Leadership Tips for Managing Gen Y

By Roberta Chinsky Matuson President, Matuson Consulting | December 22, 2013

They have been called a lot of things: Gen Y, Millennials, the What's-in-it-for-Me Generation, and other monikers that we can't put in print. This is the generation that in three years time will represent 50 percent of the workforce. They have been raised by the Baby Boomers, yet they are nothing like their parents.

This generation gave themselves a pretty bad rap right out the gate. Many entered the workforce during the Dot.com days, where young technologically savvy workers ruled the world. They earned more money in their first jobs than their parents earned at the peak of their careers. Talent wars were all the rage. Like Hollywood starlets, their demands kept rising and they experienced short-lived fame. The Dot.com bubble exploded and these workers found themselves back home, unemployed and sleeping in their old bunk beds.

This generation's claim to fame may have ended years ago, but unfortunately for them, their reputation still stands. Gen Y is desperately trying to repair the damage done by their older members.

Meet the Generations

It's no secret that every generation sees the world differently. Their attitudes and expectations are influenced by the events that occurred during their formative years and when they entered the workplace (see Beloit College's Mindset List below). Many of us still hear from the Traditionalists (those born before 1945) about life during the depression. It's as if this period in time never ended. It should come as no surprise that Traditionalists are often described as loyal, hard working, thrifty, and willing to make sacrifices.

Fast forward to the Millennials, who were born in the '80s. Most have lived a very protected life. They were raised by work-obsessed Baby Boomer parents who tried to make up for time spent away. They were awarded trophies for joining the team, taken on expensive vacations (no Motel 6's for this group), and shielded from hard labor (also commonly known as entry-level minimum wage jobs). This group is not accustomed to starting at the bottom and working their way up and they will tell you so in no uncertain terms. They question the status quo, work on their own terms, and want to make an impact on Day 1.

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Architecture & Design: Expecting the Unexpected

There are more than 700,000 hotels and resorts worldwide and the hotel industry is continually looking for new ways to differentiate its properties. In some cases, hotels themselves have become travel destinations and guests have come to expect the unexpected - to experience the touches that make the property unlike any other place in the world. To achieve this, architects and designers are adopting a variety of strategies to meet the needs of every type of guest and to provide incomparable customer experiences. One such strategy is site-integration - the effort to skillfully marry a hotel to its immediate surroundings. The goal is to honor the cultural location of the property, and to integrate that into the hotel's design - both inside and out. Constructing low-impact structures that blend in with the environment and incorporating local natural elements into the design are essential to this endeavor. Similarly, there is an ongoing effort to blur the lines between interior and exterior spaces - to pull the outside in - to enable guests to connect with nature and enjoy beautiful, harmonious surroundings at all times. Another design trend is personalization - taking the opportunity to make every space within the hotel original and unique. The days of matching decor and furniture in every room are gone; instead, designers are utilizing unexpected textures, mix-and-match furniture, diverse wall treatments and tiles - all to create a more personalized and fresh experience for the guest. Finally, lobbies are continuing to evolve. They are being transformed from cold, impersonal, business-like spaces into warm, inviting, living room-like spaces, meant to provide comfort and to encourage social interaction. These are a few of the current trends in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.