CNBC has a weekly show called “The Business of Innovation” that is currently running. After a referral from a friend of mine, I caught this week’s edition. It is a very interesting panel discussion, with different themes and special guests each week.
This week’s theme was people. More specifically, it was how to manage and inspire employees to innovate. A very interesting topic, and one that I have touched on here before.
The most interesting discussion was the difference between the older generations in the workforce and Gen-Y, who are just joining the workforce. There are major differences in how the groups should be managed and treated in a work environment. Whereas money has always been a major motivator within a company, it seems that today’s younger workers are motivated in different ways.
As a member of generation Y, I can relate to this. In myself, and my peers, I see a strong desire to connect work and social life more completely. We spend a lot of our times in a work setting, so we tend to feel that our lives there should cross-over with our lives outside. This means making the office more user friendly. Many of the most innovative companies have created offices with lounges, game rooms, gourmet meals, gyms, and an overall casual atmosphere.
Things like this allow workers to become more comfortable and happier. And happy employees will not only work harder, they will tend to be more creative. It allows for casual discussions which can lead to new ideas. It creates a culture of openness that leads to real personal and professional growth.
Allow your employees to relax at work and you may find that you get more out of them. In the end, what is good for them is most often good for you. Generation Y is taking the workforce by storm, and in this age of innovative growth and development, it is the young workers who will continue to lead the charge.