Seven Frequently Asked Questions From Those Who Manage Generation X and Generation Y

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Seven Frequently Asked Questions From Those Who Manage Generation X and Generation Y

Do I have to hire Generation Y?

This is a real question I received while facilitating a workshop on engaging every age in the workplace. I love it! Curious what other questions I am often asked? Today I’ll be giving you the inside scoop.

The questions people ask while I am speaking or facilitating workshops in their organization are extremely valuable. With every question I get, I learn more about the challenges managers, leaders and employees face in organizations of all sizes and industries, all over the map. That knowledge is good for me, and it’s good for my clients. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to see a light bulb go off for someone.

I’ve had a ton of learning opportunities in the last few months. In September alone I worked with ten organizations across five states.

Source: Sharing the Dream Program

Source: Sharing the Dream Program

What do I talk about to all these organizations? Well, many things. My keynotes and workshops have recently covered how to sell to Gen Y, the importance of feedback, how to coach employees rather than manage them, emotional intelligence, our country’s ever present gender bias, listening skills, energy management, managing Generation X (born between 1965-1980), and Generation Y  (born between 1981 and 2001), and the four major workforce trends headed our way.

That’s a lot of topics to digest, but today I only want to focus on one: Managing Generation X and Generation Y.

So take a seat next to the podium and listen to the most frequently asked questions about managing Gen X and Gen Y (also known as Millennials):

FAQs From Those Who Manage Generation X and Y

  1. Do I have to hire Gen Y?

The answer is yes.

By the way, Gen Y has now surpassed the Baby Boomers as the largest living generation. So pay attention to this generation!

  1. How can I communicate with Gen Y if I don’t text?

This is an easy one—just send them cat videos! I’m kidding—sort of.

communicating with gen y

If you don’t text, don’t worry. Send Millennials videos on a topic they are interested in, engage in conversations via Skype, FaceTime or similar (it’s almost face-to-face), or send them fun pictures of interesting places and people to start a conversation. You’ll most likely enjoy this interaction too!



  1. How will reading someone’s body language help me get ahead at my job?

Reading the nonverbal cues will help you read between the lines of what’s being said.

For example, if you ask someone to do something and they say yes with their arms crossed and a frown on their face, that may be a clue they’re not happy about your request. Unhappy and disengaged team members are more likely to do a poor job.

nonverbal communication

Sometimes the person may say yes, but his body language is saying no. If you can notice nonverbal cues like this, you are then able to ask what’s going on and address any problems before they well up into a larger conflict. You will also be able to better navigate relationships and build trust—all necessary skills for that sought-after promotion.

This question was asked by a scientist; read more about that here.

  1. How do we adjust our organizational culture to Gen Y?

You don’t. Your organizational culture is created by core values and behaviors. You don’t change your values for a group of people. Instead, focus on the behaviors that match the organization’s values, with Gen Y in mind.

For example, in the medical industry, patient focus is a value. Knowing that Gen Y likes to connect, what behavior do you want your employees to do to show that patients come first?

  1. How do we best internally communicate with Gen Y & Gen X?

Photo Credit: Jonathan Powell

Photo Credit: Jonathan Powell

When it comes to either of these generations, short, quick messages benefit communication outcomes. Using videos and podcasts is also effective.

Long emails or voicemails might seem thoughtful and informative, but they aren’t the best way to connect with these two generations.

  1. What do we do when Gen Y comes to work late all the time?

Coming to work late is not a generational issue—it’s about human behavior and motivation.

If an employee of any generation is always late, focus on clearly communicating your expectations to them, and always hold them (and yourself) accountable for those expectations.

  1. How do we train Gen Y?

If you want to reach Gen Y in the most effective way possible, take into account that they are all individuals who learn best in their own way. If you cover all of your bases while training, you have a much higher chance at success.

The best way to do this is to incorporate the seven learning styles into your training program. There are spatial learners, linguistic learners, instrapersonal learners, interpersonal learners, musical learners, bodily-kinesthetic learners, and logical-mathematical learners. Learn about each of the seven learning styles, and explore different ideas for using them to improve team management here.

Aren’t these questions fun? Of course this list is just the tip of the iceberg…

In closing, here’s a great quote from a workshop participant. This is good advice!

Don’t be afraid of Gen X. They are not as scary as they seem.

What are your questions? Do any of the above resonate with you? I’d love to chat about it. Let me know in the comment section below, via email, or find me on Twitter.

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1 Comment

  1. This Week’s Links « Timothy Siburg
    November 17, 2015

    […] Anne Loehr shared and unpacked, “Seven Frequently Asked Questions from those who manage Generation X and Generation Y.” […]


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