Building Teams with Generation Y

Penny de Valk has written an excellent piece on how Generation Y are important for organisations because they can improve the organisation’s team and community building if organisations are willing to adapt to the changes this generation brings to the traditional work environment. You can read the whole article here: Teams, tweeting and Generation Y: why business should welcome ways of working from a new generation. The crux of her argument starts:

It is clear that Generation Y’s preference for working alone does not equate to a preference for working in isolation. While they may not opt naturally for structured, traditional team-working practices, they are interacting constantly: having grown up with the internet and then social media, their personal and professional networks are largely amalgamated, and they’re as likely to treat an evening in the pub as an opportunity for professional networking as much as a social occasion.

She continues:

Meanwhile, younger workers are more likely than older workers to perform sub-optimally or to take unnecessary sick days if they feel that the team environment at work is poor, indicating higher sensitivity to the workplace atmosphere as well as a lower level of unconditional loyalty to their employer. Less willing to tolerate poor working relationships, Generation Y will give less than their best, or move elsewhere to find a working environment in which they are personally, as well as professionally, at home.

She finishes with:

While it may be tempting to find ways to mould Generation Y to fit the current organisational models and practices, attempts to do so will, inevitably, be fruitless: as the workforce evolves, so working methods must too. And there is a further reason for embracing change – with their instinctive desire to keep everyone in the loop and natural affinity for blending work with life, Gen Y workers can play an important role in making the workplace a more collaborative, trusting environment.

This Insight was posted to one of our much older trend alerts first published in October 2007  which is still relevant for organisations and their HR teams today.

Attracting Generation Y

by Sheila Moorcroft

The war for talent is not only about the brightest and the best, important though they are. It is also about attracting and adapting to the aspirations and needs of a whole new generation for every level of the organisation. Generation Y – as we discussed in ‘Coming to a Workplace Near You’ are techno-savvy and vociferous. Working with them needs new approaches.

What is changing?

Success helps. The three most aspired to employers in the US among graduates overall are Google, Disney and Apple. The most popular for different groups of graduates varies, but success is key. Making it real – before they join. Companies are beginning to use V-logs – Video-blogs – of ‘life on the job’, to demonstrate to prospective employees what the job really entails – whether at Ernst & Young as an internee or a warehouse manager – the same can apply. Experiencing the skills. Training has always been vital, and never more so than today. This gaming generation responds well to learning and doing by playing. Being able to see and understand the impact of their actions on the wider business or learning the product range: making it fun and accessible works. For example, an ice cream company has been helping trainees understand the costs of slow service or mistakes through games.

Why is this important?

Competition will only get tougher and so too the competition for talent. Targeting your future employees as carefully as future customers is key, and often overlooked. Hiring is expensive; investing in getting it right first time saves time and money.


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