Generation Y Workplace Respect

The Respect Generation. Should We Give Generation Y What They Deserve?

Gen Y is a driven generation: high rates of entrepreneurs, the most educated and super-connected. We’re a generation that if we don’t know how to do something, we’ll find a way to learn it. This is in stark contrast to our predecessors.

Millennials were born to be workplace powerhouses, and we’re changing the way work happens. Gen Y comes to work with an active knowledge of business and strategic issues, with an idea to reform and stimulate operations.

Gen Y is facing an issue though: a lack of trust. Older generations, those in leadership positions, don’t trust Gen Y. Typically, success at work has meant learning a role and showing commitment, but Gen Y is projected to have 6-8 different careers. Staff currently aged under 30 start looking for a new role within 18 months. Businesses should be aiming to capitalise on the time they have with Gen Y, not highlight the negatives.

Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers entered the workforce with limited understanding and interaction with commerce, while Gen Y has been starting businesses and seeking interaction from an early age.

Gen Y is the living example of “practice makes perfect”, they come with foundational skills and want to implement them. With guidance this can be achieved. Gen Y isn’t looking for undeserved praise or for being treated like children, they’re got the experience to contribute. The more than businesses take Gen Y seriously, the more they’ll get out of them.

Should we trust Generation Y?

Deloitte noted in their Snapshot on Gen Y that respect is a two-way street. Gen Y is willing to learn and deliver results to older staff if they’re trusted to achieve outcomes. Companies that foster respect between generations garner better outcomes, the notion of learning becomes ingrained. IBM pairs graduates with senior management to teach them about social media while the younger staff learn about business strategy: everybody wins!

When I discussed this issue with friends from varying industry the core issue I heard was “I don’t think my manager takes my ambition seriously”. The reality is that people are living longer and need to fund their retirements; for Gen Y this means that our aims sometimes come second to traditional HR practices.

21st Century HR shouldn’t be about longevity with a company or a role, it should be about capacity and results. Gen Y is eager to deliver.

It is easy to see why Gen Y might conflict with other generations in the workplace, we’re eager, ambitious and wanting to develop as much as we can. Taking risks is what we’re about. While other generations have been sold a story on job security, we’ve been brought up in a world which values bravado and is ever-changing.

The problem facing companies is that if they can’t meet Gen Y expectations not only will they leave their job, there’s a significant chance they’ll start their own business. Across the USA, UK and Australia hubs of ideas led by dissatisfied Gen Y leaders are happening, all fed-up with the constraints of a 9-5 lifestyle.

Workplaces are developing, and millennials are driving significant change. Embracing these innovations is essential for further commerce and growth, if businesses don’t then they’ll be saying goodbye to a generation.


Conrad Liveris is a Community Advocate and Operations Analyst, he focuses on intergenerational issues in marketing and HR, including gender equity.


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About the author

Ryan Gibson

Hey! I'm a 28 year old digital marketing guy residing in Leeds, England. My skill is in search marketing and I have gathered over 6 years experience of working on large multilingual campaigns for a number of FTSE 250 Organisations. After accepting a role with a business based in Singapore I began questioning traditional business practice and employee retention. This blog was therefore born with focus on Y in the workplace. A millennial child at heart I aim to provide a voice for the 'misunderstood' generation and my goal is simply to change perception and corporate mind set on work/life attitudes; inspiring companies and individuals to seek change.


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