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From high maintenance to high productivity: What managers need to know about Generation Y

Carolyn A. Martin (Principal, RainmakerThinking Inc., New Haven, Connecticut, USA.)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 1 January 2005




To offer managers insights into Generation Y and practical suggestions on how to turn this high maintenance workforce into a high productivity workforce.


This research is based on RainmakerThinking Inc.’s ongoing workplace interviews with hundreds of Generation Yers and managers.


Like their Gen X siblings, the most talented members of Generation Yers are independent, entrepreneurial thinkers who relish responsibility, demand immediate feedback, and expect a sense of accomplishment hourly. They thrive on challenging work and creative expression, love freedom and flexibility, and hate micromanagement. Guided by managers who are willing to confront their challenges and meet their expectations, they have the potential to become the highest performers in history. They have 14 expectations of managers that can create the type of professional relationships they want to build.

Research limitations/implications

Generation Y is just beginning to gain pull in the workplace as full‐time workers. Ongoing research is needed to see how our initial conceptions of them as high school and university students plays out as they mature in their professional lives.

Practical implications

This paper not only offers managers insights into this highly diverse, contradictory generation, but suggests best practices they can implement to communicate with and motivate this emerging workforce.


As organizations compete to attract and retain the best new talent, this paper offers managers a strategic advantage: a practical guide to the characteristics, needs and expectations of Generation Y.



Martin, C.A. (2005), "From high maintenance to high productivity: What managers need to know about Generation Y", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 37 No. 1, pp. 39-44.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Company

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