to the wider business. Tat way, the employee will see that they are part of a much bigger team that is working towards a common goal, and that their individual tasks could possibly play a role in the company’s future. Such ownership of tasks and responsibility for wider business goals is likely to motivate Gen Y employees, as well as build their leadership capabilities.

Avoid generalisations

Understand what motivates individual Gen Y employees. Tey are not all the same and have different aspirations compared to their predecessors. Research6

has shown

that there is a strong disconnect between what young employees want from their careers and what employers often believe they want.

Gen Y seeks autonomy and flexibility in work, with employees preferring to dictate their own work/life balance

❝ For instance, a recent study7

showed that according to employers, wanting to be a manager and leading their own team is a key motivator for millennials. However, the employee side of the research demonstrated that having a work/life balance and a sense of fulfilment at work was a crucial long-term motivational factor for Gen Y employees. Terefore, identify what is unique about your Gen Y team members and why they are attracted to your sector. Aligning your business objectives to their career goals is then likely to become a lot easier.


Do not just provide the option to work remotely or use flexible working hours – encourage it. Numerous studies8

have shown that Gen Y seeks

autonomy and flexibility in work, with employees preferring to dictate their own work/life balance. Foster a stimulating mobility culture that allows your Gen Y employees to work away from their desks and in ways that work best for them and allow

16 | july 2016 |

them to thrive. Employees who are happy and comfortable in not just their jobs, but also their lifestyles, are likely to benefit your business the most. Also, it is highly likely that as they grow into leadership roles, mil- lennials will want to challenge what will seem to them as archaic practices. Te sooner that organisations adopt and encourage management styles that are open and flexible, the more likely they will be able to retain high potential Gen Y employees.

Be open and transparent

Tis does not mean revealing confidential information where doing so is not required. However, it does mean being ready to provide a rationale for why you are asking for a task to be done, or why you do not see something the way your Gen Y colleague sees it. Gen Y employees respond best in an open environment, where questions can be asked freely and social barriers are limited. Tis is primarily because they have been raised to question and expect their colleagues to answer freely. While they are not known for being diplomatic with their words and often ‘say it as it is’, they also like and want feedback on their own work. Remember that millennials do value and respect experience, which is why they are keen to gain insight and learn how to accomplish tasks from those who are more experienced than them.

Don’t change them – engage them

Te ‘entitlement’ frame of mind which often throws employers off can actually help you get to the root of a Gen Y colleague’s perspective. Imagine this – following a year on the job, your Gen Y employee requests a promotion. Should you give them that promotion, this could disrupt your management culture. Other employees have not secured promotions so early on in their jobs at your company. What do you do? Te Gen Y employee is driven, confident, hardworking and commit- ted, but based on your experience, you feel that it may be too soon for them to take on a more senior role. Te key here is to lead them down the path to a logical decision. Ask them why they feel they deserve a promotion. For example, what skills

have they acquired in their first year on the job that makes them feel ready for their promotion? Millennials do not necessarily look for long, carefully planned careers – very often, they are on a search for varied, interesting experiences and projects, which could be made accessible to them without the need for a promotion.


With multigenerational workforces increasingly becoming a reality for businesses in the UK and globally, it is essential to move towards a collab- orative system of working. Millennials work best in teams and like to bounce off ideas – sometimes without thinking them through, mainly because they


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