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Say what!? Gen Y employees bring great expectations to work

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in Career Management,Hiring,HR Management,Human Resources,Office Communication,Workplace Communication

Perez Hilton, who? d-listed, what? And what in the world does “OMG” mean? If you’re feeling out of touch with workers from younger generations at the office, you’re not alone.

A new survey by CareerBuilder.com points to more pronounced generational gaps in communication styles and job expectations in the workplace. Titled “Gen Y at Work,” the survey was conducted from June 1 to June 13, 2007, among 2,546 hiring managers and HR professionals across all industries.

Nearly half (49%) of employers surveyed said the biggest gap in communication styles between Generation Y employees (29 years old or younger) and older workers is that Gen Y’ers are more likely to use technology to communicate than to have a face-to-face conversation. Another 25% say they have a different frame of reference, especially in terms of pop culture.

In terms of job expectations, 87% of all hiring managers and HR professionals say some or most Gen Y workers feel more entitled in terms of compensation, benefits and career advancement than older generations.

Employers provided the following examples:

  • 74% of employers say Gen Y workers expect to be paid more.
  • 61% say they expect to have flexible work schedules.
  • 56% say Gen Y workers expect to be promoted within a year.
  • 50% say they expect to have more vacation or personal time.
  • 37% say Gen Y workers expect to have access to state-of-the-art technology.

Over half (55%) of employers over the age of 35 feel Gen Y workers have a more difficult time taking direction or responding to authority than other generations of workers.

“Generation Y workers are an important segment of the work force and literally the future of companies and organizations,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder.com. “They grew up in a technology-driven world where standards and norms have changed and often operate under different perspectives than older co-workers. As companies’ cultures evolve with each generation, you see all workers benefiting from a variety of viewpoints and work styles.”

Fifteen percent of employers said they had changed or implemented new policies or programs to accommodate Gen Y workers—changes, Haefner pointed out, that would benefit workers of all ages. Examples include:

  • More flexible work schedules (57%)
  • More recognition programs (33%)
  • More access to state-of-the-art technology (26%)
  • Higher salaries and bonuses (26%)
  • More ongoing education programs (24%)
  • Paying for cell phones, PDAs, etc. (20%)
  • More telecommuting options (18%)
  • More vacation time (11%). 

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