Five Ways Generation iY Will Impact the Workplace


Dr. Tim Elmore looks at five ways Generation iY is beginning to transform their jobs and their workplaces.

Teens and twenty-somethings from Generation iY will influence the workplace in the coming years. Actually, they are already doing so.

Here are five ways Generation iY will begin to transform their jobs and workplaces. See if you’ve found any of these realities.

Five Ways They Will Change the Workplace:

1. “I don’t want work-life balance, I want work-life blending.”

Work/Life Balance implies we are giving equal time to each one—our work and our personal life. I’ve found they don’t necessarily expect that; they realize there is an ebb and flow based on the season they are in. What they really want is to blend their work and personal life. They want to be able to do a few personal items, such as checking in on Facebook or running errands or taking care of something during work hours. In fact, they’d like work to feel like family.

2. “I’d like consistent, social feedback from colleagues.”

We’ve heard this for years—these young adults are used to constant feedback, from video games to friends texting. It remains true on the job. Instead of an annual performance review, suggest to everyone that you plan to debrief projects and activities in real time, right after they occur. We do this in our Growing Leaders office and have found it works far better. We hold a brief “stand up meeting” on Monday mornings, where we all are accountable to each other for projects that week and talk over our results the following Monday.

3. “I expect more women in management roles.”

Older generations need to look at the numbers. There are more female college graduates every year than males. Far more. So, it likely follows suit that they will be the educated ones, climbing the corporate ladder, so to speak, and landing the leadership jobs. This emerging generation has already experienced this in K-12 education and in higher ed, where faculty and staff are increasingly female. This may impact marriages, as the wives may be the primary bread-winner in the home. Husbands will need to be emotionally secure with this reality.

4. “Please stop the emails and the meetings.”

Generation iY is extremely pragmatic. They communicate differently than their parent’s generation, even at work. They keenly dislike meetings (that seem to be unproductive) and emails as a way of communicating. It’s so 90s. We heard a college student recently say, “My definition for email is a way to communicate with older people.”  Instant messaging and iChat are already replacing email and phone calls in offices because they increase productivity and reduce time investment.

5. “Please judge my results, not my time clock.”

This one may get mixed-reviews, but more and more I find young adults hate the idea of clocking in and doing time at work. They may get more done at midnight than noon. Punching a time clock, even though it’s necessary in many industries, will likely need to be explained to them. All they know is working on term papers at 2:00 am, and sleeping at 2:00 pm, in between classes. It wasn’t about how much time they took but did they get the job done.

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