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  • Karen Gregory


Your lack of commitment, lack of motivation employee...

Oh, the joys of leadership! We are charging forward with our team, striving to reach our goals, pushing to be a better organization, even focusing on how to attract and retain our customers, and then we are hit with the challenges of our Gen Y employee. Maybe they missed a deadline or maybe they didn’t relate well to a customer, whatever the situation is, yet again, we are asking ourselves how to motivate this employee. How to make them a consistent team player, a consistent valuable employee.

This is a struggle we hear time and again during, well, basically every leadership training we provide. Seems it’s an issue that is a hot topic among leaders. Listed are three tips to help you with your Gen Y employee.

1. Take some time to understand your Generation Y/Millennium. Sometimes the answer to our employee issue is understanding our employee from their perspective. Many of the leaders today are from a different generation. Odds are you are a Gen X , Baby Boomer or Mature/Silent trying to lead this “troublesome” Gen Y/Millennium. Each generation carries different perspectives, values, and character traits. Do some research for a better understanding of this generation. The majority were raised with almost smothering parents who took care of every little detail of their lives and told them incessantly how special they were, so they expect to be treated that way. They have never known a world without computers, prefer this technological world and get all of their information and most of their social interaction through the internet. This generation does not live to work and while at work enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere. The leaders who have come to us have all stated this Gen Y/Millennium needs hand holding and praise to get the job done. Understanding this generation will help in leading this generation.

2. Hold this employee (and every employee) accountable to organizational standards. After you have done your research on Gen Y/Millennium’s do some research on your own generation. Notice the differences in the two generations. This is most likely the root cause of your struggles. You operate completely differently! Be cautious of holding this Gen Y/Millennium to your standards. Hold them to organizational standards. When you do not educate your employees to the standards they should be meeting and then hold them to that standard they will continue doing what they have always done, and can we really blame them? Not holding your employees accountable to set standards is a failure of your leadership. The only way to change the behavior of any employee is to hold them accountable. Make them aware of the expectation and what they need to do to meet the expectation, set goals, build in a disciplinary process should expectations not be met and follow through!

3. Learn the strengths of your Gen Y/Millennium. This generation is known to bring so much to the team that is often overlooked. They are very ambitious, they are team oriented and they can teach you everything you need to know about the newest technology. Go beyond their generational characteristics and get to know what energizes them. Allowing them to work in areas they enjoy equals self-motivation. You no longer have to find ways to give them that push. Offer them opportunities for training or mentorship. By giving them the boost they may need (or hand holding) with training or a mentor you are insuring that this Gen Y/Millennium knows how to accomplish the task successfully.

Leadership is a continuous learning process. In order to be successful we need to understand our employees, and with Generation Y/Millennium’s we need to educate ourselves further on how to relate to them. We also need to remain open to change because no two employees are the same and to get the most from any employee we need to get to know them, build a working relationship with them, understand what excites them and then put them in positions that work toward their strengths. If we are doing all of these things, the motivation and commitment should be a problem of the past.


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