Retaining Generation Y in the Work Force
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Published: Thu, 15 Mar 2018
Generation Y that closely referred to as millennial is latest member in the multigenerational workforce. In fact they are the newest and the last members of the workforce, born between 1982 and 2003. Although they grew up with technology and never knew a time without mobile phones and the internet, they have some values held by traditionalists like patriotic and willing to fight for freedom. They often think in bullet points and are ravenous researchers. Speed is important and they prefer rapid feedback. Moreover, they perform best when their abilities are identified and matched with challenging work.
Until recently, companies all over the world have been wrestling with the challenge of attracting, managing and retaining the next generation of workers. Members of Generation Y have an incredible amount of talent but they also have incredibly high expectations about their work environment, growth opportunities and rate of advancement. To some extent, the recession has pushed this issue out of the spotlight as companies shift their focus to downsizing. The issue really has not gone away. Although there might be a near-term surplus of labor, good talent is always in short supply and in the future, more and more of that talent will come from Generation Y. Companies must step up and put their focus on Generation Y workers and cater to their needs. The other question is should they just dismiss the issues as just another generation gap that will eventually fade away. Generation Y is too big to ignore.
As a group, they are nearly as large as the baby boomers generation. As such, generation Y will make up an increasing part of your workforce. Generation Y has a lot to offer. They are confident, connected, optimistic and technical savvy. Generation Y would also be a growing part of your customer base and becoming increasingly influential factor that affects the buying process. We say that technology is becoming a critical factor for business success, on view of the fact that when these different workforces will work all together, the multi generational differences in attitudes, approaches, and styles related to work could create conflicts that in turn could considered as potential threats against reaching organizational goals. Besides, this situation will decrease or even destroy employee’s motivation, as we know motivation can be induced by the employer or reside within the employee and the key to motivating employees is remembering that not all employees are the same. In order to achieve motivation, managers must know each employee and must have a wide range of motivational techniques available, since each employee has a different set of values and personal experiences that brought them to where they are today. If management could come up with these actions, they could raise the organization towards its goals.
In addition, for most companies retaining talent and developing future leaders are organizational goals, hence to meet these goals, companies must understand the needs of today’s diverse workforces. Since failure to embrace these differences will result in not only having limited talent required for success, but also an employee population that is not engaged as they could be. Therefore, the level of engagement is critical to an organization’s overall activities. In this study, we have investigated about behavioral differences that could lead to diverse motivational levels, retention strategies in challenging labor shortage, and the effected of leadership to management style in that by knowing about these conditions, the organizations not only could prevent the failures that are more probable for them, but also could achieve their goals more rapidly. As such to be successful in managing generation Y, employers needs to know how to attract, retain and motivate these leaders of the future.
Generation Y has been deeply affected by several trends of the 1990s and 2000s: a renewed focus on children, family, scheduled and structured lives, multiculturalism, terrorism, heroism, patriotism, parent advocacy, and globalization. Coincidentally, Generation Y has been socialized with several core messages: be smart – you are special, leave no one behind, connected 24/7, achieve now, and serve your community (Raines, 2002). It tends to ignore traditional media and advertising channels, play video games, and watch DVDs rather than listed TV programming. Those in Generation Y tend to live with their parents before college, plan to return to their parents’ home after college, and are less at home in the real world than in the virtual world – in which they spend more than six hours a day online. As a consumer, Generation Y is likely to be independent and not brand loyal. Traditional at home, it tends to be nontraditional and sophisticated in the marketplace (Weiss, 2003).
Generation Y’s entrance in to the workplace would seem to present many opportunities in today’s ever-more competitive organizations in which high-performing workers are an asset, and demographic shifts point to impending labor shortages. Generation Y workers would seem to be a timely addition. They tend to be goal-oriented (Southard and Lewis, 2004) and interested in self-development and improvement. They are likely to have high expectations of personal and financial success, feel that hard work pays off, and have a get-it-done result-producing attitude (Breaux, 2003). They are inclined to plunge into work they find interesting and important even when they know little about it (Lewis, 2003).
