Changing our way of communicating is a much-needed step towards understanding the free-spirited and vocal Millennial Generation (born 1982-2002) and to help them grow.

As more and more Gen Y talent enter the MICE industry each year, what are some key work-related characteristics of this cohort?

Unlike Baby Boomers and Gen X, Gen Ys “work to live” and not “live to work”, and are far more interested in having jobs that accommodate time for their families and personal lives.
They also want to be constantly learning, no matter what it is that they’re doing, which means providing adequate training is critical in retaining Gen Y talent. Remember, Gen Ys get bored easily, and research shows they will not hesitate to leave an employer once they feel they’ve reached 90 per cent learning capacity.

What are some things Gen Ys value that set them apart from the wider industry?

Gen Ys are generally more attracted to socially-responsible companies – in a recent study, 88 per cent of Gen Ys said they would choose employers with corporate social responsibility (CSR) values that reflect their own, and 86 per cent would consider leaving an employer if CSR values no longer matched their expectations. Having grown up alongside technology, it goes without saying that modern technology cannot be compromised for Gen Ys – consider incorporating videos and photos in your communication methods with Gen Y employees as a way to engage them.

As a Gen X manager, how can I work with my Gen Y employees to make them feel valued and find career satisfaction?

Firstly, it’s important to understand that Gen Ys want mentors, not managers, and they’re much less likely to respond to the traditional command-and-control type of management which is still popular in much of today’s workforce. Effective communication is absolutely critical to Gen Ys. Try to communicate frequently but briefly, and avoid long weekly meetings when possible. Also, be patient and take the time to explain your purpose – be able to explain the “whys”, which you’ll regularly hear from Gen Ys. Give them constant feedback and instant recognition – waiting for the traditional annual review is too long, and chances are you would have lost the employee by then.

As a Gen Y employee, what are some ways that will allow me to work more cohesively with my Gen X colleagues?

Communication really is the key. Start by understanding the different communication styles, and this could mean the technology medium Gen X or even Baby Boomers prefer.
Gen Ys tend to prefer communicating through instant messaging channels such as text messages, WhatsApp and emails, whilst Gen X colleagues may prefer the phone or face-to-face interaction. Compromise and bridge the communication gaps for more cohesive working relationships.

What are some initiatives companies can take to attract and engage Gen Y talent?

With the existing talent crunch, the marketing efforts of organisations should not only focus on customers, but also on potential employees. Improve the quality of career pages on your web and social media sites, and if you don’t have a career section, implement one! Gen Y form first impressions of companies through these web channels.
Fun and work need not be mutually exclusive; providing a fun and employee-centered work environment will not only attract and engage your Gen Ys; they will also be likely to thrive and excel in such environments.