Why? Why? Why?
“Generation Y will ask how what they do fits into the bigger picture — and mixed with recognition that they don’t know everything, it’s a really good impulse,” says Huntley. It’s also a feature that’s here to stay and even the more conservative workplaces are changing the way they manage their young staff.
Take for instance one Melbourne law firm partner with 16 years’ experience, who is in charge of the firm’s first-year graduates. He says that although at times it’s hard to see in them any appealing traits, he’s often bowled over by their natural intellectual enthusiasm. “They’re fantastic in brainstorming sessions because that’s when their intellect truly shines,” he says. “And as it’s so hard to get into law these days, graduates are bright, so we see the best of the generation.”
Still, there are occasions when young lawyers say inappropriate things to clients. “That’s when we take them aside and explain that the client’s not there to listen to a 20-year-old — they want the benefit of the experience of a partner. Enthusiasm is great among this generation — it’s just a matter of tempering it.”
The key, says social researcher Mark McCrindle in his white paper New Generations at Work: Attracting, Recruiting, Retraining & Training Generation Y, is building their rapport by appealing to the individual — what Grose describes as the what’s-in-it-for-me factor.
Why? Why? Why?