Managing Gen Y & Gen X Employees During a Recession

Knowing the best ways to manage a multigenerational workforce is important during periods of growth but it’s especially key during tough economic times. Managing Gen Y, Gen X and a multigenerational team takes dedication, understanding and skill.

Here are a few tips for managing Gen Y and Gen X employees during a recession.

Increase Information Sharing & Transparency

When managing younger employees, remember that they do not want to simply hear the “party line.” Most Gen Xers and Gen Ys are naturally skeptical of information that is presented to them. They also talk and share openly with one another. You should do the same.
By being transparent and sharing quarterly results, numbers and other business information on a regular basis, you let your employees know that they can trust you. Being more open with business information also allows you to manage the rumour mill. Employees won’t speculate and talk about what they think is happening in the company if you give them the honest information on a regular basis.

Involve younger colleagues in creating solutions

Gen Xers want to have some control over their own work and the freedom to deliver results that may be different from the ones you envisioned. Gen Ys are extremely innovative and creative and they want to be involved in creating solutions. They don’t want to simply have solutions passed down to them.
If you involve all employees, at all levels, in the process of defining and reaching goals, you’ll end up managing Gen Y and Gen X employees much more effectively. They’ll appreciate being part of the decision making process.

Focus on quarterly skill building

Gen X and Gen Y employees expect to learn and grow in their jobs. This helps them avoid feelings of stagnation. By focusing on the immediate skills and the results achieved, employees will feel as though they are always moving forward and growing.
Each quarter, set and review two or three skills (large or small) with your team. This will provide them with goals to strive for and ensures that they are constantly learning. Review results with your team regularly and encourage them to keep their own performance reports.

Be available for one-on-one informal ‘chats’

When managing Gen Y and Gen X employees, it’s important to set time aside for your team to be able to connect with you. Gen Ys in particular are used to discussing their personal needs on a regular basis. Let people know that you are available for coffee chats, quick talks, instant messengingand email conversations on a regular basis. This will let your team know that you’re available when they need you and let them express in a timely manner any issues or concerns that may come up.

Focus on cross-functional learning

Coordinate team projects where employees from different departments and roles are involved. Cross-functional learning can provide younger colleagues with new and challenging skill building opportunities.
This is important when managing Gen Y and Gen X employees as it gives them the opportunity to perform new and interesting tasks and gives them the chance to learn new skills on a regular basis. Cross-functional learning is especially important during a recession, when there may not be many opportunities to promote staff or to increase pay.

Giselle Kovary

As president and co-founder of n-gen People Performance Inc., Giselle is dedicated to building strategies and programs that target, motivate and engage a multigenerational workforce. She is a sought after resource to industry leaders, having worked with 18 of the top Fortune 500 companies. Over 60,000 people globally have experienced an n-gen workshop or presentation. She has devoted more than fifteen years to researching the impact that generational differences have on organizational performance. Giselle has co-authored two books: Loyalty Unplugged: How to Get, Keep & Grow All Four Generations and Upgrade Now: 9 Advanced Leadership Skills. She has a Master’s degree in communication studies from the University of Windsor.

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