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Feeling confused by Generation Y?

Margaret Kirby, managing director of the recruitment company iGroup, says Gen-Ys are high maintenance employees but they also present opportunities for employers who are prepared to give them the attention and training they require.


Here's Ms Kirby’s top 10 tips for managing Gen-Ys:


1. Retention starts with recruitment. Gen-Y candidates are interviewing you just as much as you are them. Be upfront about what differentiates your organisation, how your people have developed and progressed and what future opportunities are available to them.


2. Be flexible. Work/life balance is vital to Gen-Y individuals. Develop a flexible work/life plan that suits both them and the company and acknowledge their interests outside of work.


3. Provide the ‘why’. Put the Gen-Y job in context. Provide them with the big picture and then narrow it down to demonstrate the important part they each play in contributing to it.


4. Provide regular and constructive feedback. The once yearly annual review is not enough for Gen-Ys. They require and seek constant feedback and more involved management.


5. Set clear career paths and goals. Set realistic, time-bound goals and make it clear that achievement will equal promotion. Then make a plan with the employee and monitor their progress.

6. Coaching and mentoring appeals to this demographic. Gen-Ys have grown up in the era of self-help gurus and a culture of ongoing personal development. Offering coaching and mentoring will demonstrate that you’re in touch with their needs.


7. Salary, salary, salary. Part of the attraction of a job for Generation Y is the lifestyle it will afford. When setting their salary, make sure you outline financial and professional milestones that they can achieve. Make it clear, however, that more money means longer hours and adjustments to their work/life balance.


8. Develop an organisational culture that is inclusive of everyone. To most Gen-Ys, an inclusive culture is one that rewards individual achievement and promotes on merit rather than tenure. It’s important not only to create a good working environment, but also to encourage flexible working arrangements.


9. Watch your words. As a manager of Gen-Ys, it’s important to lose the “command and control” leadership style and use more emotional intelligence. Gen-Ys are happiest when will feel they are being listened to and respected, and in return, they perform better.


10. Practice what you preach. The more you walk the talk, the greater trust and loyalty you will build with Gen-Y. Be certain to follow your words with action. If you disappoint them, you will quickly lose their respect.