Some current managers and employers are struggling to understand the new generation of employees they have hired.

Some call them Generation Y and some call them the Millennials. They were born between 1978 to2002. (The dates may vary depending on which expert’s book you read.)

It’s been said that they are the most high-maintenance workforce in history, but they have the potential to be the highest performing generation. Technology has been part of their culture and education. They are able to use technology quicker and faster than earlier generations. Generation Y is changing the way we communicate using social networking and the way we do business through the web. They also have a set of unprecedented new attitudes that have resulted from the unique circumstances of their lives.

Present and potential Gen Ys (members of the Y Generation) want to know what the company wants and what it has to offer them today and in the future.   They love trying out new things and they may find the right answer but Gen Ys don’t always have the maturity, practical experience, wisdom or context to understand the right answer—even though they know the technology. Because they have access to so much knowledge, even the youngest of the Y Generation seems mature. 

Gen Ys expect a workplace to be technically challenging, creative, fun  and financially rewarding.  

They want growth, development and a career path.  Honesty and integrity is critical for the leaders they look up to.  It’s not that they don’t want to be leaders themselves; they’d just like to have great role model first. Generation Ys want to be assigned meaningful projects they can learn from.  They want to invent services and products and make them better, faster and smarter. 

The good news is that Generation Ys seem to be more interested in working for larger, more conservative and well established companies. Some Gen Y team members may arrive on the first day of the job with their personal goals already documented.   Some have established themselves as being more committed, engaged to the job and willing to work longer hours than their predecessors. They have confidence and consider themselves ready to solve the worlds’ problems that no one else has identified or solved after being raised by parents who believe in the importance of self-esteem. They are collaborative, are used to being on team organizations and were taught that no one is left behind. Their favorite collaboration tool is Facebook. They expect to work in a multicultural environment where diversity is the norm. Generation Ys will use their collective power if they feel someone is unfairly treated.

Gen Ys want to work with people they click with, enjoy some fun and light heartiness on the job and want to interact with peers and share ideas.

While the Y Generation may have some unique characteristics and behaviors (such as being late to work, not wanting to give up their activities just because of jobs and wearing flip-flops to work) they have many positives. They want many of the same things out of a career that all generations want.   Finding a way to challenge, channel and keep them engaged will reap many benefits.  Your company will reap many benefits by understanding those of Gen Y (as well as all other employees) as individuals. Discover their talents and strengths, what work they like doing, what motivates them, how they prefer to be managed, what makes them feel appreciated and valued. By doing this you will create a happier, more productive and profitable workplace for everyone.   

Jane Moughon, M.S., CPC

Jane Moughon, M.S., CPC

Jane Moughon, M.S. is CEO and Founder of Directions for Teens. She is a former professional recruiter, has taught career development and is a Teen Career Coach.  Directions for Teens helps children along the path from middle school to career by offering classes, coaching and career compatibility assessments. 

Visit or call 281-712-1019 for more information.  

Directions for Teens