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Managing Gen "Y" for SME Business Results

Today's Business is all about managing Generation Y.  In this post we focused in understanding the GenY to help manage them for better business results.   It is inevitable that you have to manage the Gen Y who are going to be part of the working population.  For many startups this is even more critical as the Business Owner would be the GenY while expecting the maturity and retention in organisation like GenX from GenY employee. Find out in this post what makes the Gen Y the best and how best you can build your organisational boundaries to help tap their talent.  
Geeta Goti - Sr.HR Professional

I would like to sincerely thank  Ms.Geeta Goti my good friend for contributing this article for the benefit of readers at HRSME. 

How does one define Generation Y?
While there are a lot of myths and stereotypes, we can conclude the definition as someone who is born after 1982 to 1990 and in their early or late twenties.

What drives the Gen Yers to work?

While the Maslow’s theory of hierarchy of needs has not much differed for any generation, the approach has definitely taken a shift. Since most of the Yers have seen educated and earning parents the relevance of first need of hierarchy is taken care.
  • ·       The need to do meaningful work, quality of work is most important for them.
  • ·       Movement to next levels early in career life
  • ·       Averse to power distance
  • ·       Informal mentorship
  • ·       Regular feedback
  • ·       Higher societal conscientiousness

GenY to GenY Conversation at work
Their desire for a broader and deeper definition of success will necessitate a shift from the transactional and simpler motivational drives for economic success and security to social and lifestyle rewards, including inner intrinsic motivational drives.

Why are Gen Yers different?

The fact that they have grown in the world of speed and convenience drives them to seek solutions and processes in work place that make the tasks less drudgery. Either they chose a place that is highly automated with less of repetitive tasks or will create systems that will make tasks easier to do.  They want to move onto the next challenging task.

Esteem needs hover around reward and recognitions mostly “here and now” than long term plans, in the previous decade the statement of “one has to earn” or “wait for your turn” were tolerated and been motivational conversations these were time or period bound whereas for Yers it has to be more clear on “tell me how to get there” or “when I do this what is in it for me” it is not time bound but task accomplishment.

There is a challenge to understand the Yers as there is a perceptual contrast and prejudiced view of them.  
Perception of fairness, trust, loyalty and equity is different in Yers, for example Yers score high on sense of striving to achieve than high on duty. Working 12 hours shown as diligent and hardworking earlier is replaced by the same 12 hours to crack a problem and give a solution so that the same 12 hours is not spent again.
A New Way of Looking at Work & Life 

Why is everyone talking about Gen Yers now? How do we bridge the gap if there is any?

India is on the brink of having almost 50% of its population who fall under Gen Y category that is almost total of 25% of the rest of the world. Sheer demography is an opportunity for shift in societal demands thereby business demands. If we do not understand or acknowledge this change to unlearn we are in a greater danger of missing the opportunity and face a societal threat.

In a recent discussion panel of Gen Yers speaking of their ideal work place, the needs were more towards societal changes which are like “right thing to do” by any organization for example:

  • Ø  A young mother of two wanted to come back to work and she was looking for an organization that will give flexibility to work from home and be counted as contributor to the success of the organization. She has groomed herself with a professional qualification and has global practice of company law.
  • Ø  A management graduate was looking for a work place where his opinion is counted; he wanted to take CXO position in next five years and wanted to know what it will take to be there.
  • Ø  A student of communication from Russia has to say that she has to be given a space to be understood and also understand cross cultural diversity to make the work place better. Her need to be socially connected and networked should be given a fair chance by the organization as it will definitely benefit.
  • Ø  A student of pharmacy moved to work in a non-profit organization to save the planet. He is working on collecting organic waste to build fuel alternatives.

Change has to be first and foremost in the way we perceive work and create an eco-system that will make a positive impact on the business. There is definitely a need to use discretions, discernment in negotiations and decision making.

This is multifold and would need every function of the organization to be involved because ultimately any business enterprise will have Yer as a customer or as an employee and of course as a stakeholder.
Remember needs are same but the approach to satiate the needs are different. Employee stock options and variable salary components are of lesser meaning to the Yers.

In a recent employment status conversion of contract to permanent hires it was estimated that only 40% will opt for permanent employments as the take home will reduce. To make this effective we have tweaked the benefit plan to suit the need to secure parents health insurance and surprisingly 100% subscribed to the plan with cost sharing.

Another example that the management had to take into cognizance is allowing employees to work from home, though it is early to subscribe this as a trend in India, given the right amount of work and clear and time bound deliverables will actually push the profitability of the company.  This is a challenge to the line manager and HR to come up with talent management, more focus on career goals and competency frameworks.

Gone are the days when only a jobsite used in connecting to candidates who are looking for jobs. We have used social media and also encourage employees to use the same to bring in talent into the company. Line manager and HR have a huge challenge to organize, channelize and reward the time spent on social media versus negative impact on time spent on work.
We have the history of getting prospective candidates in professional networks, airports, pubs, malls, temples, restaurants etc.  Lesson that social media is not just internet driven but of course has a wider reach to channelize the networking of individuals.
Companies that want to attract talented executives are resorting to creative recruiting initiatives, many of which are aimed less at attractive compensation packages than lifestyle and quality of life benefits, which include opportunities for more creative and independent work.
How should a business leader react to this change?
Firstly, the myths around Yers have to be dispelled. They are what the society has made them to be.
  • ·       The parental displacement of generation X at work place should be understood and corrected.
  • ·       One has to minimize hierarchical power distance
  • ·       Senior management should discern before judge the grape wine or upward communication on Yers  and should put in place a formal communication channel to avoid interpretations.
  • ·       Navigate careers to create a sense of growth and contributions
  • ·       Allow their identity and do not stereotype them or generalize their behaviors, after all they are smart, intelligent, have learnt to manipulate Xers weakness to unlimited flattery , seeking common ground to negotiate etc.
  • ·       Translate vision , mission and quality as success factors rather than vague statements
  • ·       Instead of long term rewards and recognitions create a series of short term aspirations goals with recognition and awards that are non-monetary that are identifiable with their peers
  • ·       Focus on need based benefits that are immediate and meaningful 
  • ·       Inspire through informal mentoring as most of the Yers will have to take higher responsibility with little preparation, wisdom of Xers should be shared in a non-threating and non- directional mode.
  • ·       Principle of self help “help them to help themselves” need to be explored in all life situations
  • ·       Mix wisdom with subtle coaching on financial discipline, conflict resolutions, understanding diversity etc.
  • ·       Do not mix issues with people, keep issues simple and fragment to solve, grouping issues to negotiate might be powerful than solving one at a time that will only increase the management time in “small issues” . Remember Yers are good at negotiating and feel powerful that senior management will attend to their smallest of problems.
  • ·      Every dimension of negotiation will need to be different in decision making, communication and Influence as the issues are as varied as economic, ethical, psychological , sociological etc. that are brought to the work place.

As someone rightly said one has to be “Half Monk and Half Warrior” to manage Generation Yers.
Servicing HR @
SME Organizations 

I am sure that the inputs shared by Geeta in this post would be of great help to the SME's.  These insights would definitely benefit the Small and Growing organizations to build better future with the Genext Employees.  

Please do comment to help this blog posting to be more meaningful with multiple perspectives. 

Team Husyst :

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