Generation Y Values

The fact that Generation Y does not seem overly focused on the acquisition of wealth has led to many people calling their collective values ‘traditional’. Millennials prioritise quality family experiences over earning tonnes of money, and seek a healthy work-life balance above all. They are generally honest and eager to learn, appreciating personal connections, efficiency, and a sense of community. These are all values held by the older generations, but with perhaps a few subtle differences.

Members of the older generations would agree that a sense of community is important. However, they are more likely to mean that knowing your neighbours and saying ‘hello’ to strangers in the street is important. Generation Y is all about the global community, thanks to the revolutionised social media methods of interaction. Nowadays, keeping in touch with friends overseas does not involve the effort of writing a letter and paying a fortune for postage – rather, one only has to type a few words and click ‘send’ for news to reach another country within seconds. Belonging to a world-wide community is something earlier generations could only consider in abstract terms; Generation Y lives the reality of it.

Personal connections, such as a friendly shop assistant going out of their way to provide good service, or a stranger offering directions, are generally considered more important by the older generations. Generation Y also seeks a personal connection, but one that breaks down the barriers between boss and employee. Gen Y workers want to know their employer by their first name, and want to be able to relax and joke with them, rather than revere and fear them as the overlord of their job. They of course know to treat their boss with the utmost respect, but they also want their boss to earn that respect. Millennials generally seek to address everyone personally, be it face-to-face or by e-mail, which many companies have already picked up on: some cosmetics companies label their products with the name of whoever made it, and electronics companies will often have on their websites an online-help service with a name, such as ‘Ask Suzie’. Putting a name on services, and knowing the people involved in company processes appears to be important to many Millennials.

Efficiency has traditionally been something that companies demand of their staff; Generation Y demands it of the work-place. In the lifetime of Millennials, technology has progressed from the Compaq Portable PC and tamagotchis to Blu-ray discs and the iPhone 5s, and the pace of development is becoming ever more rapid. As such, Millennials have had to adapt to learning new technologies almost every year, and are now accustomed to communication and progression happening instantaneously. Many 20-year-olds would now be able to start and finish their Christmas shopping within an hour just using their phone or tablet, and could just as easily book a holiday in the same time.

Generation Y is used to a fast-paced environment, and therefore work fast and efficiently. It does not like to wait, which has led to many people branding the generation as ‘impatient’, but this should be seen as valuing well-organized task-management. Surely, anyone who sees the importance in those would be an ideal employee for any company?

Above all, Generation Y values a good work-life balance tailor-made to suit their commitments outside the work-place. This involves leaving ample opportunity to develop family relationships and enjoy time spent with loved ones. Millennials have seen earlier generations over-work themselves and – as a result – have relatively little time left over to relax with family and friends. Gen Y seeks to learn from this, desiring jobs that will be flexible enough to accommodate for other pursuits. Work satisfaction is certainly a priority to Millennials, and by no means do they reject the idea of earning money, but neither of those things is as important as building strong and lasting relationships with the people that matter the most.

About the author

Lisa Mangelsdorf

I confess that I work to live rather than live to work. But when I can combine my passions into my work, I work best. This blog brings together discussions about one of my passions which is connecting people. I endeavour to fight the norm by chasing flexible working options and change seekers, hence my involvement with this blog. I'm fortunate to be connected with a global team at GAIA Insights. Retaining Gen Y within the workforce is an issue for most businesses across the globe. For help contact us because we know EXACTLY what they want from the workplace and we can help your business retain that key talent.

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