Some Observations about Gen Y

Glenn Tecker

There are growing indications that Gen Y is pushing back on assumptions made about them by members of other generations. For example:

  • They report they want offices with doors so they can concentrate – not open space.
  • Scheduled pre-approved vacations have less meaning in a world of constant connection where worktime and playtime both occur anywhere at any time.
  • Association Gen Y staff indicate that want performance appraisal that gives them ongoing feedback and rewards contribution – not just coaching sessions untied to outcomes.

Qualitative research tells us Gen Y wants to work in cultures that hold themselves accountable for outcomes of value to those served – not cultures that promote how many “new ideas” you suggest without recognition of results. In Associations as well as business environments, Gen Y rejects approaches to problem solving that do not encourage questions and criticism but instead just automatically appreciate everything equally.

Additionally and apparently contrary to beliefs being popularized by “older, anxious, and tired” workers about “life balance,” Gen Y demonstrates a preference to be involved with organizations proud of hard work – not those that celebrate “balance” at the expense of “performance.” Gen Y’s exhibit dedication and high performance when they genuinely like and respect the people with whom they are working while they are working – not just at out of office events, over a ping pong table, or sitting around on couches.

As a group, Gen Y expresses a demand for a workplace truly respectful of expertise, experience, and engagement – not just a workplace that pretends to believe those things because senior staff wants to think that others think of them as behaving that way. These expectations have always been important in a workforce committed to a cause. But Gen Y demonstrates a more sensitive bull—- meter and a stronger disposition to act on their readings.

Our best advice if you want to know more about Gen Y – ask them. 

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About the Author

Glenn Tecker

Glenn is a Principal Consultant, Chairman and Co-CEO of Tecker International. He has served in an executive capacity with business, public agencies, and non-profit organizations. Glenn is widely acknowledged as one of the world's foremost experts on leadership and strategy.