Challenges in Today’s Gen Y Workforce
By Teresa Aquila
Teresa is a top-notch mechanic with more than 40 years of experiencerepairing everything from Porsches to school buses. Currently she teaches abasic auto-repair class for women, host of Teresa’s Garage Radio Show author and writer.
Technology and parent rearing are the gears that turn today’s job seekers. Modern day companies are struggling to maintain a workforce in today’s economy. Unlike years past, current day employees have different views and demands on what energizes them to be loyal to their employers. Old employment strategies are out the window with this new Gen Y generation ages 16 to 38 years of age, depending on which study you believe. Our nation’s labor force in the automotive sector is diminishing and being phased out by retirement, with very few coming into the industry on the horizon.
What exactly are companies up against in attracting good sound employees to keep their bottom line in the black? Yesterday’s tactics are in the history books and have very little room on the table today. Maintaining a competitive edge with your competition is the key to success in this day and age.
How does a company transform itself when it comes to new hires? Understanding the Gen Y and Millennial generations is your first step. Before setting out to flood the job market with employment posts, let’s look at what you are up against. If you have dedicated longtime employees that are loyal to the company, hiring this new style of workforce may cause some protest on both sides of the aisle. Why?
The Millennials embrace the job market a bit differently than those employees you hired five or 10 years ago. In the past, employers held the strings with a strong hold on the job market. You would search for a position through newspapers, friends or family, or employment agencies. It was pretty cut and dried, with a description of the job opening, qualifications and a listing of the duties.Seems pretty simple, and it was.
Wearing the Human Resources shoes today takes on a different style. The new generation of employees have demands, not verbally, but socially. Understanding the job market is key to attracting the right candidates.
A study was completed by LinkedIn and Snagajob, online employment websites specializing in the hourly marketplace. The study showed that those surveyed indicated 71 percent of the hourly workforce is under 30 and felt that scheduling flexibility was a key factor. Of those, 59 percent felt that flexibility would result in higher job productivity. More than half said learning new things or accessing professional development opportunities would encourage them to be loyal to their job.
Close to 90 percent of Millennials expressed the value to them of having a reward system during training, and half of them stated that having friends in the workplace would motivate them and increase productivity. Another key factor: they value regular feedback from their employer about their performance, with 33 percent preferring recognition over higher pay.
Investing in new employees is costly to a company’s bottom line. High turnover can slow production and generate a reduction in output to consumers, taking a toll on not only the company but existing employees through overtime.
As an employer, what should you do?
• Develop consistent interview guidelines and questions. 
• Understand what your competitors are engaged in and what they offer their employees.
• Make expectations clear and be transparent about the company.
• Outline a recognition program for employees where they can be recognized by supervisors.
• Cultivate a team-building culture, whether inside the workplace or outside of the workplace.
• Empower employees in all positions and allow them to be a part of some decision-making.
• Educating your managers to understand this new style of workforce and to motivate employees.
How did we get to this stage? Millennial characteristics vary by region, depending on social and economic conditions; the generation is generally marked by an increased use of and familiarity with communications, media and digital technologies. In most parts of the world, their upbringing was marked by an increase in a liberal approach to politics and economics; the effects of this environment are disputed.
The Great Recession has had a major impact on this generation because it caused historically high levels of unemployment among young people, and has led to speculation about possible longterm economic and social damage to this generation.