Generation and workforce

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The year 2009, the 1st century, it is a reality of a world of high level of technology, knowledge, and younger people in the workforce. Being in the 21st century put employers and organisations into challenges of dealing with employees.

It has been found that the percentage of younger employees who generate generation Y comprises 20 percent of the total workforce in Australia and within five years will make up 40 percent which represent an important group for employers.

This report will represent strategies on retaining Gen Y employees, and examine the high level rate of turnover within the specified group. Moreover, the report will present specific recommendations on retaining Gen Y and how to survive within a group of younger workers.

2. Generation Y

With a BlackBerry in one hand, half-cafe latte in the other and an iPod-plugged earphone surgically attached to ears, they are ambitious, demanding and apparently born to rule. Gen Y represent the age between 17 and 28 years old and comprise the most influential generational group since the baby boomers (Patterson, 2007).

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According to the Australian Bureau of Statisticsif there are about 4.5 million Gen Y Australians born between 1979 and 1990 and slightly more of them are men.

Gen Y currently makes up 19% of the total Australian population (McCrindle, 2008), realistically, those figures will grow dramatically in the next decade as it is expected by 2020, Gen Y will comprise 42% of the total Australian workforce.

This generation that hasn't hit 30 is different to any that came before. They grew up with mobile phones, the internet, pay TV, bottled water, laptops and Eminem in a world of AIDS, terrorism. Technology has played an important part in empowering them. Patterson found that about three-quarters of Gen Y regularly use the internet. They are the most educated-minded generation in history and are more optimistic about life and work than their predecessors, Generation X. This generation is now more independent and entrepreneurial, loving freedom and flexibility more than their predecessors. They need to be stimulated and excited and are not scared to take their skills and move these to a different industry. They require certain standards of social responsibility from their employers and extra benefits that will help them grow (Bonnet, 2008).

Generation Y expects their employers to provide more benefits and other perks than their older counterparts, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder.com and Harris Interactive. Gen Y workers want better pay, a flexible work schedule and company-provided BlackBerrys and cell phones. Moreover, eighty-seven percent of hiring managers and HR professionals say Gen Y exhibits a sense of entitlement that older generations don't (Balderrama, 2007).

3. Issues and problems

Main concern rose as turnover rates among Generation Y is in a high level, much like Generation X, Generation Y don't expect to stay in a job, or even a career, too long. It is evidently identified that they are savvy multi-taskers, accustomed to change, juggling multiple tasks, and priorities (NAS, 2006).

With the majority of the current workforce aging, Gen Y are entering the workforce at a time of a demographic shift. There will be a shortage of skilled workers as the Baby Boomers begin to retire and a flood of newbie's, as Gen Y enters the workforce.

In the other hand, this is the time when Gen Y is working alongside those old enough to be grandparents. Evidentially, this creates a clash of views, and at the same time, a necessary cooperation between generations. Generation Y workers do not want to be seen as children. Generation Y'ers thinks that they can show others a few things when it comes to work. Generational relations can be rough. Both sides of the generational scale are flippant of the other's abilities. This is where the tension is created. According to a survey by Lee Hecht Harrison, 60% of employers are already experiencing intergenerational tensions at work (Armour, 2007).

By the year 2012, Generation Y will have filled the 18-34 age groups. This means that the number of younger adult workers will increase by 10% between 2003 and 2012, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics in the Unties States. This happens at the same time the number of workers aged 35-44 will decrease by 6%. (Salt, 2007) shows that 25 percent of businesses have an annual staff turnover rate of more than 30 percent among Generation Y employees (See Appendix A).

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The high level of turnover among generation Y is due to a variety of rezones that influenced the decision. As the generation grew up in a climate of insecurity - they saw their parents divorcing and losing jobs while growing up. Especially with today's financial confusion and market meltdown, Gen Y worries about its financial future. As a result, they are less tended to be loyal or have connection to their company. Furthermore, it is a fact that they have faster access to information because of technology, so they expect more instant enjoyment which leads to a desire for new tasks and faster career progression.

4. Career Management

As employees, it is widely noted that Gen Y's work-related characteristics and attitudes are fundamentally different to those of earlier generations entering the workforce (McGuire et al., 2007) and are different with conventional thinking on how new entrants to the labour force should think and act (Glass, 2007).

Concomitantly with the notion above, it can be clearly argue that Gen Y need special employee development programs to achieve or put in practice a career management through out the period of employment.

Employee development is crucial for the growth and prosperity of any business as employees are one of the shaping factors for the success of the company.

The main intention of employee development is to improve employees' performance in their current positions as well as to prepare them for future roles and positions. Recognising the importance of a continuous professional development of employees can be easily leads to successful companies (Westcott, 2005). This can be evidentially supported by the indication of companies who operates corporate universities such as Royal Dutch Shell Group, BAE Systems and Cap Gemini Ernest & Young.

It is known as a fact that the majority of professionals leave an organisation due to lack of career growth (Anderson et al., 1994). Active career development initiatives by a company are a key retention tool to keep the best talent within its recourses. It is one of the greatest motivators to keep an employee happy and engaged. From the employees' point of view career development proposal gives a clear focus about the career track that employees have to overcome and the final goal to be reached. This focussed approach works for employees as advantage from their everyday work to long-term ambitions.

