Book Review: How Gen Y Employees Can Save You Money and Grow Your Business

by Xin Lu on 21 November 2009 3 comments

Generation Y is generally defined as the group of people born between 1977 and 1995. In Y-Size Your Business: How Gen Y Employees Can Save You Money and Grow Your Business, "generation expert" Jason Ryan Dorsey writes about the generation gap in the modern workplace and how business leaders can motivate and best use their Gen-Y employees. As a member of Generation Y, I was interested in what Dorsey had to say about us in the workplace.

A couple years ago I actually wrote an article about Generation Y and the workplace from my own personal perspective. It did not surprise me that Dorsey's book had some of the exact same observations as I did. One big theme in the book is that Gen-Yers are not defined by their work, but their personal lives. The companies and managers that understand this and make a personal connection with Gen-Y employees will find that Gen-Yers can be highly productive and loyal. Dorsey has many examples of where companies reached out to the families of Gen-Y employees and got great results.

Along the same lines, the book makes a point that Gen-Yers do not necessarily put monetary rewards at the top of their lists and it does not take much for a company to make a Gen-Y employee happy. Sometimes a small gift on birthdays or just a simple verbal acknowledgment for good work is enough. For me personally a flexible working schedule is worth a lot more than money, and believe me when I work at home I often get more work done than when I am at the office because I value that trust.

Most of the book is devoted to educating business leaders what makes Gen-Y employees happy, but there is a good section about training and developing Gen-Y employees. For example, Gen-Y employees can be given a project to work on or enrolled in some sort of leadership development program. I think these suggestions make sense because most people I know love to take ownership of something at work. When a young person has his or her own project to work on it makes them feel more important than just being a drone. Dorsey had several examples of where Gen-Y employees did great things with their individual projects, and this is due to the fact that their companies trusted them enough with their time and talent.

Although I enjoyed reading the book and agree with many of its findings, one thing that truly annoyed me about this book was that the author decided to insert parentheses in to every other sentence. For example, here is a short excerpt:

My peers and I can be a little different when we enter the workplace (which is, on average, about 10 minutes later than you'd like). Sure, we show up to work with our iPod buds dangling out of our purse or backpack, and our ever-present cell phone is ringing loudly during the CEO's Monday morning pep talk.; Yes, many of us have a tattoo (or several); some of us sport nontraditional hair colors; and it's not uncommon for us to have a piercing somewhere besides our earlobes (and, no it doesn't hurt much).

Perhaps the author was trying to be cute and funny with all the little comments, but the parentheses were truly distracting to me as a reader. I have not read Dorsey's other books, but hopefully the rest are not so full of parentheses.

Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book and the post contains an affiliate link to the book.

 

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Guest's picture

I don't think they would be any different than other employees, unless they don't need money and are working for "something to do"

John DeFlumeri Jr

Guest's picture
Amanda

As a Gen Y myself (I'm 23, smack bang in the middle!), I can say that when it comes to work, the most important thing is how work works for ME, not how I work for work.

I study (postgraduate MA) part time, and I work two flexible part time jobs. One's three days a week, the other's one day a week - and I can essentially choose which days I want to work. Sure I don't get paid a great deal at either (~$20 an hour), but I get to structure my week the way I want it. If I want a three day weekend, I can have it. If I want a day off in the middle of the week, I can have it. If I want to take a day off to go shoppng with a girlfriend, I can do it.

The last thing I want in my life is the 9 to 5, five days a week, even if I get paid $100,000 for it!

Julie Rains's picture

I think that there have always been people who wanted work/life balance (maybe there are more now). But what has changed (perhaps) is that employers value those employees now whereas they didn't value them in earlier generations.