Generation Y (or Millennnials) have many qualities that are valuable in the workplace. Their optimism, open-mindedness, confidence, energy and fearless approach to technology, has a positive impact on motivating and inspiring their colleagues.

According to the 2012 Cisco Connected World Technology Report, the Y generation is “more agile, more informed and more responsive than any previous generation…They live to connect and communicate.”

These characteristics can be of great value to employers. Gen Y  employees work hard if their work is relevant to them or requires a high learning curve. They need a particular approach to encourage job satisfaction and company loyalty.

Tips on how to Attract, Manage and Retain Generation Y Employees:

1. Recognise good performance and offer constructive criticism: Offer praise for a job well done. Let them know how to improve and strengthen their skills. Gen Y need to be shown the path to success. (What they need to do to get promoted. How they can acquire the necessary skills.) Because they were indulged by their parents, they need this kind of guidance from their managers. They will benefit from mentoring and coaching.

2. Flexibility: Generation Y’s are increasingly more demanding about workplace flexibility. Flexibility when it comes to work hours, the choice of technology and access to social media networks.

A study called ‘Millennials and the Future of Work’ has shown:

1. Gen Y are seeking out jobs that are flexible. These jobs must allow for independence instead of traditional nine-to-five corporate jobs.

2. “Freedom in the Workplace”: Those stuck in these jobs said their reason for wanting to resign was because they wanted “freedom in the workplace”. As an employer, the work environment has to allow Gen Y to work within flexible hours. There should be no rigid start and end time. As long as the work gets done every day. No micro managing.

3. Work-life balance: Gen Y has the desire to make a strong contribution to their company while still having a work/life balance. Many Gen Y-ers are not willing to shape their lives around work demands. They want a full life to include ample time for friends, family and outside interests. An employer needs to recognise that these are well-rounded individuals. This generation is not prepared to sacrifice their private life for work as many of their parents did. Gen Y will thrive in a work environment that supports their personal development and skills development.

4. Career Fulfillment: Gen Y demands career fulfillment. They feel that a job they are not passionate about is not worth their time. They don’t want to be just a number in the company. They want to make a difference and be recognised. An employer needs to convince Gen Y that they will be allowed to express their creativity. Career paths need to be clear, but flexible and communicated to Gen Y. Individuality should be encouraged.

Read more about the “Millennials and the Future of Work Study“.