Strategic talent management–understanding the Gen-Y talent (and also Gen-X who are probably managing them)

One of the topics that interested me while looking at the workforce of the organizations and putting together a talent management framework was the distribution of Gen-X and Gen-Y employees.  The tech-savvy, socially aware, rewards oriented new generation needs a different set of talent management practices.

Before we go in the talent management practices for this workforce, lets understand the different behavioral aspects of the Gen-Y and Gen-X employees within the companies.


You would have to scroll down to see the table of comparison.   

Aspect Gen-X Gen-Y
In general behavior Mostly restrained. Think before act. Mostly action oriented. Thinking is restricted to what action to be taken next.
Thoughts about leadership Do not mind being led by others. Values experience in the leaders. Wants to be in the forefront of action. Do not mind being led based on the behavior of leader, not experience.
Value towards experience Parental thinking towards experience. Do not mind being advised by experienced people even if personally do not like the advise. Siblings thinking towards experience. Experience is valued only if it helps them achieve something in their life. Mostly experience is irrelevant coz speed of change.
Thoughts about independence at work Need direction on where to go and then often pursue their goals without any intervention. Need to keep pushing towards goals. Need repeated nudges and status checks on how the work is progressing.
Need for feedback Regular feedback on how they are performing is needed. Mostly dependent on annual or mid-year appraisal feedbacks to know how they are performing. Equally receptive towards bad & good feedbacks. Need constant feedback on every work done. Want to be rewarded for every small achievement and always in need of social recognition. Do not prefer bad feedbacks as it is mostly hard to digest ‘how can I get it wrong?’
Thoughts towards rewards Freedom & self prestige More and more money, Repeated recognition of work
Value of training Learning is a way of self-development and to bring a greater good to self. Read more to keep abreast with the surroundings and its impact. Learning is necessary only if it brings any immediate rewards in terms of recognition, money, promotions etc. Otherwise its an overhead activity.
Thoughts towards Work hours Normally prefer scheduled work hours. 9-5 mentality is more common in Gen-X employees. Prefer flexi working hours. Do not like to be monitored on how much time spent in office. Spend more time in front of computers, not necessarily doing productive work. Be online till you get bored is the mantra.
Need of Work life balance Prefer to enjoy life along with friends & family. Need to spend time with dear ones to ensure that life is balanced properly. Mostly not self-centered. Heavily self-centered. Time for family is available only after time for ‘self’ is satisfied. Prefer to be online on social media than spend time with family chatting or reading.
Meaning of Loyalty Mostly committed towards the workplace. Mentality depends on how the workplace treats you as an individual. Being respected is a need but not must. Would not leave jobs for small issues at workplace. Committed until it keeps fueling their ‘me-myself’ ego and keep getting ‘exciting’ feelings from the workplace. They do not mind changing jobs as ‘experimentation’ until they figure out what they want from the job.
Meaning of money Money is necessary for having a safer and happier life. It helps gain financial freedom and independence in one’s life. More saving oriented and mostly think about future. Big spending need to be justified for value. Money is a way to keep them happy in their social life. Keeping up the lifestyle is more important than having a bigger bank balance. Spending is more to satisfy the lifestyle needs and have ‘how am I better than others’ feeling.
Conversational style Both talkers as well as listeners. Mostly think before giving advises. Empathise well with others when they are in conversation. The subject doesn’t necessarily need to be interesting to hold the longer conversation (i.e. a social issue) Mostly talkers and less of a listener. Keep giving advises even if they do not have any knowledge or expertise in the area of conversation. Can not hold non-interesting subject conversations, however can talk endless on interesting topics (i.e., girlfriends and boyfriends)
Experience vs Experiments Values experience of others as well as gaining self experience. Can learn from other’s failures. Often prefer to do it themselves rather than listening to elderly advise based on experience.
Ability of risk taking Mostly risk averse. Prefer to go with tried and tested path rather than radical approach towards goal. Since their thinking is base on experiments, mostly prefer taking risks and want dynamic rewards and radical changes.
Technology orientation Technology is need driven. All solutions do not need technology. Prefer human touch over technology. Technology is must and should be everywhere. More social online than in-person.

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