Managing Different Generations in the Workplace: Part TwoIn the first article of our four-part series on communicating with employees of different generations, we examined the unique characteristics of Generation X. Following the determined and work-driven perspective of the baby boomers, Gen Xers enjoy a happy learning medium of experience and ingenuity. But what about Generation Y, the age group often referred to as Millennials?
Generation Y has proven to be vastly different from its predecessors, carving a distinct niche for working millennials. Let’s discuss how to communicate with these tech-minded individuals.
Growing Up with Technology
Born between the years 1981 and 2000, millennials have a strong grasp on the kind of hardware and software currently utilized in today’s workplace. Unlike the baby boomers and Gen Xers, Gen Y has had its fingers on the pulse of technological advancements from an early age. Because of this, the best way to coordinate training with these learners is through mobile or Web-based platforms. Millennials feel more involved and digest information at a faster rate when it’s shared electronically. Training magazine recommends engaging and improving effective communication skills with Gen Y by conducting quick research by smartphone using polls and quizzes.
However, remember that Gen Y employees are bombarded with digital information every day, and they’re adept at weeding out what's pertinent and what’s "spam." Whether you’re designing training materials or constructing presentations, make sure the information is concise and to the point.
Millennials need more than competitive salaries and rewarding work experience to be satisfied - this generation needs to be more engaged in the training process. Leverage this by having millennials take the lead in new training programs. Gen Y is a valuable resource for guiding more senior colleagues in using tablets and Internet systems, the Philadelphia Business Journal explains. Allowing millennials to help train their peers creates an environment that breeds trust and communication among co-workers.
Bridging the Communication Gap
Gen Yers have been maligned by some researchers as possessing a "very inflated sense of self" and being "a pampered and nurtured generation," according to Psychology Today. This misconception may stem from millennials’ understandable desire for consistent and meaningful feedback on their work. Acclimated to the immediate feedback loops of social media, video games and other interactive platforms, millennials thrive in responsive environments. As a result, email becomes very useful for managers. Not only does it allow for a responsive environment, but Gen Yers are characterized as more likely to respond to electronic correspondence than phone calls or physical meetings.
Gen Yers are a group of unique individuals that like to interact with peers and lean on creativity to get tasks done. Fueled by collaboration, Generation Y thrives from active training lessons that bring them together in a room to chat and role-play. Managers must use this to their advantage by designing exercises that feed into the social and improvisational strengths of millennials, as opposed to the self-reliant, structured approach of Generation X. Stick with us to learn about millennials’ not-so-distant cousin: Generation Z.