Generation Y Characteristics

Generation Y refers to the specific generation born between the 1980’s to the early 1990’s and was the term given to this Generation after proceeding Generation X. But what key characteristics define this generation? Like everything with this generation there is much debate as to the main characteristics to define a whole generation. One would say it’s impossible. However as a demographic generation y is the fastest growing generation in business and business leaders, hr advisors and team managers alike all want to know how to nurture this talent.

Love them or hate them this generation is here to stay and will continue to make ground roads within business. Here are some of the main characteristics to define Generation Y. Get to know them well as they will someday be heading up the businesses we are all part of.

Tech/Web Savvy:

I’ll send you an email’.  Generation Y were born into an emerging world of technology and have grown up surrounded by smart phones, laptops, tablets and other gadgets. As a generation people are constantly plugged into technology and it becomes an essential aspect of the generations life.

Generation Y prefer to communicate more quickly and effectively via email, social networks or text messaging as opposed to traditional means of communication. The generation are also attracted to organisations where technology is are the forefront of the companies ethos. Traditional companies are less of an attraction for the millennial generation . Generation Y want to work for companies who are embracing these new means of communication and implementing them into business as opposed to organisations with a more traditional mind set. Technology needs to be part of this generations day to day life. As yourself the question ‘How many 20 somethings do you see without a smartphone?’

Family Orientated:

The way one see’s the workplace is entirely different when it comes to Generation Y. Instead of working long shifts to work their way up an organisation the millennial generation prefer flexible working schedules and a more rounded work/life balance. Don’t confuse the generation as lazy. Far from it however family life takes priority over the work place. Many Generation Y’s have grown up with overworked parents and this has driven the new perception to work. The older generation may see this as a commitment issue however the millennial’s merely view life differently and want to find the best blend of an enjoyable life with a fulfilling working environment.


Generation Y are confident and ambitious.  Expectations typically need to be managed as Generation Y’s are confident to take on important roles within organisations as soon as they begin. With young entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerburg the millennials believe theres no limit to what they can achieve. As an organisation the difficulty is managing these expectations without stifling creativity and development. Giving Generation Y’s the resources they require to see development is a strategic way businesses look to keep the generation happy. Generation Y have high expectations of their employees and expect this to be matched. Many are not afraid to seek employment elsewhere if this ambition is not met. Unlike generations before them they are happy to change job roles more often to find the right organisation to work within.

Team Players:

Teamwork is high on the agenda of Generation Y.  Working as a team is high on the agenda and regular team meetings and collaboration with

Flighty, promiscuous, self-centred, impatient and disloyal. Start off 2016 by understanding Gen Y

Want to Discover More About Your Gen Y Team Members?

colleagues is preferred.  Generation Y wants to be involved and included. They expect openness and transparency from management and colleagues and seek for this team playing mentality within an organisation.


Communication is key for Generation Y however it has to be on the right terms. Sending a Generation Y an email, a tweet or a Facebook message will receive an instant reply whereas a phone call may take a little longer for a return. Within the office environment Generation Y’s prefer communication via email whereas the baby boomer generation prefer to pick up the phone.  Communication which is quick, effective and on Generation Y terms will be conducted in a heartbeat.

Like to be loved:

Constant feedback, gratitude, relaying to someone they are doing a good job are common characteristics of Generation Y. In generations before this level of communication was unheard of with senior management however Generation Y in the workplace seek this level of love. Companies have began to implement mentor schemes to develop and guide the young generation in their careers. Having this level of guidance and reassurance is essential when working with and nurturing this generation.

Want to read more about how to connect with Generation Y?

These insights were inspired by the blog founder and our amazing leaders at GAIA Insights who encourage our team to be a great leader every day. Want to learn more about how to connect generations? Are you or someone you know a high-potential leader who wants more from their role than a fancy title and big paycheck? Or do you know someone who is a select talent and driven by leadership as a responsibility to serve, rather than having power over others. Read more from our ASPIRE programs powered by GAIA Insights.


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