. Knowing the generation Y better will improve an organisation's chances of recruiting and retaining them
. But to know them organisations must move beyond perusing documented information.
The better you know your prospective candidates the better the chances of luring them. The logic is that simple. There is already a lot that organisations know about generation Yers. However, if the intention is to recruit more from this generation, the question to ask is, "What more can we learn about them?" The answer is critical to formulating an effective strategy-one that ensures a competitive edge.
This week's mailer will clue in organisations and their recruiters on the characteristics and quirks of generation Yers. This information should help them realign their existing strategy to recruit successfully and retain them.
Defining the 'Y' cadre
Commonly referred to as "Millennials", "Echo Boomers" and "Net Generation", generation Y constitutes those who were born from 1980 to 1999 and grew up in the 1990s and 2000s. A few well-documented and work-relevant characteristics of this generation are:
. They are more ambitious than the previous generation so much that sociologists call them the overachieving, overscheduled generation
. They like changing jobs, and earned the title "job-hoppers"
. They have great expectations from their workplace as, according to research, "they desire to shape their jobs to fit their lives rather than adapt their lives to the workplace". This outlook is a huge challenge to employers.
The above-mentioned characteristics are well-documented. In fact, most organisations have already realigned their recruitment strategies around them. But there are a few other quirks that are not so well documented but can have an equally huge impact on an organisation's strategy. They are:
Trait: Dependence on parents
Being the products of helicopter parenting, generation Yers find it difficult to wean off parents. This generation does not think much of moving back home after college. Less rebellious than their predecessors, most of them even let their parents decide on where they will work and for whom. That this generation job-hops is a well known fact, but what is undocumented is that their job-hopping is driven by the will to learn. Encouraged by their parents' advice to learn and grow from different experiences, the generation is willing to risk job security and fantastic salaries for the thrill of learning something new. Also the fact that they can fall back on their parents makes them greater risk-takers than their predecessors.
Tip: In getting the Yers to make career decisions, give them time to consult their parents. Encourage them to make those phone calls to their parents from the interview room itself.
Trait: In-box management
It might not appear as an advantage, but the fact that Yers choose to start their work day without a 'to-do' list actually makes them better 'prioritisers'. As a behavioural expert comments, "Baby boomers use their in-boxes and in-trays as to-do lists and go by them on a typical work day. However, Gen Y is sold on the idea of an 'empty box'". This means that what they do is not dictated by what comes into their in-box or in-tray but by what they feel is important. This gives them better control in deciding their priorities and also makes them conscious of managing their work activities based on priorities. In short, they do not work on a first-in, first-out basis but on the "most important comes first" basis.
Tip: Allow Yers the leeway to plan their day. Strict scheduling can frustrate them.
Trait: Women power
Yers appreciate gender equality and have little qualms about women surging ahead as earners. Generation Y women feel more empowered, go solo in making career and personal decisions, and feel less insecure at work. Another observation is that women take a back seat voluntarily when they decide to have children.
Tip: Think of flexible work hours and work-at-home options for new mothers.
Trait: Team spirit
Generation Yers thrive as teams. Probably the first generation to value the importance of team power, this generation appreciates how individual efforts at work multiply when combined with team efforts. So oriented are their efforts to work in teams that team-building and bonding initiatives are only reminders of what they already appreciate. Therefore, where they really need help is in developing their leadership potential.
Tip: Divide everyone into work teams. Even a one-employee function or department can be integrated into a large group.
Some of this information is probably already known but not accounted for as yet. However, what is essential is to be aware of these undocumented generational differences. Organisations must interpret this information to use it as a recruitment advantage.