We’ve all heard the standard complaints about members of Gen Y (or "Millennials," if you prefer) - they’re disloyal, lazy, have short attention spans, you practically need to throw parades when they accomplish the simplest tasks, they want the top job on day one, don’t respect experience, won’t be long term employees, are only motivated by money, need work to be fun.
But Is Gen Y Getting a Bum Rap?
Are the things Gen Yers demand from employers really so different fro the things Gen Xers want (and are too scared - or polite - to ask for)?
Millennials have a questioning mentality - in the revolutionary, anarchic, 60’s sense. Why is there no natural light in my cubicle? Why can’t I manage the team instead of him? Where is my electric company car? Why should I cut my hair, man?
All poor Gen X got was a swivelly chair and a muffin on their birthday.
Remember to Push Their "Like" Button
Managers need to recognize Gen Y’s undoubted abilities and manage them effectively.
We know that if Millennials aren’t positively challenged and appreciated they’ll get bored and frustrated and leave (instead of hanging on, bored and grumbling in frustration around the water cooler like Gen X). Gen Y needs instant feedback.
The metaphorical back-pat has to happen as soon as a task is completed, and preferably in public. You need to push their ‘like’ button.
Work Life Blur
While Gen X was all about work-life balance, Gen Y doesn’t make much distinction between the two.
Gen Y is connected. The Gen Yers are all Facebook buddies. They follow the world’s influencers, text and Skype and take photos of EVERYTHING. They blog, post and tweet what they’re thinking; often while they’re thinking it.
Their aspirations usually apply across both their professional and private lives; there’s no work-life split.
5 Millennial Performance Management Lessons
- Performance management should focus on collaboration, sharing goals organically and creating transparency.
- Make sure that your performance management approach allows anyone to question the status quo, and then grow from there.
- Performance management needs to provide feedback frequently (and even publically!) not save it up until the end of a period. And it should recognize that feedback creates stimulation - it encourages work!
- Performance management needs to focus on outcomes, not compliance.
- Performance management should include recognition of achievements beyond role requirements (& even beyond the organization.)
A Word of Caution for Managers
Gen Y stands up to poor leadership. If they are unhappy they will blog, post and tweet about it. Will your organization stand up to that scrutiny?