January 28, 2008

Gen Y’s Work Style

Filed under: Business — Emily Reeves @ 10:36 am

We have had a lot of discussion lately in our agency about the differences in the work styles of the Gen Yers (born since 1980), also referred to as Millennials, verses the rest of the staff. This is especially important to us, as advertising tends to be a young person’s business. Evident of this growing concern among businesses, this month’s Harvard Business Review included a brief article on the subject as one of its “Breakthrough Ideas for 2008.” According to this article, “Generation Y workers clearly prefer jobs defined by task, not time. They want to be compensated for what they produce.”

“Many younger employees find they can complete tasks faster than older workers, perhaps partly because of technological proficiency but even more…because they work differently. They spend less time scheduling and are comfortable coordinating electronically. They resent being asked to log hours and stay in the office after their tasks are done, and the idea of face time really annoys them. Ys love to work asynchronously–anytime, anywhere.”

“Going forward, we can devise a better model of how to define work. Think task, not time:

  • Articulate the results you expect–and tie accountability to getting the job done.
  • Make physical attendance in the office, including at meetings, optional.
  • Gauge performance on the quality of the work performed.
  • Help managers and employees learn to measure dedication in ways other than face time.
  • Use today’s networking capabilities to allow employees to work from anywhere.
  • Support the changes by creating drop-in centers, team spaces, and open work areas.”

I am right on the edge between Gen X and Gen Y, so I can see the benefits of both traditional work styles and Gen Y work styles.  Regardless of personal preference, companies need to be equipped to accommodate both if they want to recruit and retain talented employees.

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