This post was originally posted at Employee Evolution Last May, I wrote a post titled 10 Ways Generation Y Will Change the Workplace. It received a lot of attention and more importantly a lot of conversation. The gist of the post was not to say that Generation Y is great and we will make everything better. Rather, it […]
This post was originally posted at Employee Evolution
Last May, I wrote a post titled . It received a lot of attention and more importantly a lot of conversation. The gist of the post was not to say that is great and we will make everything better. Rather, it was a testament to what I witnessed during trips to different companies and what I heard from my peers in the workforce.
Nine months later, the economy has collapsed and the workplace is changing before our eyes. This next year or two will be a defining time for our generation, and I believe it will shape our world view and work view in many ways. Based on this, I’ve come up with 10 more ways Generation Y will change the workplace. Hopefully it will strike up just as much conversation and maybe even some action, so things can start changing for the better.
1. We’ll reduce executive compensation for underperforming companies
It’s already happening. at the banks that were bailed out. In 2007, the average CEO salary at the largest companies was more than $11 Million. It’s hard to justify paying anyone that much. In some cases, these executives probably do provide more $11 million in value to their respective companies. And when that happens, they should be compensated for it. But having a CEO expect $11 million regardless of performance is just bad business. The Obama administration is setting the precedent, and as Gen Y takes power we will follow through and reduce executive compensation for underperforming companies.
2. Discussing salaries will be completely normal
Transparency is king. You hear it everywhere these days. Social media is forcing companies to open up their doors and show the world what’s really going on. to the American public. And the vast majority of the world’s under-30 population are living their entire lives online. Transparency is no longer an option. Websites like and let you compare your salary with others in the industry. . Even financial gurus like say it’s great for business. As Gen Y continues to work our way up the ladder, it will just be a matter of time before companies of all sizes have transparent salaries.
3. Employees will be more loyal than ever before
Transparency does not just mean that everyone knows what everyone else in a company makes. It means that the company must educate their employees on everything that is going on. When Pepsi was ready to release their new “Gen Y Friendly” logo to the world, they wanted to make sure that their employees weren’t surprised when they found it in the grocery store. So they invited their staff to a party and introduced the product. The employees were excited and they felt like the company actually cared about them. When employees feel like they matter and the company thinks about them first, they feel a sense of pride and true loyalty to a company. Expect to see this trend continue as Gen Y comes of age.
4. There will be less mass layoffs, but more pay cuts
When someone feels a true sense of pride and loyalty to their company, they’re more likely to figure out a way for everyone to pull through when times are tough. We watched our parents and our friend’s parents being laid off when we were young and we’re going through it now. We know the hardship that comes with it. Don’t be surprised to see across-the-board pay-cuts instead of mass layoffs when times get tough. Start ups do it all the time – my company did it without thinking twice. And it’s already happening at large corporations; rather than laying off hundreds. When you’re part of a team, you want that team to succeed, and you’ll do what’s necessary to survive. And as we all know, Generation Y is the ultimate team player generation.
5. We’ll truly get over the “punch clock” mentality
It’s easy to say you have a progressive workplace and that you don’t care what hours people are actually working at the office or what they do outside of work. But the truth is, companies care and people care. At the typical company, everyone notices what time someone leaves the office and what time people get in. We’re still stuck in a workplace that was designed around producing widgets on an assembly line. As life moves more and more online, and new technologies are invented that allow traditional offices to be truly optional, the punch clock mentality will slowly disappear. By the time Gen Y is ready to retire, people won’t even know what a punch clock is, and maybe then we will finally be working in the environment that knowledge workers are meant to work in.
6. Independent contractors will become part of the team
Nearly every company hires independent contractors to work for them. Contractors are great. They don’t require health insurance and you don’t have to pay the extra taxes. But they’re often treated very differently than traditional employees. As more people develop skills that allow them to be effective independent contractors, and some form of universal healthcare is finally adopted, companies will begin to think of their contractors as their employees. When Brazen had a big budget, we worked with a ton of contractors. When people asked how many employees we had, I would always mention that our team felt much larger because of all the freelancers. As the number of independent contractors increases, they will become a vital part of the team.
7. Corporate branding will work in conjunction with personal branding
Companies spend a lot of money on branding. They throw huge budgets at PR firms and superbowl ads. It usually results in a ton of brand recognition. But brand recognition is no longer enough. Consumers want transparency, conversation and experience. Generation Y doesn’t want a company to talk AT us, we want to talk WITH a company. The only way for a company to talk with a person is to give employees the freedom to interact. It’s already happening as people like are branding themselves as social media players and in the process. Who knows exactly how this will play out, but as Gen Y invents new technologies and new marketing strategies, corporate branding will never look the same.
8. Leadership will be a team effort
Jack Welch was a larger than life CEO. Everyone knew who he was and his personal brand may have been just as big as GE’s brand. In , Jim Collins determined that dominant CEOs like Jack Welch actually have a lower than average ROI during their tenure. This is because CEOs need to be respected and admired by their employees, and they need to be selfless and always thinking about the organization. As a team-oriented group, Generation Y will not stand by and watch one person insert his will on the company. We will figure out a new form of leadership, where one person is the decision maker, but leading is a team effort. With all the new social technologies, there will always be a place for people with huge personal brands and huge personal egos. They will make a lot of money and still be well-known, but they won’t be the ones running large organizations.
9. We will really know people before we hire them
I can’t tell you exactly how they will look, but sooner than later, resumes will be extremely different. It’s not because a hard copy piece of paper is outdated, it’s because people are becoming more and more complex. Resumes were created when people went to school, graduated, got a job and maybe another job. But today people and have multiple hobbies outside of work. We live our lives online. It’s too limiting to judge someone based on one sheet of paper. Social technologies give employers a window into people’s souls. As Gen Y become responsible for hiring decisions, you can bet we will know almost everything we possibly can about someone before we give them an offer.
10. Entry level employees will be students and teachers
In the old days, entry-level employees had to pay dues before they moved up. This makes sense, it’s impossible to know how a job or an industry works when you’ve never been there before. Young people had everything to learn and nothing to teach. Things are different now. For the first time in history, the youngest people in the workplace have the most knowledge about a very important topic – technology. And get this; we want to teach our bosses and managers how to use these technologies. This trend will continue. Young people will stay on top of the newest useful technologies. As Gen Y grows up, cross-mentor programs will be instituted. Old will teach young and young will teach old. Sounds like a great environment to me.
Ryan Healy is the COO/Co-Founder of Brazen Careerist and regularly writes and speaks on all things Gen Y, and Entrepreneurship