Tuesday, July 1, 2008

World Experience is a Benefit for Generation Y and their Managers

I am a huge fan of Brazen Careerist one of the bloggers on the site is Ryan Healey & Employee Revolution. Blogs about Generation Y, office politics, and puppies!
Below is taken from Ryan's blog "7 things to look past when managing Gen-Y"
I only clipped #6

6. His lack of “experience”
It’s OK if your Gen Y employee doesn’t know how to punch a time clock and can’t relate to your high school summer job experience. It has nothing to do with whether he will work hard for you. There is definite truth to the claim that you need to work hard as a child to learn the value of a dollar and the value of hard work, but what summer jobs can offer us is different now.
Your Gen Y overachiever couldn’t have settled for a summer job at McDonald’s if she’d wanted to, because a summer spent flipping burgers is not going to get you into Harvard. And it probably wouldn’t get you into a lot of less competitive schools. But a summer spent volunteering in Africa will go a long way toward getting you into a good college, and it betters the world, too. Look past her lack of traditional experience, teach your Gen Yer how to do the little things that she’s missed (even if you think it’s stupid), and figure out how to capitalize on the knowledge and experience she gained from leading her business organization or studying abroad.

I often hear form Boomers and gen X that "these gen-Y have no idea what it is like to work - they have no value of a dollar, all they have is volunteer work and scheduled band practice, when I was young I had a job when I was 10 and have worked ever since then. They have no idea how challenging work is!"

I like how Ryan mentioned this many gen-Y have amazing life experience traveling volunteer work, and have an opportunity that was not available 10-20-30 years ago. This should not be held against them. This should be embraced and accepted. More work does not equal better employees.

An alternative suggestion when managing a Gen-Y employee (is not to use the word manage objects are managed people are responsible) would be to engage in a conversation with the person. Find how skills that the generation Y team member have transfer to their current work projects. Keeping an open mind and being able to determine the value (or lack of value) of the experience - I recommend using an experiential learning cycle model.

A managers job is to serve others to increase productivity - aiding team members to connect dots from life experience to job experience is one of these dots to connect.

- Michael Cardus serves as an Adventure Consultant for Create-Learning Team Building. Mike facilitates, trains, and speaks to groups in a variety of settings including Fortune 500 Companies, small business, universities and classrooms. Currently he lives in Buffalo NY, he travels to serve your groups needs - where and when your group desires.