Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I want it now! How to motivate Gen Y employees

The generation raised on gizmos and social media need very different handling to their predecessors.

Generation Y, the iPod generation, echo boomers – however you describe them, this new wave of employees is steadily filtering into the workplace. Born to baby boomers, many are recent graduates and students aged around 18-30 years old and it is this generation that will soon be at the heart of a company, leading it forward into the future.

So how can you get the most out of this generation?

1. Know its defining characteristics

Compared to Generation X, people in this group are more likely to put their careers first, postponing marriage and children. They are the social media generation who like to be connected at all times. Socialising, both actual and virtual, is a top priority.

Instant gratification and a hunger for immediate information mean they often resent waiting, something applicable to both their professional and personal life. They often choose to find jobs on a short-term basis, are keen to always remain aware of new opportunities that will help to improve their skill set, and will happily change jobs in order to achieve this. These factors combined mean that retention rates are likely to be lower in this generation and that employers may find they need to work harder to keep them.

2. Adopt a tailored approach

To motivate, engage and inspire people it is naturally important to apply different techniques and approaches depending on various aspects, such as age, sex, geographic location, likes and interests.

Reward and recognition schemes should be tailored to include the needs of Generation Y. But what is it that will have the desired effect in terms of motivating them, and how can employers strive to ensure they get it right?