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BY RYAN HEALY

There’s no doubt Generation Y will fundamentally change corporate America. It’s already started. Managing Gen Y is a hot topic among consultants, HR executives and talent management professionals. For a Gen Y’er like me, this is great news.

We have a voice, and we have the ear of the decision-makers. We’re primed to change the workplace for the better. Here’s how we’ll do it.

1. We’ll hold only productive meetings.
A good meeting will pull everyone to the same page while motivating him or her to get the work done—which shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. As soon as Gen Y is running the show, watch wasted meeting time drop dramatically.

2. We’ll shorten the workday. A real workday for most of us, if you include the commute and breaks, is at least 10 hours. I would guess about half of those hours are spent doing real work. To balance work and life, you cannot waste time at the office. Gen Y knows this. They are productivity machines; they will figure out how to get as much done in six to seven hours as the average baby boomer does in eight.

3. We’ll bring back administrative assistants. These days, you have to be a high-level executive to have an assistant. Sure, this saves the company a ton, but Generation Y won’t stand for it. They recognize the value of time. Two hours a day not filing papers and mailing checks adds up to more than 500 extra hours a year that they can spend with family and friends. Even if it comes out of their own pockets, Gen Y will cough up the extra dough for part-time or virtual assistants.

4. We’ll redefine retirement.
Gen Y will figure out how to save money to retire. And they will reinvent retirement by taking multiple mini-retirements throughout their careers instead of a long, final retirement after age 65. Maybe in their late 20s they’ll take a few months to travel the world and later take a year to spend with their growing families.  When they hit 65, they’ll have 15 to 20 years left before they take their final, very brief, mini-retirement.

5. We’ll find real mentors.
Gen Y is obsessed with career development. They understand the importance of great mentors and they seek them out. But many older workers weren’t effectively mentored—so they don’t always know how to mentor Gen Y. Gen Y’ers will figure out how to mentor “up.” They will teach older co-workers about new technologies and the power of online communities.

6. We’ll restore respect to the HR department.
Ten years ago, HR got no respect. Today, companies see its importance. Gen Y recognizes that people make the company successful. HR is not a cost center. It is vital to the bottom line.

7. We’ll promote based on emotional intelligence.
Seniority alone does not make a good manager. People skills do. Gen Y will promote people who can manage and develop employees personally and professionally.

8. We’ll continue to value our parents. Gen Y’ers respect their parents. Don’t be surprised to see Gen Y employees giving their parents tours of the office and calling mom and dad for a little advice during lunch breaks. It’s not about being babied or refusing to grow up; it’s about mutual respect between Gen Y and their parents.

9. We’ll enjoy higher starting salaries. Sure, Gen Y is interested in volunteering and all that other good stuff, but they’re not idealists. They watched their parents get laid off. They believe companies look out for themselves, so Gen Y’ers do the same. Gen Y’ers will accept higher starting salaries rather than promises of raises and promotions that they may never see.

10. We’ll reinvent the performance review.
Annual performance reviews do not work for Gen Y because they want constant feedback. Gen Y will invent the on-the-spot performance review. Frequent feedback will lead to consistent improvement, and consistent improvement is what truly matters to Generation Y.

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Author: Ryan Healy is a co-founder of BrazenCareerist.com, an online community that connects top Gen Y professionals with employers. He was recently named one of 25 top HR thought leaders by Accenture and World at Work. Contact him at (203) 314-6138 or ryanhealy@brazencareerist.com.

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