Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Managing Generation Y

As Generation Y begin to represent a greater percentage of the workforce, there is a need for management to evolve to suit them
An interesting and acute article at TopMBA this week

A report published in September 2010 has highlighted the need for management practises to develop in order to suit a growing percentage of Generation Y in the workforce.
The Future of Work, produced by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) found that Generation Y (15 to 30 year olds, born between 1980 and 1995) expect greater freedom in their working environment. If they are afforded that freedom, the report suggests they become more committed, and are more likely to work harder, for longer.

Generation Y’s expectations

“The latest working generation, Generation Y is different to previous generations (Generation X and the Baby Boomers) in their expectations and assumptions,” concludes the IPA’s report. “They don’t want the long-hours culture of presenteeism and working at the same desk.
“They are confident with technology and are comfortable overlapping work and life. They can be flexible if they are offered flexibility in return otherwise they are likely to leave.”
Dr Linda Ronnie, senior lecturer in organizational behaviour and people management at the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Graduate School of Business agrees with the report’s findings, explaining to TopMBA.com that Generation Y workers tend to seek a “a clear career trajectory and development plan,” while completing work that they see as challenging and meaningful.
“In return, Generation Y employees expect the work environment to provide an opportunity for them to apply their skills and for their managers to provide ongoing feedback and support. While these expectations are potentially true for every employee, they are particularly sought by Generation Yers,” Ronnie says.

Advances in technology

Huge advances in technology have defined Generation Y’s youth, encouraging them to reject boredom at home and in the workplace. As a result, employees have become more demanding in the tasks they are given, as they are motivated by personal interest in the work they do explains Dr Katie Best, a Generation Y specialist and director of MBA programs at the private BBP Business School in London.
“Generation Yers are exceptional multi-taskers... they’ve been brought up in the Microsoft Windows world, where you have multiple things on the go at once, but their bosses still think in a very linear fashion. By setting them multiple complex tasks all at once, you’ll get more out of them and get tangible results,” Best claims.
The need for companies to change the way they manage their staff is becoming more and more urgent, as Generation Y grow older and represent a higher proportion of the workers.
“If companies don’t work out how to use them correctly, they will be heading for the wall, because with the oldest of the generation now at 29, they are forming an increasingly large part of the workforce,” says Best. “Balancing the aspirations of the Generation Y employee will re-order the perception of them from ‘problem child’ into ‘valuable employee’.”

MBA programs are evolving

Ronnie notes that the changing ideals of differing generations has also contributed to the evolution of UCT’s MBA program, resulting in greater emphasis on global and ethical management practices.
“The program has shifted as a result of the kind of student we are now teaching,” says Ronnie. “From a program perspective, we are more aware now of the need for ethical leadership for example and our courses reflect that. With our culturally diverse workforce, creating an inclusive environment for employees to grow and flourish is essential and so, for example, this aspect of management is key in my own and other courses.”

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