Adding Generation Y to Projects

Generation Y is entering the workplace. As the children of baby boomers, Generation Y may not always fit the behavior you see in many organizations, but that shouldn’t impede how you leverage their talents and competences when working as team members on a project.

These 20-something new graduates, or “millennials,” have lived in a technologically ubiquitous world. They’ve always been recognized independently of their abilities and have mastered virtual collaboration skills.

Projects provide an ideal work environment for millennials because of their temporary nature. Many in Generation Y are searching for assignments that fulfill them personally and challenge the status quo. And they like to develop solutions supported by technology.

Their attraction to technology may cause some project managers to find it challenging to communicate with millennials who don’t follow traditional business formalities. For example, those that favor sending task and project status via text message rather than standard report templates.

In the project environment, millennials are closer in temperament and outlook to baby boomers. They look for smart mentors who don’t talk down to them. When these types of relationships mature, boomers will show millennials how their wants can align with an organization’s needs.

Millennials bring much to project environment: the ability to rapidly adapt to change, the ease with which they embrace diversity and a strong collaborative spirit. They’ve grown up in a changing and diverse world and have mastered many abilities that are important to projects.

As a project or program manager, how do you attract young team members and keep them on your projects? What is the biggest challenge you have faced in working with millennial team members?

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