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How to Work Better with Gen Y

| June 23, 2009

by Jim Bruce

Today’s Tuesday Reading is from the April 28, 2009 Ask Annie column of Fortune Magazine:  “How to work better with Gen Y”.  The April 28th question has to do with working with a new class of interns – Generation Y individuals;  birth years 1978-1990 – who are very much like our younger employees.

Anne Fisher, who writes the column, takes her advice form “Not Everyone Gets a Trophy:  How to Manage Generation Y,” a recent book by Bruce Tulgan who has made a career out of counseling companies on how to attract, motivate, and keep young employees.  Based on advice from the book’s eighth chapter “Teach Them How to Be Managed by You,” the paper makes five suggestions about interns which are even more appropriate for your younger employees and maybe, even, for those not so young:

1.  Set clear ground rules at the outset.  They are not accustomed to figuring out expectations so you need to tell them in clear terms.  (This applies to most of your team as well.)

2.  Establish a regular time and place for one-on-one meetings.  Gen-Yers have been scheduled since they were very small children.  They need that kind of structure and attention.  It will pay dividends.

3.  Focus on solutions, not problems.  “Exactly what concrete actions – next steps – are you going to take now?”  Teach them to concentrate on what’s next.

4.  Keep track of their performance.

5.  Teach them how to get what they need from you.


Sounds like a good plan.  Have a great week.  .  .  .  .     jim