ALAN O’NEILL

Em­ploy­ers have a right to ex­pect the best from staff, no mat­ter what their back­ground or age. But they also have a duty too to lis­ten and adapt

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE -

THERE is much talk about mil­len­ni­als and how dif­fer­ent they are. Un­for­tu­nately, a lot of the overused de­scrip­tions are neg­a­tive. Mil­len­ni­als are of­ten deemed to be self­ish, with an over-the-top sense of en­ti­tle­ment and short at­ten­tion spans. The list goes on. Now I’m not putting my­self out there as a de­fender of this gen­er­a­tion born be­tween 1980 and 1995, loosely de­scribed as ‘gen Y’ or ‘mil­len­ni­als’. I am how­ever rais­ing a point about how we man­age our peo­ple.

As em­ploy­ers, we are en­ti­tled to max­i­mum pro­duc­tiv­ity from our peo­ple. We spend a lot of money on pay­roll and as with any in­vest­ment, we de­serve a re­turn on that.

Far too many of us, though, see pay­roll as a cost to be man­aged down­wards. But in these days of al­most full em­ploy­ment, that just won’t cut the mus­tard any more. We have to think and act dif­fer­ently.

Is it fair to sin­gle out mil­len­ni­als as be­ing so dif­fer­ent? Isn’t it likely that ‘baby-boomers’, born be­tween 1945 and 1965, were dif­fer­ent to their par­ents? What about ‘gen X’, born be­tween 1965 and 1980, when per­sonal com­put­ing was in its in­fancy and com­fort with tech­nol­ogy was a grow­ing pre-req­ui­site for em­ploy­ment? Mil­len­ni­als, as we know, were the first gen­er­a­tion to grow up with an abun­dance of tech­nol­ogy and a changed work­place. But let’s not for­get that they had just started in their ca­reers when the great global re­ces­sion took hold. They in­her­ited that re­al­ity.

‘Gen Z’, born be­tween 1995 and 2015, are a whole dif­fer­ent

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