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Much has been talked about generational diversity and managing young workforce in companies today. As much as 50% employees in, say, a technology company today form Gen Y. It is both interesting and inspiring to work with them, and here are some of the workplace rules that I have learnt and adopted.
Everyone is equal: The young generation respects a workplace that is equal and equitable. Equality here does not mean calling seniors by their first names or knowing all information about the company or even open-door policy of senior management. It means that they are given equal opportunities to voice opinions, and be part of the change. So, for this generation, a leader is not identified based on “who” (experience/age), but based on “what” (competency/value).
Short and direct communication: The youth doesn’t want to read long mails, communication materials, or anything that is verbose. They want facts and messaging done in a simple manner, highlighting “why” the message is being sent to them and what actions should they take after reading the message.
No advice but just a bouncing board: I don’t think I can discuss with this generation the pros and cons of making a certain career or life decisions in a detailed manner, using my own experience or being hypothetical. For example, any discussion like “You know, when I was your age, I faced a similar situation…” may not work with today’s workforce.
Speak up is being assertive: Any problem is to be addressed immediately. The feedback is direct and constructive, and more frequent using multiple channels. They do not want to wait till the annual 360-degree feedback to provide inputs to managers, and look forward for informal channels including the ‘brown bag’ lunches.
Result-oriented workplace: Flexi hours, small cubicles for better interactions, remote working and socially-connected for solving problems—these are some of the key drivers for engaging Gen Y. They believe in rewards and recognition that are results-based and not necessarily based on the number of hours spent at work.
Work-life balance is work-life continuity: The definition of ‘balance’ is different across all generations. These could range from “coming to office on