Baby Boomers’ Guide to Working with Generation Y

Baby Boomers can learn to develop and mentor Generation Y talent with a little extra care and flexibility. The Public Speaker shows how respect and mentorship can bring out the best in Generation Y and benefit your workplace.

Lisa B. Marshall
5-minute read
Episode #192

Tip #3: Foster Mentorships

Generation Y is used to going to their parents for advice and want strong relationships with people they work with. Consider developing a formal mentorship program. According to the program Bridges: Connecting Generations in the Workplace, the 3 things Generation Y wants most from their managers are career develop opportunities, straight feedback, and mentoring and coaching. Generation Y is light on work experience but heavy on desire to perform. Mentoring is a great way to help them get a running start.

One word of caution: Don’t match your Gen Y employee with a mentor who appears to be inflexible and set in their ways. Gen Y won’t respect someone who answers their “But why?” questions with “Because that’s how it’s always been done.” Don’t choose a mentor that already has a known bias against this younger generation. Mutual respect and trust are critical to a valuable mentor/mentee relationship.

Tip #4: Be Flexible

Generation Y grew up with technology. They are capable of doing work from anywhere and used to communicating electronically. If you plan to retain your Generation Y employees, be more flexible about where and when work gets done. Some of your employees will want to work from home on some days. Some might prefer the office, but would rather come in late and stay late, or take a longer lunch to fit in a workout at the gym.

A company called The Small Biz Map did a survey in 2009 and found that 58% of Generation Y workers considered flexibility at work to be extremely important. This generation expects their work and life to work seamlessly together, and if they feel they can’t achieve this balance at your company, they won’t stay long.

I firmly believe that Generation Y and Baby Boomers have a lot to offer each other in the professional world. If we take the time to develop and mentor Generation Y, we will be rewarded with a capable and talented workforce that will carry our businesses into the next generation.

This is Lisa B. Marshall, The Public Speaker. Passionate about communication; your success is my business. 

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About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.