Some of Generation Y’s characteristics may make it easier to manage than Gen X. Generation Y tends to value teamwork and fairness and is likely to be more positive than Gen X on a range of workplace issues including work-life balance, performance reviews, and availability of supervisor (What You Need to Know, 2003). Moreover, Generation Y descriptors include attributes predictive of high performance. Generation Y workers are inclined to he sociable, hopeful, talented, collaborative, inclusive, and civic-minded. In addition to being well educated and technically savvy, they tend to be open-minded, achievement-oriented, and able to work on parallel tasks (Raines, 2002). Cautiously they are optimistic and enthusiastic about their future. Generation Y is likely to have a solid work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit. At the same time, it tends to acknowledge and admire authority, especially Traditionalists. Strength, cooperation, energy, conformity, virtue, and duty tend to be among Generation Y’s values (Pekala, 2001).
Generation Y has a strong sense of company loyalty, is at least as satisfied with supervisors as are older workers, is as content as the others with the amount of praise received, and is as satisfied as the others with amount of vacation time and work flexibility or hours required. Additionally, Generation Y feels no more workplace stress than the other workers and is as satisfied as the others with retirement and health benefits (Saad, 2003).
At the same time, Generation Y’s entrance to the workforce seems to present some challenges. Although Generation Y workers tend to be more positive than Gen X about working in general, Generation Y tends to be less satisfied than Gen X with their jobs and employers. The survey described earlier in this paper pinpoints several dimensions of that dissatisfaction. Further, Generation Y is more open than Gen X to leaving for something better. Generation Y is likely to equate job satisfaction with a positive work climate, flexibility, and the opportunity to learn and grow more than any prior generation. Generation Y tends to have less respect for rank and more respect for ability and accomplishment. It is likely to trade more pay for work it feels is meaningful at a company where it feels appreciated (Alati, 2004). Generation Y tends to value respect and wants to earn it. Acknowledgement and freedom to perform as it finds best tend to matter to Generation Y, too (Dealing with Your New Generational Mix, 2004).
Additionally, Generation Y workers are likely to dislike menial work, lack skills for dealing with difficult people, and be impatient (Raines, 2002). Less than half of this youngest generation describe themselves as confident or prepared to enter the workforce. Their strong technical skills are not matched by strong soft skills such as listening, communicating, independent thinking, being a team player, and managing time (Pekala, 2001). Mercer Human Resource Consultant’s 2002 People at Work Survey found Generation Y rating employers lower than other employees do on being treated fairly, getting necessary cooperation from others, and having opportunity to do interesting and meaningful work (The Next Generation, 2003).
Moreover, Generation Y workers tend to look for instant gratification rather than long-term investments of time and effort (Southard and Lewis, 2004). In addition to demanding immediate rewards, they are likely to prefer special projects rather than “dues-paying chores.” They often prefer being given time off to receiving money; putting in face time tends to puts them off. Accustomed to coming, going, and staying as needed, and being involved when present, Generation Y workers tend to be constant negotiators and questioners. As one author describes it, “The forty hour workweek doesn’t apply . . and ‘how’ meetings become “why’ meetings”(Lewis, 2003). Intergenerational management expert Bruce Tulgan describes the resulting challenges of Generation Y workers this way: “Generation Y’ers are like X’ers on steroids. They are the most high-maintenance generation to ever enter the work force” (Breaux, 2003).
Figuring out how to attract, manage and retain the next generation of workers is a difficult challenge. But it’s a challenge that companies simply cannot afford to ignore. Generation Y is nearly as large as the baby boomer generation, and is expected to have nearly as big an impact on business and society. Generation Y are said to be un loyal, have poor communication, are impatient and has no respect for authority and they spend to much time on the internet instead on concentrating on the real work ( Sprague, Caroline, 2008)
Generation Y are already entering the workforce and their numbers will increase over time. The issues is the companies that don’t figure out how to harness this growing resource are likely to find themselves at a distinct disadvantage, not only in the talent market, but in the broader market as well. After all, Generation Y is not just the next generation of workers; they are also the next generation of consumers, and as such will ultimately determine whether future businesses succeed or fail. Here are some specific things companies can do today.
There are 3 main Generation Y issues and challenges faced by companies. They are:
The most pressing challenges are how to attract the Generation Y. The tasks is daunting because this generation has different attitudes and expectations that the other generations. Companies are thinking hard and fast on attracting the new millennium workforce. Due to the fact that generation Y has seen a lot of job turbulence, recession in their lifetime and they have seen their parents loosing their jobs, generation Y are more interested in taking their own responsibility for their own employability by constantly improving and building on their own job skills. As such, they are more interested in organization that offers it employee’s professional development, continuing education and career coaching. Some other benefits cited as valuable by generation Y are extra vacation time, access to health club and social gathering tied to the workplace. Generation Y also looks at the opportunity of career mobility within the organization as an attracting factor. In a competitive labor market, simply offering higher salary may not be the most effective strategy to attract new talent. Find out how you can present your companies to these new workers to attract and retain them.
