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How to Motivate Gen Y in the Workplace

GenY Texting PhotoAs millions of Gen Y young adults cycle into the workplace, employers are learning to do things a bit differently with them than with previous generations. It may seem at times like high maintenance, but twenty-somethings can give a lot to your business if properly motivated. Here are some tips: 

Let them know what’s going on. Gen Y is comfortable with today’s rapid technology, so use it to keep them informed about the business. Whether through emails, IM or  Twitter, experts say it’s better to over-communicate so you’re more confident the message is getting through.

Feedback is key. After completing a task or turning in a project, Gen Y workers want to know what you think – sooner rather than later. They especially want to hear about how well they’re doing. And if their work falls short of expectations, the need for constant feedback can work to your advantage. Offer clearly defined metrics and benchmarks and help them continuously improve on their performance.

Teamwork works. Gen Y enjoys working on projects as part of a team. Group interaction and feedback is important to them, and they see group input as a critical element in the decision-making process. Here’s another opportunity to use this trait in a positive way. Consider teaming up one Gen Y employee with a more senior employee; they’ll form a team that combines wisdom and youthful energy.

Prepare to be flexible. Gen Y responds better to an environment where there are plenty of options. When possible, ask them to select which projects they prefer to work on and with whom. Offer the opportunity to work from home and give them the tools needed to make this option work. It’s as much about demonstrating your willingness to be flexible as it is helping them grow in their skills and responsibilities.

Small deadlines matter. In many cases, young adults fresh out of college have become accustomed to getting things done at the last minute (such as writing term papers). To increase their productivity, set small deadlines to complete a part of a project. Help them learn basic time and project management techniques.

Show how face-to-face can get things done. For a generation reared on text messaging, it’s not always clear that some things are better achieved in a face-to-face setting. By requiring at least some interactions to take place one-to-one, you’ll help them understand the importance of being able to interact with other workers and clients in a professional manner.

High Profile Staffing offers a variety of staffing options (including hard-working members of Gen Y) to fill your specific needs.