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Working & Creating Outcomes with Millennials (Gen Y)

Over a decade ago, I began working with Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1994/6).

I wrote Finding a Better Way with one well-known Gen Y editor, Michelle Stevenson. After pitching the book to her with a view to her being my editor, Michelle insisted on being my co-author!

The other month, I spent time with some former colleagues. We spoke of how much better work is now than when we started our careers, and how the Millennials have been a key part of shaping this experience!

Here’s what I have learned working with Gen Y, as I continue to enjoy my time being their colleague:

1. They are less interested in what you’ve achieved, but willing to engage deeply in how your experience or knowledge can assist a broader objective.

2. Seek to talk informally regularly and avoid ‘talking at them’. These informal interactions enable a mutual understanding of the WHY. The ‘why’ is important!

3. Once you are trusted, you are deeply trusted, and conversations will be deeper and more challenging. You can expect to be challenged.

4. Share philosophies, but avoid lecturing on topics; create space within these conversations to allow exploration of their thoughts.

5. Empower but be available, and expect more informal check-ins rather than scheduled formal reviews. Being available includes instant messaging and social media platforms.

6. Feedback is two-way and ongoing upon establishing a trusted relationship. It’s like switching on a button. Once it’s on, it is expected.

7. If you are invited to be a mentor, embrace the opportunity. These decisions are not taken lightly, as learning and development are highly valued.

8. Respect boundaries - especially work-life. Time away from work will recharge and allow for fresh perspectives. After a weekend or time away, ask if they are thinking about anything differently.

9. Find social forums to engage in. My pro-bono at Swinburne provides this, and it’s fascinating to hear how much they observe and are frustrated by. If you influence something, it will be remembered.

10. If you care about a social issue, go beyond talking about it; take action. These things are not discussed much, as they are expected. Many have noticed my interest in and support of ONE GIRL.

Now, if you’re a Millennial or Gen Y - What's missing here? And what guidance would you offer other generations?

If you’re not, please share my blog with a Millennial or Gen Y and seek their thoughts!


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