One of the significant key aspects of employee development in relationship to career management is feedback. Feedback is a fundamental component of the learning process and managers can use feedback to prepare development plans for employees (Garavan et al., 1997). The findings of Garavan research concluded and sugested employers to use 360 degree feedback as it provide feedback from all direction which will help to improve employee's performance.

According to the statement on the KPMG report ".... With the flow-on effect of being uncommitted to long-term employment with one organisation". From the statement it can be clearly seen that there is a lack of commitment amongst generation Y employees, however this can be argued from a point of view that this segment of workers are welling to work in the evenings and in their weekends.

Giving the fact that they feel valued by their employer and they are being given challenging work. The majority will put in extra effort if they believe recognition will follow. For example a study by (Macleod, 2008) illustrate that almost one-third of this group prepared to work in the evenings, and 37 per cent work during their weekends. The figures clearly show that there is no lack of commitment from Generation Y managers or employees in the workforce.

The survey continues to demonstrate and argue the statement of lack of commitment amongst generation Y employees. For example the leading expectation 60 per cent was for continued promotion: 39 per cent would prefer to work within their current organisation and 21 per cent anticipated promotion within another organisation. Only 8 per cent thought they would change career direction and 9 per cent did not know.

5. Human Recourse Management Strategies

The need to attract and retain good employees is increasingly important given a declining pool of skill and a war for talent. Giving the fact that there are three, and in some cases four, diverse generations currently comprise the workforce, each bringing with them differing sets of values, beliefs, attitudes and expectations with regard to employment and careers.

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When it comes to employing a generation Y, it is important to consider that this group thinking isn't just about the job description but the workplace culture, the variety, fun, training, management style, and flexibility that drives them.

A human recourse manager plays an important part in catching the attention of generation Y. as it has been clearly acknowledged that generation Y are looking more into a balanced life and work, the role of attracting them is obviously not an easy task.

One of the important strategies in attracting Gen Y is, employers need to offer a convincing employee value proposition (Research, 2006).

As generation Y plays important part in todies workforce here are some of the strategies that would attract this generation:

• Focus on Perks

• Focus on a Rotational Development Program

• Focus on Internships and a Collaborative Culture

• Focus on Leadership Development

• Focus on Saving the World

• Focus on Continuing Education

• Focus on College Competitions and World Travel

• Focus on Fun

• Focus on Fitness

• Focus on Simplicity

5.1. Strategies evaluation and implementation

We are in the age of the "young knowledge worker", and Generation Y is the most high-performing generation in the history of mankind with more information in their heads and at their fingertips and the ability to multi-task, so they can execute a mixture of tasks in many business domains and can live anywhere if the job and company are cool. Giving the above facts, it is vital to understand that in today's world, any company is a competitor. As the strategies mentioned above, it is important to begin with evaluating the most important strategies and then define the best strategies that would be useful, easy to implement and cost-effective.

As perks plays an important element within Gen Y, perks strategies could be useful to apply within the organisation. For example, Google has been rated the best company employing young workers and that's because the perks they offer. Google provides a variety of perks. For illustration but not exclusively, Google provides free breakfast, lunch, and dinner on daily basis at 11 gourmet restaurants and free shuttle equipped with Wi-Fi from locations around the San Francisco Bay area headquarters.

www.google.com/corporate/culture.html. The Google case could not be easy to apply for smaller companies because of the high cost of their strategies especially in the current economic situation.

Moving to the second strategy which is, focus on a Rotational Development Program, this strategy is based on moving employees in different positions within the organisation in a framed time. This strategy could be straightforwardly implemented giving the fact that Gen Ys are multi-tasking. A company named Intuit (Works for small business service) has been using this strategy by allowing new recruits rotation programs in finance, marketing and product development every 6-12 months. It has been shown that this program not merely keeps young workers engaged but trains them for future leadership arrangements within the organisation. www.about.intuit.com/about_intuit/operating_values/

A strategy based on focusing on internships and a collaborative culture would be strongly required for this generation as this generation born playing on teams made up of members from all cultures. Such a strategy would be appropriate in an organisation with diversity cultures and the concept of team works is functional.

The high level of attitude within generation Y, it is effortless to say that generation Y's hymn is "Live First, Work Second and Have Fun!". Creating such environment within the organisation could without difficulty attract young workers to work and commit to an organisation. Such strategy could be implemented by creating fun environment for workers and avoid workplace to be boring as generation Y is a generation of fun.

Simplicity, simplicity and simplicity, one of the strategies that generation Y is after in any company. This strategy is based on being simple and has no complication. Apple Company is applying this strategy and shows big success, according to a report by Outlaw Consulting; Apple won the number 1 loyalty spot for Gen Y, because their products are as "stripped-down and unadorned as possible"(Ranson, 2007).

It's been tough to find them, it's been even tougher to attract them, employers should be aware of their employees and the best step to follow are, Step one - ask them. Step two - ask them again. Step three - repeat steps one and two. Assuming that what employees think is often one of the main mistake employers make. Employers need to stop thinking, start asking and start doing.

From the notion above implementing the retention strategies that been evaluated is crucial for the company to attract new recruits and to keep current employees. The strategies could be implemented as they are or modify them to organisational needs and wants. Choosing the best strategy could be done by having a combination of strategies which would balance the failure of the other.

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