Managing Generation Y

Whether your business employs only Generation Y workers or has numerous generations working side-by-side you will benefit from learning specially adapted management techniques. This is especially important if you have employees from different generations managing Gen Y employees.

According to research conducted by the Institute of Leadership and Management Gen Y workers:

  • are academically talented

  • are ambitious and motivated

  • plan to move jobs within two years

  • value both money and status

  • value interesting/challenging work higher than salary

  • want to be ‘coached’ rather than managed

The research discovered that 32% of recent graduates were dissatisfied with their boss’ performance, so how should Gen Y workers be managed? The ILM recommends connecting graduates and managers as well as focusing on the following key areas.


Often, Gen Y workers are dubbed disloyal job-hoppers, but if there were no chance of progression in a company why would they stay? Most businesses would benefit from working on their staff retention by offering continued learning and training to build skills as well as clear progression paths. Not only will this allow Gen Y workers to remain within companies it will save time and money spent on recruitment costs. Setting aside time and budget for industry-related seminars and conventions will also keep employees involved and engaged.


ILM research discovered that 56% of graduates cited their ‘ideal’ manager as a coach or mentor figure. Gen Y workers benefit more from being coached rather than being directed or controlled in a micro-management style. This style of management can be unknown to other generations so will require specific management training.

Feedback & Recognition

You only have to look at their use of social media and communication tools to realise that Gen Y place great importance on interaction and acknowledgement and this translates to their work life. By providing feedback and acknowledging progress you can make a Gen Y worker feel as though they are working towards something and have a purpose. A consistent and interactive management style works best for this generation, as well as regular, open conversations that involve the worker in their own progress.

Freedom and Flexibility

Gen Y employees are used to having a number of options and alternatives right at their fingertips, therefore, allowing them the freedom to work towards an end goal in their own way will be appreciated. Managers can still retain control over projects by explaining what end result is required, but allowing employees to make choices for themselves as to how they will reach their end result will show they are trusted, something 35% of graduates consider important.


Gen Y values a work-life balance more than other generations, their motto is ‘work smarter, not harder’ and with this in mind managers will benefit from considering ways in which to balance the working day. For example, the working day is filled with a great amount of wasted time; why waste time on things like commuting when you could offer the option of working from home? Gen Y workers value open-minded, thoughtful employers.

By adapting management skills for Gen Y workers you will be bringing your business up to speed and making room for the array of passionate potential employees that are chomping at the bit to join your company.

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