Helping Generation Y Make the Transition
Last week, a 23 year old student asked me who was responsible for helping him be productive his first day on the job after graduation – his school, his employer or some other coach/mentor?
Many have noted Generation Y’s – or the Millennial generation’s – expectations of the workplaces they are joining. They are commonly categorized as work-averse, self-centered, catered-to, technologically-addicted workers entering the workforce with minimal experience and expecting maximum benefits.
I don’t actually think this is true. New grads do approach work, peers, bosses, mentors and responsibilities differently than previous generations of employees have, but every generation has its idiosyncrasies. Gen Y-ers are no more or less suited to the world of work than previous generations – they’ve just entered their working years at a very interesting time.
Gen Y-ers are in the midst of a perfect storm:
(1) technology is changing the nature of workplaces (where work is done and how) and
(2) global politics and financial crises are threatening business models (what work is done and why)
Even so, they are the generation of employees who are supposed to be getting the work done.
They are unexposed to what came before social media, 9/11 or Enron. They lack context and experience – just like the generations before them. Many companies have trained their managers about Gen Y-ers. Less common – but essential to corporate success – are programs for Gen Y-ers that help them acclimatize to the work world.
So, who is responsible?