The Multidimensional Workforce Pt. 1

As we continue to enter to a new technological age, we are faced with many different challenges. Although it may not get as much attention in the media because it is a tough puzzle to solve, businesses have to focus on solving their approach to the multidimensional workforce.

The multidimensional workforce welcomes the addition of Gen Y and already consists of the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, and Gen X. Unfortunately, there is discord between generations because Gen Y workers come off as being rash, informal, and selfish. Few companies are starting to rub off the “stereotypical” dirt to uncover the fact that Gen Y is actually ambitious, efficient, and self-driven.

Who is Gen Y? No exact years are given, but those born in between 1979-1997 are considered to be a part of Gen Y. Gen Y embodies the love and sense of entitlement they received from their Baby Boomer parents who worked hard to give the best to their children. Below is a complete profile of Gen Y:

  • Values: meritocracy, camaraderie, non-traditionalism, work-life balance, self-expression and meaning
  • Self-Perception: unique, proud, confident, entitled, frustrated, impatient
  • Skills: technology-related tasks

Gen Y believes that the strongest survive. Valuing meritocracy, good work should be rewarded properly. A sense of teamwork for collaboration or competition and flexibility in work procedures are sought after in this generation. The normal 9-5 schedule doesn’t work, as there should be a great work/life balance. Strongly results driven, people of this generation want to see life move in double time. They can’t wait to be at the top of the ladder and will work hard to find ways to be recognized. As the work-life perception is more balance, the work will get done, doesn’t matter what time it gets done. With the immersion in the Internet and amount of information, people are able to express themselves in ways that are very unique. Social media has given this generation a new way to express who they are, what they like, and so forth. Gen Y is proud of this and highly values self-expression.

Most of Gen Y was given constant positive feedback from parents, and therefore have a high level of confidence. It may come off as arrogance, but the multidimensional workforce should recognize that this “arrogance” is actually a strong level of confidence and ambition. Although Gen Y is not typically loyal to the company, they are loyal to their work. The rise of social responsibility and technology has given the majority of Gen Y to participate in meaningful work. This work is defined uniquely for each employee, and this is the key to tapping Gen Y’s potential.

By 2020, the US Bureau of Labor predicted that Gen Y will make up 40% of the workforce. Whether or not businesses like it, Gen Y is here to rule the world. Businesses have to start designing for the future of employment, so it is advantageous to employ people who understand customers the best—other Gen Y’ers. Luckily, Gen Y is motivated by meaningful work, constant feedback, self-expression, competition, altruism, and teamwork. If you have been following Prof. Kevin Werbach’s gamification lectures on Coursera, it is quite obvious that gamification can help solve the problem of integrating Gen Y into the workforce. In Bunchball’s white paper “Gamification at Work”, they cited a 2011 MTV study saying Gen Y’s universal quote was #winning. Games have been a part of their digital media, and much learning goes on in game environments. Gen Y speaks the language of games, and businesses should start to speak the same.

Remember, Gen Y is not a nuisance. They are untapped potential. Mentorship and guidance will help Gen Y employees discover what is meaningful to them while driving innovation and growth for your company. There is a clear win-win if businesses are willing to welcome Gen Y. There is no reason not to. I’m 20, and I recently got inducted into the Gamification Guru leaderboard. I like to say my ambition knows no bounds, but I am frustrated because I am a college student confused about the future. I’m not sure if I will get a job after I graduate, and I am very focused on school. When I enter the workforce, I may not understand the corporate culture principle or corporate etiquette, but my generation is a quick study. We learned how to process massive amounts of information quickly from spending our second lives on the Internet. We just need mentorship and guidance for onboarding. Gen Y loves the path to mastery, and businesses will love their investment in this emerging workforce.

To get a better picture of the workplace, this Gen Y Venn Diagram explains the interactions that go on in the multidimensional workforce. These insights provide key features of each generation while showing areas of interest in different generation interactions. For the next post in my Gen Y series, I will focus on each of these interactions and explain how gamification can best maximize productivity and engagement in inter- and intra- generation communication.



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