Understanding and Managing Generation Y
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There are four generations in the workplace today; they consist of the Silent Generation, Baby Boom Generation, Generation X, and Generation Y. Generation Y, being the newest generation, is the least understood generation although marketers, demographers, recruiters, and other groups have formed initial impressions and continue to refine them. The majority of managers in the workforce come from the Baby Boom generation and they are accustomed to managing other Baby Boomers or Generation X members. The generational gap poses challenges for supervisors and managers to effectively motivate and inspire Generation Y members whose workplace values and beliefs differ from that of their elders. A literature review provided background on all of the generations but focused on Generation Y. Managers and supervisors of Generation Y employees who have formed their own impressions were provided the opportunity to validate their impressions against that of other sources. The literature review did not provide information on effectively managing this new group of individuals. The project validated the literature review with my personal observations as a manager of Generation Y employees. Additional research focused on examining established management and leadership theories and determining their applicability to managing Generation Y members. The models analyzed were successfully applied to managing Generation Y employees with minor provisions and included the Hierarchy of Needs, Situational Leadership, the Empowerment Continuum, and Cultural Intelligence. Methods of communication and training, and Generation Y norms were also reviewed. Of particular note, technology has an integral role in Generation Y life and there is an expectation to use the latest technology in the workplace. However, technology is not a substitute for face-to-face training, interaction with co-workers, and communication with supervisors and managers.
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