I laughed to myself when I overheard that quote on a “Home and Away” episode my Generation Y daughter was watching. She even smiled herself! We laugh because we recognise the element of truth to the statement, but rather than laugh in derision my laugh also contained a note of recognition of the irony contained within it. Having worked in the non profit sector for nearly 30 years I have seen young people invest hours in voluntary work for causes they believe in. This current Generation Y is no exception. If they are inspired to do something they will do it, even if the tangible return to them personally is minimal.
When I hear the statement “Why should I do anything at all?” I don’t just think of Generation Y. I think of the baby boomers or my generation who, when challenged to understand and alter business practice to motivate and inspire Generation Y, respond with “Why should I do anything at all?” The reason is that this generation is increasingly part of the workforce and they come to us with a different mindset or different culture because they have grown up in a different world to us. We all understand that if we are doing business in a foreign culture we must alter our practice to suit that culture. Why is it so difficult to do the same with Generation Y?
Is that to say we must defer to them and their preferences and expect all adaptability to be on our part? Certainly not! Generation Y need to be taught good employee practice. Qualities such as reliability, respect and a good work ethic are as desirable as ever and a manager has a responsibility to expect and teach these qualities.
They also have a responsibility to understand how employees are “wired” and lead in such a way as to best motivate them. Flexibility, collaboration, consultation, integrity and feedback – these are all practices that touch a positive nerve with this generation and can inspire them to perform. Here at Y Consulting we can unpack these ideas further for you, helping to make them practical strategies that succeed in inspiring this generation to work.