At Inspiring Interns we deal with placing graduates in graduate jobs every day. Gen Y’s have different expectations and work-place values to their baby boomer bosses – in many ways they are the high-expectations generation. They’ve been brought up with gold stars, being told they’re amazing, and being encouraged to find their passion and do work they love. Thus their expectations of the workforce are higher than any generation to date; they want flexible hours, great colleagues, exciting and varied work that challenges them, career progression, good pay and benefits, and to be acknowledged when they do well. This may sound like they’re asking a lot – they are. And it’s fantastic. What better way to have our workforce transform to provide all these things than with a push from the younger generation’s fresh energy and high expectations? It means the work place has to improve if it wants to keep young talent employed. The main concern for employers in regards to young workers is employee retention.

Therefore what is the best way to manage graduates so they want to keep working with you?

Mutual respect

Graduates want to be respected, even though it’s likely they haven’t done much to ‘deserve’ it, they want to be respected for who they are. Research shows they prefer a friendship relationship with a boss, as opposed to a hierarchical relationship. They want to be able to bring new ideas to the table, and have those ideas listened to and considered, if good. Thus a good way to manage graduates is to focus on building a personal relationship with them. Share the vision of current projects, sharing why they need to do the work they’ve been given; why it’s important, and how it will help the company.

Instant feedback

Generation Y doesn’t want to wait six months to get feedback, they want to know how they are doing now. Research shows that many Gen Y’s don’t stay in graduate jobs longer than 24 months, so waiting a quarter of that to get feedback doesn’t make sense to them. When given constant feedback they can grow and progress much more quickly, which is what many of them want. A good way to do this is to have a conversation with them about how frequently they would like feedback; bi-weekly/monthly/tri-monthly?


Repetitive jobs bore anyone, but graduates have particularly low levels of patience for them. Giving Gen Y’s the freedom to come up with creative projects on the side, or to work with another department for a day to better understand that role, are great ways to keep Gen Y’s engaged. Touch base with them regularly about how they’re enjoying their work, whether they’ve had any out-of-the box ideas, and whether they’re satisfied with the variety of work they have.




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