IN THE MIX - THE LATEST CONCRETE NEWS

GETTING YOUR HEAD AROUND OUR YOUNGER GENERATION 10 Sep 2014

“YOUNG PEOPLE TODAY … THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT HARD WORK REALLY MEANS.”

Ever thought this about your apprentices? Chances are your boss thought the same when you were starting out in the job.

Imagine waking up to a workday in the 1960s – it would be completely different to a regular working day in 2014. Just as the work environment has evolved, so have the attitudes and behaviours of the generations.

Most of the negative perceptions associated with Generation Y (those born 1980-2000) are caused by misunderstandings, rather than them simply being “no good”. Below we look at some Gen Y traits. Many employers with new apprentices will recognise these traits, but it’s important they also understand them.

CONSTANT NEED FOR FEEDBACK
Perception: This is a bid for attention or a lack of know-how that irritates supervisors.
Reality: Eager to please, young people want to know they’re doing a good job and look for mentorship. They want frequent feedback and guidance from their mentor.

CONFIDENT IN THEIR ABILITIES, ESPECIALLY WITH TECHNOLOGY
Perception: They are over-confident and expecting fast promotion. They’re unwilling to pay their dues and think they know it all.
Reality: They want a meaningful, important job that pays the bills and gives them a sense of purpose. In regard to technology, they are up with the play.

CRAVE IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION
Perception: They’re disrespectful; unable to show respect to authority.
Reality: They are data-driven; not concerned with emotion and deal with the hard facts. They’re all about equal rights at every level.

NOT INTERESTED IN WORKING 9 TO 5
Perception: Young people have a short attention span and are unwilling to put in the required time and effort.
Reality: Millennials are open to change, flexible; willing to work any time provided they’re able to do so on their own schedule. They want and expect the freedom to choose.

ARE RESTLESS
Perception: This impatience bordering on arrogance, shows they think they are more accomplished than what they are.
Reality: In fact they are action-oriented; self-motivated and eager to achieve goals. They’re motivated by their own ideas making an impact and are satisfied when their ideas have a quick impact.

TOO CONNECTED TO THEIR PARENTS
Perception: Young people are coddled, unable to make decisions for themselves.
Reality: Gen Y is family-oriented; most individuals long to remain connected and think about the community at large rather than just themselves.

SELF-PROMOTING
Perception: They are narcissistic and self-obsessed, particularly online.
Reality: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter – these days everyone markets themselves and their own personal ‘brand’ in order to stand above the competition. Gen Y has no choice but to invest in and develop an online presence.

JOB-HOPPERS
Perception: They are disloyal and unable to stick with one thing for any length of time.
Reality: Gen Y is concerned with their work environment and doesn’t want to be taken advantage of. Individuals will put in the hours and work hard but it’s important it’s in the right environment.

WHY SHOULD I CARE?
It’s important you understand these traits, because Gen Y employees will compose the majority of the construction workforce by 2025. If you’re taking on a young apprentice or worker, assign them a mentor, provide ongoing training and give specific feedback, and give them a stake in your company’s outcomes by encouraging their ideas and questions.

On one worksite alone, there may be at least three different generations all working together. To ensure a harmonious environment, all generations need to understand one another, so that everyone’s ideas and opinions benefit the business, and the industry, as a whole. In order to properly mentor the next generation of construction professionals, today’s industry leaders need to understand the Gen Y mindset to help groom the leaders of the future.

By Gloria McGuire, Marketing & Communications, BCITO. Article reprinted with kind permission from the BCITO.

Taken from the December 2014 NZRMCA Newsletter
Images - BCITO