Generation Y employees bring a new perspective to a business. Young employees are usually welcome for being tech-savvy and their knowledge of all things digital. But they also bring a unique set of expectations to the workplace. “Gen Ys” grew up with unprecedented access to technology and information, don’t hesitate to challenge authority and expect their opinions to be heard. If you want to make your business attractive to young talent, here’s what you need to do:
1. Be flat
Unlike their parents’ generation, Gen Ys are more comfortable in organisational structures that are less hierarchical and have fewer layers of management. For a generation that grew up with the ability to broadcast their opinions and thoughts through blogs and social networks, a top-down organisational structure feels restrictive and hampers creativity. A flat model encourages all team members to contribute ideas and perspectives. It empowers them to get involvedin the decision-making process. Elevating the responsibility of all team members makes employees feel more invested in.
2. Be mobile
Gen Y entered the workforce as mobile phones and laptops were becoming universal productivity and entertainment tools. For these digital natives, concepts like ‘being tied to your desk’ and ‘leaving work at the office’ are outdated and illogical. Gen Ys are happiest when they have the freedom, flexibility and trust to work wherever they are most productive. Offer your employees access to the technology they need to be mobile – laptops, tablets, smartphones – and the cloud-based tools they need for project management, document control and communication, and they will be able to collaborate as effectively when they are halfway around the world (or at Starbucks) as when they are in the same room.
3. Be social
Gen Y is exceptionally active on social media, with four out of five upscale Gen Yers using Facebook every day. Some experts even predict that communication on social networks will replace email in the near future. While I don’t agree that we’ll see the end of email any time soon, there’s no question that new social media-related communication channels are playing an increasinglyimportant role in business. Open communication platforms enable us to pick up on conversations directed towards someone else. This enables employees to take initiative, share knowledge and be part of a bigger picture.
4. Be transparent
Gen Ys were raised to ask questions and expect the information they are looking for to be no more than a few clicks away. When management acts as the gatekeeper for information, it doesn’t go over very well with Gen Ys, who see access to information as a right. In some cases access to sensitive information must be kept to a minimum, but in general making information more accessible by all project team members encourages feedback and builds trust in the team.
Mattias Hallström is the founder and head of research & development of online collaboration tool Projectplace.
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