Training, Nuturing Gen Y Takes Custom Approaches
When the oldest members of Generation Y, born roughly in the 1980s, began graduating from college, a collective groan was heard on investment desks throughout Wall Street.
Gen Y is the stereotypical tag attached to the rookie investment bankers that comprise the current pool of new hire candidates. Many bankers have claimed that Gen Y-ers have an excess sense of entitlement, are pampered, arrogant and lazy. They want to do work on their terms and receive a constant stream of feedback.
This type of judgement can be viral – stated once and then repeated many times throughout the business. An opinion, even one based on the briefest experience, can become fact through sheer repetition. An entire generation of analysts surely cannot be labeled with one broad brush stroke.
I have come to appreciate that it’s not so much that there is an authority or respect issue, but an approach issue. Senior bankers are used to analysts being in the engine room not wanting or pushing for an invite at the captain’s table. Gen Y is keen to take on responsibility, to be involved and to have a say that is heard. They believe they are good enough to take on the task. I am keen to encourage such behavior as it sends the analysts up the learning curve quicker. However, this sometimes overly enthusiastic approach can cause a head-on clash of cultures or generations.
Continuous feedback. Gen Y professionals thrive on constructive criticism and positive reinforcement and some level of continued feedback can help motivate and engage these analysts.
Gen Y must pick its battles. They should not question every little decision or process but question only when appropriate. The established bankers must be given time to transition into dealing and managing this generation. Some banks will train their new staff on how to transition into work. We need to focus on getting analysts to think about the impact of their actions, their co-workers and the banks they work for.