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Gen Y - 20 November 2007

Generation Y employees are also known as Generation Why. They need to totally understand why they're expected to do something before they embrace it.

One of the most common words spoken by young children is "why" -- especially when they''re about 3 years old. Often we can answer their questions directly - but sometimes we get stuck for a response, and so we reply with "just because".

The same thing happens in the workplace. We "just because" our employees -- usually without even realising it. Here's how:

Decisions: If you can't justify why you're issuing an instruction or if your management style is more authoritative than consultative, then you're "just becausing" your Gen Yers.

Working Hours: Gen Yers demand flexibility more so than any other generation. If you've got strict working hours for no good reason, then you're "just becausing".

Processes: If processes are unnecessarily prescriptive that they leave your employees with no room to think for themselves, then you're "just becausing".

Dress Code: Gen Yers express themselves through the clothes they wear. If their roles aren't client-facing and yet your dress code is non-negotiable, then you're "just becausing".

Feedback: If you give feedback more than you receive it, or if you don't act quickly on the feedback you collect, then you're "just becausing".

Jobs: Work that's boring needs to be spiced up. If you're not offering this highly educated generation with challenges and opportunities, then you're "just becausing".

"Just becausing" is the fastest way to disengage a Gen Yer. Eventually they end up "just becausing" us.


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