The 'ADHD Generation,' 'lazy generation' and the 'spoiled generation' are just some of the ways Generation-Y has been labeled when it comes to the workforce. People are reluctant to hire us, as we are rebellious and only work under certain conditions that we enjoy. This is difficult for the older generations to grasp, as they grew up in different times with different attitudes toward their work habits.
Currently, Millennials make up 25% of the workforce and as time goes on, this number is only going to increase. By the end of the decade, it is expected that 50% of the workforce is going to be occupied by our generation. Due to this monumental shift in the workplace, there is going to have to be a change in the work environment as well.
It is imperative that new leaders and CEOs make an effort to create an environment Generation-Y can relate to and a place we can enjoy working every day. We must understand that this generation is very smart and highly productive when they want to be, however they are also easily bored and disinterested. It is time you stop worrying about constantly hiring and firing workers and actually build an environment that they can enjoy, so they produce quality work for the long run. Here are 10 ways to make your office more Gen-Y friendly:
Allow for creative brainstorming sessions
Encourage a collaborative work environment, have people work on projects outside of their roles for the sole purpose of keeping them engaged and intrigued. Everyone has a certain skill set that they have to offer and this skill set can easily translate into many fields. Don't just force people to work on one project solely, but allow your workers to brainstorm as issues in one field can help provide solutions for future problems in a different field. Nothing gets creative juices flowing better than a brainstorming session amongst peers, as they are on the same peer level and will be able to inspire one another.
Make them feel as if they are part of something bigger than just a business.
No one likes to work blindly with no goal in sight, as it is surely to wear them down and easily get them disinterested in the work they are doing. Generation-Y has the great urge to belong to something that is greater than they are. Allow for people to have creative input on projects and make them feel as if the work they are doing is part of something bigger. This way they will be more focused and dedicated to a particular task, as their role is much appreciated and actually necessary to the everyday functions of the company.
Get rid of cubicles.
The 'Baby Boomer' generation is highly recognized for their individual and isolated manner of working. They like working in their own individual space. That is why many offices have cubicles and separate their workers. Well Gen-Y is bringing in the hammers and taking these cubicles down. We are a social generation and allowing for intra-office communication should be a pressing issue as it brings about the dissemination of ideas.
There is no better way to encourage a communication-friendly environment than by having an open format office where everyone can talk and see one another work. Getting rid of cubicles allows for good leaders to stand out and set a positive example for those who may be lacking in their performances.
Allow for a more comfortable dress code.
An eight-hour work day is no longer the standard because many jobs require their workers to stay after hours, as projects have tight deadlines to be met. Who wants to work longer hours in an uncomfortable suit? As long as your employees are grinding and getting their work done, there is no need to mandate a formal dress code.
This is unless your employees are in constant contact with clients or potential clients. Let them be comfortable, as it allows them to think better and not worry about overheating in their suits during the summer days.
Gen-Y prefers a flat organizational structure where they’re treated as equal to everyone – yes, even to the CEO.
The older Baby Boomer generation is so fond of titles and keeping these roles, well f*ck them. It's time we encouraged a flat organization where everyone is equal because people will feel less like they're just workers for a company, but rather actually a part of an organization. Gen-Y loves the feeling of belonging and nothing creates a 'belonging' environment quite like a flat organization. A flat organization gets rid of a lot of administrative costs and it allows for the flow of creativity and solutions to reach all members easily.
Although it may seem that a flat organization leads to a disorganized organized environment, it actually fosters an air of equality and improves communication amongst workers. This way no one is afraid to speak up and offer helpful suggestions or possible solutions to do things more efficiently. Your business is going to improve as you go and your workers are going to need to develop a system that allows them to grow in their roles and to be open to constructive suggestions.
Freedom to decide when and how to do their work.
Encourage a results-only work environment. Generation-Y is all about the bottom line; you give them an assignment and they want to produce, that's it -- nothing more nothing less. These kids have been told constantly 'do this that way' and 'do that this way' by an older generation who doesn't really understand their needs and wants. If you want your Gen-Y workers to give you the best results, let them work on their own.
Motivate your workers with a sense of independence when it comes to getting their work done. Everyone wants to feel as if they have say in projects that are going on, so keep it simple, give them an assignment and a deadline and let them figure out the rest. Obviously you want to be involved and know how things are progressing, but don't be constantly breathing down their necks like their parents and teachers.
Let them get 'happy endings' for their birthdays.
Gen-Y loves to be rewarded for their work. This is a far cry from the 'Baby Boomer' generation who greatly understand the idea that no one owes you anything and that your hard work is going to take you where you need to go. Unfortunately Gen-Y is a little soft and they would like a sticker next to all their accomplishments. What better way to reward your workers than by having them go to a happy ending spot or Turkish bath once in a while? Nothing like a good massage and shwap to relieve the week's stress and get them ready for the next week.
Have certain activities on days, so people actually look forward to coming to work.
A five day work week is hard enough, but if your workers begin to feel like every day is a blur and there is nothing to look forward to the next day, they will not be at your company in the long run. You want to hire and encourage your employees to work for you for long periods of time; it's all about quality over quantity. This way you get people who eventually develop their own groove and you don't constantly have to micromanage them.
Why spend resources constantly hiring and firing new employees when you can do just as well with the ones you have if you keep them slightly satisfied? One way to do this is making the work week more enjoyable. Have particular days set aside for some activities or something workers can look forward to, for example a 'Bagel Wednesday' or 'Pizza Friday.' This shows your employees that you appreciate their hard work.
Find a way to integrate work life and social life, so people don't feel as if all they are doing is working. It will work out in the long run, trust us.
There is no doubt that in anyone's life, work is going to be a dominant time consumer, as we have bills and college loans to pay. Working, in many regards, requires us to curtail our social lives and as time progresses, we see our friends less frequently. In the long term, this really wears on the minds of Gen-Y as they are used to having their peers around them to socialize and get their minds off work. The biggest burden to tackle with the battle of work life and social life comes in finding the perfect balance in enjoying both. This problem can be solved by encouraging a work environment that integrates both their personal and work lives.
This is a sure way to keep your workers satisfied and actually enjoy the work they are doing because they don't feel like they are mindless robots constantly working. We must keep in mind that this ADHD generation is quite smart, but easily bored, which eventually leads to them hating their work. No one wants to waste the smart minds of these brilliant individuals solely on the fact that they feel like they are being overworked and not spending time socializing with their friends.
Encourage employees to work on their own personal projects as well.
There is nothing more pressing in these times of hardship and great student loans than the issue of helping people break out of their debt and truly work independently. Many students are forced to take jobs they don't like because debt collectors are breathing down their necks once they graduate college. This in turn makes them feel miserable at work and many times because they feel that they have been forced to work at a place just to generate enough income to pay off the loans. You must understand that these kids want to work and aren't lazy, just rather facing a different set of circumstances.
If you encourage Gen-Y to work on their own particular projects, it will keep them at your company longer and keep them working harder. This is because their personal projects give them time to work on something they are passionate about. In addition, it will help them learn to think for themselves and also circumvent obstacles they face at their paying job because they are exposed to a different, more independent way of thinking when working on their own projects.
Bonus: Allow them to stay sane by drinking
After a rough week of work and hardships, there is no better feeling than just letting loose and knocking a few drinks back. Allow your workers to stay sane and get them flowing creatively with a couple drinks throughout the work week. If they feel like they are in a rut and need to let some steam, allow them to enjoy their vices just so long as they are in the office working the next day. Trust them enough to know that they won't make fools of themselves or get too wasted and they will reciprocate with better work.