generation y and workplace

Generation Y and Work



fit in procedure expectation
await handrail culture shock
row (3) consulting play a joke on me
connect structured go through the motions
leisure hierarchy workshop (2)
ladder time clock punch a time clock
trainer egotistical accommodate (2)
rigid governance call that into question
abolish participate climb the career ladder
achieve perspective productivity
adapt accordingly participants
auditor emphasis  short supply
accuse ambition self-centered
desire fulfillment individualism
audience receptive networking





Steffi Burkhart, Management Trainer: “I was full of expectations when I started working for a big company in 2010.

But what awaited me there was an absolute culture shock.

Today Stephie Bolkhart gives talks based on her experience as a representative of Generation Y, those now between 20 and 30 years old.

Steffi Burkhart, Management Trainer: “For me, Generation Y is more about having a modern attitude, something both old and young people can have.”

After two years of working for a chemical company, she realized that she just didn’t fit in there.

Steffi Burkhart, Management Trainer: “We were all going down the stairs, and I was first in line. The others were behind me like ducks in a row.

Suddenly, my boss said from behind me, ‘Frau Burkhart, please use the handrail.’ I turned around and saw that everyone was using the handrail, and thought, ‘Okay, they’re playing a joke on me.’

So I laughed.

But no one else did.

So I thought, ‘Humph. Okay, so I’ll use the handrail too’.”

Her workday was completely structured; Burkhart couldn’t stand just going through the motions. And quit.

Today she works as a coach at a small consulting firm in Cologne.

It has just eight employees.

And a flat hierarchy.

The 29-year-old decides for herself when her day begins. Sometimes, she works at the office; other times at home . . .

Flexibility is the key.

Steffi Burkhart, Management Trainer: “We’d like to connect work and leisure because it results in a new perspective; a new view of work — and maybe to the notion of performance.

For us, performance is not about Do it! Do it! Do it! for 12 hours; and then my free time starts, and with it the fun.

The fun is linked with the work.”

Doing the same things every day . . . following set procedures . . . punching a time clock . . .

Generation Y is calling all that into question.

For these young people, free time is more important than climbing the career ladder.

These digital natives who grew up with smart phones and the internet, are used to working anytime, anywhere.

So U-3 researcher, Klaus Hermmann says companies need to accommodate their wishes, especially when skilled workers are in short supply.

Klaus Hurrelmann, Hertie School of Governance: “It all advances the company. Most of it is in the management books:

Abolish rigid hierarchies . . . Make work processes flow . . . Let employees participate and help shape things . . . and you’ll achieve much higher productivity.

Who does that automatically and to meet their own needs?

The younger generation.”

Burkhart is leading a workshop for managers.

She designed the program herself. It’s about developing a modern management style.

The participants belong to an older generation.

Andreas Schwamborn, Tax Auditor: “Realizing that other people functioned differently was new for me.

I’m always telling my kids, ‘Work first, and then play’.

And they don’t like that.

So it’s good to see things through other eyes — and adapt accordingly.”

Josef Muller, Entrepreneur: “I wouldn’t call it a conflict; it’s a completely normal debate.

Things change in life.

And maybe putting more emphasis on free-time is not such a bad thing.”

Generation Y is often accused of lacking ambition and being very self-centered.

Steffi Burkhart, Management Trainer: “I wouldn’t say the younger generation is an egotistical generation.

Yes, individualism is increasing and the desire for freedom and self-fulfillment is growing.

But on the other hand, we’re also the generation that wants to work with others, which is used to working in teams and networking.”

Steffi Burkhart hopes to put her generation in a different light — and this audience appears to be very receptive to her message.

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1. Steffi Burkhart was very enthusiastic when she first starting working for a major company. Is this right or wrong? Did she become disillusioned? Why did she become disillusioned?

2. What are the literal and figurative definition or characteristic of Generation Y?

3. Are Steffi’s old and new the same or are they very different? What are some differences?

4. What are some values and ideals of Generation Y?

5. What suggestions does Klaus Hurrelmann, Hertie School of Governance give to big corporations?

6. Who has the market advantage, businesses and companies or Generation Y employees?

7. Some older generations may see Generation Y in a negative light. True or false? What are some examples?

8. What does Generation desire?
A. Describe the corporate, business or work culture or environment in your company or organization. Is it more similar to Steffi’s old company or her new company or somewhere in between?

B. Which type of company do you think is better? Why do you think it’s better?

C. Which would you or your friends like to work for?

D. Is the Generation Y (20 to 30 year olds) in your city or country different from other (older) generations?

E. Do younger and older generations want to work in different company cultures and environments, or do they have the same desires?

F. What do you think the work environment and culture will be like in the future?

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