an age group that is neither sufficient nor convincing, that has built itself up in reaction to the generation that preceded it. This generation doesn’t necessarily advocate rigorous respect for hierarchy and rules, and unlike Generation X, it doesn’t defend the spirit of individual competition. In addition to the economic context, the digital revolution adds to the singularity of the context in which this generation was born.