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Why hire Generation Y? Understanding Generation Y's wants and needs can help managers to snag these energetic young employees.

Smart, demanding and restless, Generation Y is the fastest growing segment of the American workforce. They bring with them a broad profile of skills and a long list of personal and professional needs that requires employers to rethink and restructure their recruiting practices.

To successfully hire and retain this new generation of employees, it is essential that employers gain a complete understanding of what makes its members stand out in the workplace and how Generation Y workers can help the organization to succeed.

Made up of individuals born between the years of 1979 and 1993, Generation Y members are in their early- to-mid 20s, fresh out of college and at the start of their careers. Members of this generation grew up during a time of considerable social change and have been exposed to technology since they were able to utter the word "Google." Generation Y currently represents 21 percent of the workforce and is expected to add roughly 10 million workers over the next five years.

This energetic section of the workforce brings a number of lofty expectations for both it and its employers. Generation Y members have career paths in mind that will allow them to do work they feel is meaningful. They expect to identify and solve problems that nobody else has, and they expect to do more work better and faster than the next person does.

Generation Y employees also relish hands-on training and view their employers as a hub of resources, to whom they can turn for honest, direct and fair guidance, as well as for consistent feedback and significant rewards. Generation Y members are not hesitant to ask exactly what their employers want from them and, conversely, what their employers can offer them today, tomorrow and in several years.

Strengths of Generation Y

Technological innovation dramatically has altered the landscape of the apartment industry. With a growing number of technologically savvy apartment residents, property managers must ensure that they are recruiting employees who can focus on delivering cutting-edge technological solutions that boost efficiency and foster convenience. Their abilities will be integral to remaining competitive in the crowded apartment market.

With their adult lives directly corresponding to the genesis of the Internet, e-mail and instant messaging, Generation Y workers are tech-savvy and require little training on technology-based systems. This provides them with a distinct advantage in the process of learning new software and navigating the online tools that have become common for leasing, communicating with residents and collecting rent.

Generation Y's longtime exposure to the Internet has also given its members a more global view of the world, a relatively new concept in the region-focused industry. Less tied to boundaries, they see beyond their own markets to an infinite array of fresh ideas and choices. They generate new ideas and perspectives and bring few predispositions to the workplace. Because they are accustomed to fast-paced environments and constant communication, Generation Y employees are comfortable with speed and space and have the innate tools to do more, smarter and faster work.

Recruiting Generation Y: New Rules

The old rules of recruiting no longer apply for Generation Y. Having spent their entire lives in a world with a nearly full employment market and knowing their self worth, they bring much higher expectations. Technology, money, lifestyle issues and compelling work are all part of the recruiting equation.

To attract Generation Y's attention for recruitment, technology is key. Companies should use the Internet as a means for advertising job postings, as print is no longer the medium of choice. With 86 percent Generation Y using the Internet and online job boards as a primary source for job searches, property managers should update Web sites regularly, and post relevant information about job responsibilities, benefits and growth potential.

Generation Y employees are high performance, but also high maintenance, and believe fastidiously in their self worth. As a result, they place a high priority on making their jobs accommodate their personal lives. Creating a work-life program not only attracts Generation Y employees, but also keeps them in the workforce longer. Key variables include flex time, telecommuting options, tuition reimbursement and the ability to work part time or leave the workforce temporarily when children are in the picture.

Companies should also consider the physical structure of the workplace, as Generation Y employees are interested in working in comfortable environments. One deeply ingrained quality of this generation is its members' strong desire to interact with other employees. Many employers are adapting to this by creating flexible and open workspaces to facilitate communication among employees. Employers are also considering certain amenities that help to make the work-life balance easier for Generation Y employees. One suggestion is to offer onsite workout rooms and laundry facilities, which enable employees to carry out their daily duties in the workplace.

Employers can also tempt Generation Y employees with long-term financial incentives. Thirty-seven percent of Generation Y employees expect to start saving for retirement before they reach 25 years of age, and 40 percent say retirement benefits are a very important factor in their job choices. As a result, employers should consider such benefits in their compensation plans.

Generation Y: 7 Traits To Know

Having an understanding of these seven distinct characteristics of Generation Y employees is critical in creating a positive work environment by fully using their skills.

1. To Boldly Go. Generation Y employees have career paths in mind and seek work they feel is meaningful. They expect to identify and solve problems that nobody else has identified or solved before.

2. Better and Faster. Generation Y employees expect to do more, better and faster work than the next person

3. A Web of Opportunities. Most Generation Y employees will seek jobs via the Internet, so employers should update their Web sites regularly and include relevant information about job responsibilities, benefits and growth potential.

4. Demanding What I'm Worth. Generation Y employees are high-performance, but also high maintenance, and believe fastidiously in their self worth

5. Questioning Authority. Generation Y employees have an unabashed propensity to question authority.

6. Sharpening the Soft Skills. Many Generation Y employees require soft-skill training on professional interaction, particularly with communicating via e-mail and the phone.

7. More Than a Pat on the Back. A simple pat on the back an d a good performance review simply will not do for Generation Y employees. They expect managers to get to know them and their abilities and to provide constructive feedback--L.K.

Laura Khouri is Senior Vice President, Western National Group, Irvine, Calif. She oversees all aspects of human resources, including recruiting, pre-employment testing, orientation, benefits administration, policy and procedure development and implementation and human relations. She can be reached at
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Author:Khouri, Laura
Date:Mar 1, 2007
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