4 Tips to Develop Gen iY Employees


Are you struggling to work with Generation iY employees?  Tim Elmore’s research (Generation iY:  Last Chance to Save Their Future), www.GrowingLeaders.com   indicates that one of the “lies” we’ve told those born after 1991 is “you are special”.  Parents and educators want the kids to know they are loved and deeply cared for.  As a result, the last half of Generation Y’s believe they are truly remarkable.  They encounter culture shock when an employer delivers a message that they aren’t measuring up.  When performance reviews are completed, the statistical bell curve says 10% of employees should receive an outstanding rating.  But coming from a world of grade inflation and self-esteem building, Generation iY think they are much better than average.  After years of hearing the “you are special”  message,  they experience culture shock when they are reprimanded or they don’t advance quickly.  They quit, or they feel stuck and frustrated, affecting their attitude at work.  What can you do as more and more young people enter the workforce?  Here are some suggestions from Elmore’s research:

(1) Mentor your young employees.  Let them know you believe in them and have their best interest in mind. 

(2) Give them short term projects to experience wins and help them acclimate to the realities of working in the real word. 

(3) Take the time to affirm what they do well before discussing improvements they need to make.  Celebrate when they do perform well. 

(4) Be alert to signs of depression or other stress-related illnesses in young employee and steer them toward appropriate employee assistance programs. 

If this sounds like more effort than you‘ve spent with your employees in the past, my advice is to get used to it.  The next generation of employees will do best when their employers build intentional relationships that mentor, challenge, and role model integrity.  Then they can indeed be “special”.

Til Death Do Us Part – Maybe!

Thirty years ago, I said the words “I do.”  It’s been a wonderful ride!  While we’ve had our struggles, we have been committed to loving each other and working through the hard times.  Last summer I videotaped my parents, who are 91 and 83, in order to leave a legacy for our family.  One of the questions I asked –   “What advice do you have for your kids and your grandkids after 59 years of marriage?”  Their answer was to love each other, talk things through, and learn to compromise.

 This week Oregon State University published a study finding that in 40% of married and non married couples aged 18-25, one partner said the couple had agreed to be monogamous while the other said there was no such deal.  The idea that marriage wasn’t monogamous didn’t even register on my parent’s radar – or mine!  Quite frankly, when I married, I assumed it meant forever monogamy.  “A man leaves his father and mother and is united with his wife, and they become one.” (Genesis 2:24)  I also spoke a vow – “to cherish, love, and honor til death do us part”.

 When we speak of the Generation Gap, nowhere is it more clearly illustrated than in this scenario.  The millennial generation now lives in world of commitment phobia.  Mark Sayers says, “ This commitment phobia is a natural byproduct of their coming of age in a hyper-consumerism culture that demands that we act like good shoppers, putting off committing in case a better deal can be found.”   

 My parents had a great deal – so do I.  We have been blessed with strong marriages.  So if we are called to serve with integrity, then our challenge is come along side young people – with caring and respect – so they too can experience a long and wonderful ride!