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Adapting to the Growing Influence of the X/Y Generations on the Workplace

by Michael M DeSafey

posted in Business

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Not only do people from Generation X and Generation Y make up a large portion of the workplace in the construction, engineering and environmental industries, but they are also the individuals coming into power. As a result, the workplace environment has to shift to meet these growing demands and to keep employees happy on the job.
Creating a Balance
Some people assume that the members of Generation X and Y are lazy. They think that these individuals would rather spend most of their time relaxing. However, that's not the case. People are balancing responsibilities in ways that they didn't in the past. For example, in many households, both of the parents work. As a result, one of the parents needs to have time to arrange drop-offs and pick-ups for school and activities. That doesn't necessarily mean that Generation X and Y members want to work less, but they want to have flexible schedules. Working at home, for example, is growing increasingly more popular. People can schedule construction projects, create outreach programs for environmental campaigns and review engineering material at a time suitable for them.
Establishing Relationships with Managers
Individuals in these generations still look toward their managers as leaders, but they also see them as partners. While a level of respect and authority is imperative to maintaining structure in the workplace, employees want to feel as though they are working in tandem with their managers. For example, at a construction company, people want to feel as though they are working with their managers to create a new entity. They don't want to feel frightened of them. Establishing relationships with managers is important. Some people have friendly conversations, and others invite their managers to social events.
Developing Throughout
Generation X and Yers are quite focused on the skills they are developing. They may not have a long-term career goal or a particular position that they are trying to obtain by the time they reach the end of their careers. Instead, they have been trained to focus on skills, and their ultimate goals likely relate more to those skills than to a specific position. For example, someone may not necessarily want to own a company, but he or she may wish to develop and exert strong leadership skills.
Focusing on Technology
In a world where technology has such a heavy presence, failure to pay attention to how that affects the workforce is a tremendous problem. Part of that has to do with work-at-home opportunities. Since people in these generations often have a variety of obligations outside of work, they are happy to participate in opportunities that allow them to complete some of their work at home. They are also savvy at using new technology in the workplace. They can help individuals who are not as skilled in this area. These generations also are adept at using social media. For instance, they could create a page that promotes environmental causes and speaks out to thousands of people in a moment. Furthermore, companies need to change how they advertise jobs to some degree. Many individuals who fall into one of these generations look for jobs on the internet, so the companies need to make sure their posts are available.
As new generations come into power, the world has to respond to match up with those changes. Right now, the workplace is looking for methods that will better speak to both the needs and the strengths of the people who are in Generation X and Y.
About the Author: Michael DeSafey is a leading executive recruiter for professionals in the construction, engineering and environmental industries. He is currently the President of Webuild Staffing To learn more about Michael or to follow his Blog please visit
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