The Generational Theory describes Generation Y as the largest and best educated generation ever; they reflect the sweeping lifestyle changes over the last 20 years, driven in part by exponential advances in technology. People born between 1980 and 1995 (Generation Y) often sense a feeling of resentment towards them at work from older colleagues and managers, but a greater understanding of their generation along with its characteristics and traits will go a long way in helping younger people in the workplace to overcome the stereotypes levelled at them and improving their relationships with their colleagues and bosses.
Their exuberant, impatient and opinionated style can be frustrating for older managers who often dismiss Generation Y as inexperienced and disrespectful. However, this view often clouds Generation Ys potential and their ability to add value to an organisation.
There are many criticisms levelled at Generations Ys including a lack of work ethic, constant distraction with social networking, and no loyalty to a company. However, by knowing what these stereotypes are and changing your behaviour to negate these perceptions, you can get greater satisfaction from the workplace and contribute meaningfully to your job.
Stereotype one: You spend more time on Facebook than you do on your job
Technological advances over the last two decades have created so many additional channels for communication but not all of these are fully understood or socially accepted by older generations who regard new social media as toys rather than tools. Every company accepts a reasonable amount of personal communication during working hours as long as this privilege is not abused. But while picking up the phone and organising an after work drink with a close friend is considered acceptable, logging on to Facebook and messaging a friend for the same reason is not.
Generation Ys can use their technological know-how for the benefit of older generations who are now only starting to understand the power of social media as a marketing tool. Many managers are starting to use Facebook and LinkedIn to reach out to potential clients, customers and employees. Generation Ys can use their savvy to show their bosses how to create profiles on these platforms and how to best grow followers.
Stereotype two: You are a perpetual job-hopper
The perception that Generation Ys show very little loyalty and are constantly changing jobs is a fallacy. Contrary to popular belief, Generation Ys can be loyal as long as they are continually challenged and do new things. They believe loyalty works both ways and they will only be loyal to a company if the same respect is given in return.
This stereotype can be overcome if you show commitment to your team and your work. A visible willingness to commit to hard work such as working late to complete a project or taking on responsibilities beyond your immediate job requirements will go a long way to building acceptance and overcoming this stereotype.
Download this article: Workplace Tips for Generation Y’s