Managing Gen Y Workforce

March 27, 2012

Q: We are having a heck of a time managing our “mobile” technical staff. The younger techs seem to resent our efforts to supervise them and the admin manager thinks they are out screwing off when they don’t come in the office at the start and end of the day. Any suggestions?

A: You got to love the new Gen Y workforce. We just learned about this at the BLC where mobile connectivity is creating more work moments, rather than defined schedules and specific hours. Mobile tools have made the line between personal and professional almost non-existent. Younger workers favor bursts of hard work when motivated, the older folks generally favor a defined timeframe for work. My guess is that the admin/manager is old school on this thinking.

Let me stick up for the manager first. They have every reason to be concerned, not because of the work getting done, but because of labor laws. We have several situations in our membership where working flex time and weekends in lieu of normal working hours has come back to bite us. Non-exempt employees (no matter how tech savvy, hip or connected they are) still need to be held accountable for their time when they are actually working. We’ve had companies report their employees not wanting to be paid OT in lieu of time off. That sounds great until you get the letter from the wage and hour people.

Let me defend the mobile Gen Y employee. They are most likely your companies future and you had better figure out how to deal with the conflict. Mobile as they are they can probably download an app that will document their billable hours and send that directly to the manager at the office. The old saying that you can’t trust the employees if you can’t see them, that has to be overcome sooner or later.

I suggest a written policy on remote employees, time reporting, use of flex time, etc. I suggest a meeting between the older managers and younger techs. Good luck with that. CW

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