Some companies are tackling the challenges of recruiting and retaining Generation Y using innovative strategies tailored to Generation Y characteristics. These techniques include providing on-site leadership academies, creating formal mentoring programs to maximize Generation Y access, and giving early chances to do meaningful work. To better reach Generation Y, some are streamlining the recruitment process and providing longer vacations after shorter service. For similar reasons, some are building comprehensive intranet sites, allowing conversion of unused administrative leave into cash, and permitting conversion of health benefits into deferred compensation accounts (Southard and Lewis, 2004).
Some companies are literally going where Generation Y workers are, connecting with them through the media and locations such as Internet cafes and video game stores. Or they recruit Generation Y through on-site career-day seminars in which ranking personnel share their own success stores. Some companies are using their Generation Y employees as the first out reachers to peer Generation Y candidates in an effort to quicken the pace of recruitment. In this way, the companies aim to both engage their Generation Y employees more fully and to create a workplace ally for the Generation Y candidate (Employing Generation Why, 2004).
According to Herzberg, motivation develops from the challenge of the job- through achievement, recognition, the work itself, responsibility, advancement, and growth. Dissatisfaction, if any, results from the maintenance factors, which represent those lower-level needs that employees assume will be adequately met.
A good boss and good working conditions are examples of such needs. Few managerial or professional people would say these job factors motivate them most. Yet, the minute a boss or working conditions becomes a principal concern, factors such as interesting job content and opportunity for advancement lose their power to motivate. In short, effective job performance depends on the satisfaction of both motivation and maintenance needs.
An employee’s motivation is, of course, affected by his or her age, personal circumstances, external environment, and the current phase of his or her life and career. For instance, “steady employment” and “good pay” often rank higher among all generations during times of economic uncertainty. When the economy is flourishing, employees tend to take these maintenance factors for granted; when unemployment and inflation are high, their principal motivators change.
On view of the fact that when these different workforces will work all together, the multi generational differences in attitudes, approaches, and styles related to work could create conflicts that in turn could considered as potential threats against reaching organizational goals. Besides, this situation will decrease or even destroy employee’s motivation, as we know motivation can be induced by the employer or reside within the employee and the key to motivating employees is remembering that not all employees are the same.
In order to achieve motivation, managers must know each employee and must have a wide range of motivational techniques available, since each employee has a different set of values and personal experiences that brought them to where they are today. If management could come up with these actions, they could raise the organization towards its goals. In addition, for most companies retaining talent and developing future leaders are organizational goals, hence to meet these goals, companies must understand the needs of today’s diverse workforces. Since failure to embrace these differences will result in not only having limited talent required for success, but also an employee population that is not engaged as they could be.
Work life balance can be offered in the form of flex time that would allow employees to work over one day, and work less hours on the next day. Employee growth and development could be management training programs that allow employees to advance their careers. Employee wellness programs would allow employees to stay physically fit, and the organization could have training programs to promote safe work habits. Employees need to be recognized for their work, and management could be trained to offer more praise to employees for tasks completed correctly. Organizations can make employees feel more involved simply by holding meetings where they have a voice for their ideas, and concerns from the employees can be heard by management. By utilizing these practices an organization could expect the organizational improvements, employee well being, and retaining the elusive Generation Y worker.
Employee retention is a process in which the employees are encouraged to remain with the organization for the maximum period of time or until the completion of the project. Employee retention is beneficial for the organization as well as the employee. Employees today are different. They are not the ones who don’t have good opportunities in hand. As soon as they feel dissatisfied with the current employer or the job, they switch over to the next job. It is the responsibility of the employer to retain their best employees. If they don’t, they would be left with no good employees. This is more of a prevailing factor with generation Y employees.
A paycheck is not always going put a smile on their face at the end of the day. Compared to baby boomers and other generations in the workforce, Generation Y tend to be more concerned about meaningful work and relationships with coworkers, attitudes that are the key for employers to remember in retention efforts. Generation Y are hardly the first to long for a job that offers more than a paycheck and a way to fill their days. They are a socially conscious generation. Going-green initiatives or a partnership with a local charity will be a draw for Generation Y. Sustainability and green are the hot words today. Generation Y are very interested in social and environmental happenings through the media as well as their employer. It can be as simple as spending a day rebuilding or renovating a house for somebody in the community, planning ways to make your office green, having local nonprofit come in to discuss volunteer or donation opportunities. With getting everybody involved by creating the emotional equity, making it a bit difficult for them to leave the firm.
