South Africa is a young country with the median age reported to be 25. This means the majority of the workforce is at this age and will keep getting younger.
Whenever there are discussions about Generation Y and the Millennials they are rarely positive. From parents and psychologists to employers and social commentators this generation is viewed as fame hungry and frivolous. Well, though it is a harsh and gross generalisation I still find it short-sighted and lacking in ambition to have your life's goal and purpose set at "to be on a reality show."
In this article this generation is described as: "born between 1982 and 2005, they are known for their sense of entitlement, outspokenness, inability to take criticism, and technological sophistication."
On one hand this is great for the world. We need outspoken people who are technologically advanced and value individualism. But on the other it's worrisome, what do you do with employees who can't take criticism and are entitled? Dubbed as the "most high-maintenance, yet potentially most high-performing generation in history" by Fortune Magazine this generation has great potential to offer the world.
So how does an organisation or you as manager get the best out of Generation Y employees?
1. Let them know that what they do matters.
They need to know that they aren't wasting their time with your organisation in a meaningless position that doesn't contribute to the greater good.
2. Make the workplace fun.
When the office becomes a dreaded place and all about punching the clocking and watching the time then these young employees will soon get bored and you don't want a bored Gen Y employee.
3. Learn their language - communicate in terms they understand.
Not only will this make them feel valued as members of your team but they will also take pride in the company's culture. They will realise they're important members of the organisation and that you want to grow with them.
4. Model behaviour - don't expect one thing out of them that you don't and won't deliver yourself. Be the example.
Like Generation X before them hated establishments the idea of being institutionalisedGen Y hates anything fake, which urban dictionary describes as: "A fake person is someone who is not genuine and will do whatever it takes to make themself look good. They will take credit for other's work or down play the good of others to illuminate oneself. Fake people take part in hipocrisy, lies, and will turn on friendship the moment it no longer is a benefit for them. They will change thier personality to fit in to a certain group." So if you expect them to act a certain way because those are or orgasational values, you better act the same too.
There are more tips here.
I feel positive about Gen Y.