Gen Y ‘demands improved performance management’
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Gen Y ‘demands improved performance management’

Younger workers bring about changes from the bottom up

Younger workers are pushing managers to provide better performance management as generation Y is “more challenging and demanding” than older age groups, senior HR professionals have said.

Speaking at a 3C Associates round table entitled 21st Century Performance Management, senior practitioners agreed that changes were being driven, in part, from the bottom up as a new generation enters the workforce.

Peter Cheese, chairman of both 3C and the Institute of Leadership and Management, said: “We’ve got a young generation coming into the workforce who say that just having vague conversations once in a while about what they have been doing, without a clue about what they might be doing next, is not good enough. So we’ve got that bottom-up pressure which I think most people are experiencing with this generation.”

Cheese, who will take up the role of chief executive at the CIPD in July, said that generation Y have very high expectations about how their managers should help them achieve their career goals.

“They expect feedback, and not just once a year or every six months, but all the time,” said Cheese.

“They want to know where they’ve gone wrong and how to improve, and it’s your job as a manager to help them to get better and understand where their career is going. And in a lot of cases they expect their career development to be rather fast at the end of it. It’s a higher level of expectation than we’ve seen in previous generations.”

Saqibah Sheikh, director of HR EMEA at YouGov, said: “We have a relatively young workforce, and we’re having conversations with our graduates coming in where they want to make a sudden jump in career.

“In response, we tell them that when we were at that stage it was usual to go through the process of putting in the hours and hard work to make a point of showing how good you can be. But people don’t want to do that anymore – they want to be recognised early for doing their jobs.”

Lyn Hoskin, HR manager at Pitney Bowes, said: “Now 25-year-olds are much more focussed on what they want from their job. They want to be more agile in the way they work rather than just working from nine to five-thirty. They want to be more flexible, involved in decision making and they are more vocal about these things.”

Cheese added that older employees could learn something from the generation Y approach.

“On the positive side, they are teaching us about things we should have always done. In my generation, we grew up with very little coaching or support and you had to climb the slippery pole. If you had an appraisal interview or discussion you were lucky, and it was usually very vague. The fact that this generation expects feedback and coaching is good practice. We should embrace that and use them in reverse mentoring,” he concluded.

Claire Churchard, People Management, 17 May 2012

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