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September 16, 2011

HR Fact Friday: Managing a Gen Y Workforce

Filed under: General HR Buzz,Hiring & Jobs — Tags: 6:00 am

For those companies that are actually hiring these days you may feel like the rules have changed from the status quo of 5 years ago when it comes to interviewing, hiring, and retaining new employees in the 21-28 year old age group. Why? Because none of the old rules apply to these younger, technically savvy workers collectively classified as Gen Y. When we baby boomers (of which I am one) say, “they just don’t get it” it is literally true . . . they don’t get it. How could they? The workplace and job environment has been completely transformed during their short adult life from the experiences of us more ‘experienced’ workers.  A recent article I came across on the website caught my attention and provides a good overview of how employers can attract and retain Gen Y workers. Bottom line; communicate effectively and provide flexibility.

The article reads in part:

Generation Y is taking over the world and the workplace—and employers who want to attract, engage and retain this huge workforce need to understand its preferences and communication styles, especially when it comes to workplace benefits.

That’s the finding of a white paper by Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Co., Pump Up Productivity from the Next Generation: Build Voluntary Benefits into Workplace Strategies to Attract, Engage and Retain Generation Y, which outlines the benefits needs and preferences of Generation Y workers, generally born from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s.

“The ability to recruit and retain younger workers is quickly becoming essential for employers to ensure long-term business success, especially as Baby Boomers begin to retire in increasing numbers,” said Stephen Bygott, director of marketing programs and research at Colonial Life. “But Gen Y has different needs, expectations and preferences than previous generations, so companies need to take a different approach when it comes to designing and communicating their benefits packages. Those who don’t consider changes could risk losing their competitive edge and may be left behind.”

• Generation Y tends to be less financially stable than other generations. Only 58 percent pay their bills on time, 43 percent have high credit card debt and 70 percent aren’t building a cash cushion for emergencies. They also tend to change jobs frequently: The average 26-year-old has already had seven jobs.

The entire article can be viewed at:

(SHRM membership may be necessary to view the complete article).


1 Comment

  1. Great post – I think it highlights the fact that organizations need to consider the differing needs of the emerging Gen Y. As a member of Gen Y, the traits listed do correlate to my attitudes and values. I think more organizations needs to think strategically on how to on-board, retain, and engage this new workforce. I work for a consulting firm that specializes in helping organizations reach out to Gen Y consumers and employees, so the post was very interesting. I just wrote a similar post on our blog on how organizations can benefits from Gen Y Consultants serving as “insiders” to the thought patterns/habits of this cohort.

    -April Pantall

    Comment by April Pantall — September 18, 2011 @ 12:54 am

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