The following has seen to be the strategies in attracting, motivating and retaining the generation Y into the work-force:
Flexibility – This can be seen in creating learning opportunities, sponsored learning capabilities, long range career planning, promote employee mobility within organization and cross country training opportunities.
Work Life Balance – This is a social aspect where flexible working schedules are design, developing a formal or informal networking circle for career development, hosting social or charitable events that is tied up to work. The work life balance initiatives were aspects such as paid leave to care for dependents, flextime, study assistance, eldercare, and time off to attend non work events, job sharing, telecommuting, on-site healthcare, and various other things the Generation Y workers are wanting in a career.
Access to Technology -This strategy is linked to the organization adaptation of new technology in increasing work productivity. This is looked at where the workforce are equipped with state of the art laptops, access to internet, i-phones, PDA, video conferencing, e-learning and many more. This group of people would not live without cable television and access to mobile phones. With the focus on technology, flexible work schedules and spaces are also crucial to Generation Y. Offering the employees the benefit of arriving at work an hour early or later gives them the flexibility to schedule life issues such as daycare, eldercare or doctor appointment.
Sense of purpose and meaning to the job -This stress on core values, rich corporate culture, sense of achievement and contribution to the achievement of organization goals. The generation Y also looks at branding. The organization brand plays a pivotal role in attracting the generation Y to join and contribute with the sense of belonging.
i.) Management style
Flat line management is top choice lately and for a lot of good reasons. Generation Y tend to be a bit self-centered. They see little point in staying at a job if they are unhappy and feel unchallenged in their role. Generation Y particular were encouraged to find “the perfect fit” in their selection of everything from childhood activities to a college and they now seek a similar sense of place in their job.
ii.) Mentoring and Feedback
Generation Y has grown up hyper scheduled. Generation Y has been coached and tutored and guided and over-parented at every step of the way in their short lives so far. They thrive on one-on-one, personalized attention. Creating an environment that solicits input from employees demonstrates to them that their opinions are valued, ergo, they are valued. In return, they feel more valued and loyal to the company.
Compensation-Fair compensation is still important to the employees. Organizations must offer an appealing compensations package include tangible rewards such as pay (base salary, stock etc) and benefits (i.e. health care, paid vacation etc) and intangible rewards such as learning and development and a satisfying working environment. Even though base salary and benefits constitutes hygiene factors for Generation Y, other parts of the compensation package will work as motivators. As the title and salary are no longer the number one priorities, Generation Y are more interested in self-fulfillment and work-life balance.
The workforce deficit that is proposed to occur in 2014 is expected to be remedied by the generation Y workforce. However, problems with retention in employment with this group have been widespread across America. There is no set procedure to be implemented in order to retain this workforce; however the proposed model does encompass the problems associated with retaining these people. The model lays the foundation for organization specific procedures to be written from, and according to past experiences and research these methods should greatly reduce turnover in this group. Further research should be conducted to measure the effectiveness of these factors in employee retention of people who are categorized into generation Y.
Although recognizing and considering the different attitudes and needs of four types of generation could help the management for achieving the organizational goals, some limitation could be realized in this situation in that some researchers have found before too.
As a case in point a new model of human resource solutions for achieving intergenerational interaction in organization that adopted from theories of Park (1950) and Kubler-Ross (1969) could be considered.
Most of the researchers have divided the human resources into four different generation types and in turn they have detected and allocated some characteristics for each generation. It could not be considered these specifications would be the same for all the human beings in all the societies and task environment absolutely. Moreover, the combinations of different generation within the work environments or even societies are different from each other. Therefore, the outcome of studying in different situations could be somewhat different from each other.
The generation groups who differ from the conventional culture usually cannot participate in defining the rules and standards used to make meaning. Hence, coordinating of these different group workers in such a task environment is often very controversial.
The group that would be dominant among the other task groups in the work area usually spread their own beliefs and attitudes as if its views and approaches are universal and accepted by all other groups and members.
Assimilation among these groups promotes self-alienation by engendering self-denigration where individuals differ from the neutral accepted norm. In addition it could provide the condition for covering or even demolishing individual beliefs and customs.
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