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Generation Y seeks job flexibility and mentorship

April 9, 2013
Business in Vancouver

You want to get the best out of every person you hire. When it comes to generation Y, you can take steps to help workers – and your business – succeed.

“Gen-Yers, born between 1980 and 2000, are entrepreneurial, creative and techno-savvy,” said Royal Roads University School of Business associate professor Carolin Rekar Munro. “Using social media isn’t so much a tool as an extension of who they are.”

Gen-Yers, she adds, are adept multi-taskers who are hungry for change, value civic duty and environmental responsibility, are curious about other cultures and have high expectations of themselves and their work environment.

“Employers can engage gen-Yers with varied and challenging work, mentoring opportunities, realistic expectations of how they can add value to the organization and plenty of immediate and direct feedback on how they’re doing,” Rekar Munro said. “Autonomy, too, is crucial.”

Seeking a workplace with less policies and procedures that control what people can and cannot do, generation Y is motivated and inspired by more flexibility, fewer levels in hierarchy and international/entrepreneurial projects.

“They want to mean something to your business,” she said. “Encourage them to share suggestions, insights and opinions to help drive the strategic direction of your company.”

Since formality can quiet gen-Y workers, Rekar Munro recommends opening new channels of communication that encourage frequent and casual conversation.

“People in the workplace may be somewhat frustrated by generational differences. Water-cooler discussions can help all generations understand each other: what they value, what they bring to the table and how they’d like to collaborate.”

Tips - What gen-Yers look for in the workplace

  • mentoring to support personal growth and professional development;
  • high degree of flexibility and balance between work, learning and life;
  • various perks and benefits, financial and otherwise; and,
  • an organization that will support them in creating a life with meaning