Counterpoint: Generation Y in the Workplace

Yahoo! published an article on their front page discussing the myths and realities of employing Generation Y. The problem is that the response from their so-called experts is largely wrong. Here is my counterpoint from personal experience:

Myth 1, They’re Disloyal – They are disloyal but it’s not their fault. They’ve entered a workforce and market that has torn down all the institutions that used to keep employees loyal to their employers. They’ve grown up in the era of free agency and act accordingly because companies don’t offer the security and long-term benefits that used to be there. My issue is that they’re not always clear on what is fair compensation. They have hyper expectations that are more appropriate for someone with 10 or more years experience. Most (and I will not say all) expect the world now after six months of showing their abilities.

Myth 2, They Don’t Pay Their Dues – I agree with this point completely. They grow easily frustrated when they’re not in control, when they’re not afforded the ability to lead. They want to run to the front and take over without the tools or the abilities to do so. They get frustrated when they’re held back for appropriate reasons. Again, they appear to be a generation that wants it all now without having to work for years to get it. Success doesn’t come over night…

Myth 3, They Need Constant Praise – This is, without a doubt, true. They want to hear praise when they show up on time, when they perform tasks up to par, when they start a job, when they finish a job. They want praise constantly. The amount of praise they require negates the value of praise. A lack of praise is a scolding in their eyes.

Like past generations they’re smart, energetic, and bring value to organizations. The problem is that baby boomers are trying to recreate the system to appeal to Generation Y. Why not make them adapt the way the rest of us had to. Swallow that ego and work a little. It will give you better perspective and context for decisions in one, three, five, ten years and make you that much more equipped to be the leaders you’re chomping at the bit to be now.

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