Monday, January 25, 2010

Top 10 ways to get rid of Gen Yers in your office

Monday January 25, 2010

Top 10 ways to get rid of Gen Yers in your office

Deloitte Insight - By LIM PHUI CHENG

GENERATION Y – a perpetual hot topic. How to attract them, retain them, put up with them? Or that one solution that tempts many but no one wants to say out loud: Get rid of them altogether, and save yourself a lot of headaches.

Much research has been done on Gen Yers and what makes them tick. Using those findings as a basis, let’s look at how to get rid of them.

1. Ban Facebook, Twitter and all other social media websites. While not a panacea for clearing your office of Gen Yers, this is a good place to start. A survey done by Deloitte shows that some teens consider lack of social networking at work a significant detriment in choosing a workplace.

2. Don’t let them work from home. Or anywhere that’s not the office. Gen Ys value and almost expect flexible schedules. Not letting them work from home – or anywhere other than the office – is a sure way to frustrate them.

3. Don’t tell them why their work matters, or how it will be used. Everyone appreciates knowing the value his work adds, especially Gen Y. One Gen Y in a focus group pointed out that they are constantly “looking for a sense of the bigger picture”.

4. Give them as much mundane and repetitive work as possible. Gen Yers believe they can learn quickly, take on significant responsibility and make major contributions far sooner than older generations think they can. Personal development is usually a high priority for them. Assigning them mundane work is therefore an irritant in both the short and long term, especially if you can combine it with No. 3 above.

5. Tell them off for not working 100% of the time in the office. Technological advances have broken down the disconnection between working hours and non-working hours. With round-the-clock email and demands for answers, many Gen Y knowledge workers feel they are effectively on call 24/7.

Consequently, they believe that they need to take more breaks throughout the day, often through video games, iPods or YouTube. Tell them that they’re not paid to play around during company time whenever you see them goofing off in the office – even if they worked till midnight last night.

6. Evaluate them on the number of hours they stay in the office a day, rather than the quality or quantity of work they produce. Combine this with No. 2 and No. 5 for extra impact.

7. Never praise them or thank them for putting in the extra effort. Gen Ys are willing to work hard but within reason. Asking them to put in time and/or effort they see as unreasonable and/or unnecessary is guaranteed to irritate them. Don’t forget you can rub some salt into the wound by giving them no praise or recognition whatsoever, or acting as if their extra effort was run of the mill.

8. Give them anything but transparency. Gen Y came of age in a world of layoffs and corporate scandals, fostering a belief that businesses in general value their own financial gains above everything else, and that business talk about the importance of people is largely insincere.
One Gen Y in a focus group commented: “We are looking to be loyal to an employer if that employer will be loyal to us, but we don‘t think business operates that way today.”
Utilise this scepticism by making promises you never deliver on or even address again. If they can even tell you made any, under the layers of fluff.

9. Tell them work-life balance is a fantasy only held by the ambitionless. One survey found that almost 90% of Gen Yers have either a primary focus on family, or they divide their focus between work and family. They favour family and personal time over the rewards that usually accompany increased job responsibility.

Now, this is a golden opportunity; pile on the hours, while telling them that eventually they’ll grow up and realise that they’ll have to prioritise their career just to make a living.

10. Use these phrases as often as possible: “Do it because I said so.” “That’s the way we’ve always done it around here.” “You have to pay your dues.” “You young people don’t understand working life.”

Gen Yers hate being disrespected. They have been raised to feel valuable and very positive about themselves…and to question authority. Send them the message that you expect them to respect you due to your higher rank alone.

Once you’ve successfully cleared all Gen Ys out of your office, and hopefully deterred any other potentials from applying, sit back and relax. You’ve managed to save yourself a lot of time, trouble and headaches, in the short term. In the long term, as the workforce ages and older generations retire, you may experience a problem.

The truth of the matter is that Gen Y is simply too large to ignore, both as workers and consumers. Companies that don’t figure out how to harness this growing resource are likely to find themselves at a distinct disadvantage, not only in the talent market, but in the broader market as well.

Effectively attracting, managing and retaining Gen Y certainly poses a challenge, especially while taking care to cater to the rest of your workforce. However, research has shown that all generations basically want and value the same things.

The difference is that priorities, expectations and behaviours may differ noticeably. With a little creative thinking, and an open mind from all employees, organisations can find solutions that appeal to all generations.

For instance, coaching and/or mentoring arrangements support Gen Yers’ desire to learn and develop, while giving older generations an opportunity to contribute and feel valued. Other programmes such as flexible work arrangements appeal to not just Gen Y, but also baby-boomers considering sabbaticals and Gen Xers who value flexitime and telecommuting.

The most important question to ask yourself is not “how should I manage Generation Y?” but rather, “how can I make my company a great place for all generations to work?”

● The writer is a consultant with Deloitte Malaysia’s human capital consulting practice

>>Continue Reading<<