How to Manage an Office Full of 20-Somethings

G.L. Hoffman's office is 75 percent 20-somethings. His tips on managing Gen Y.

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GL Hoffman
In my company of nearly 100 employees, 75 percent of them are under 30. Can you imagine?

Not sure where I heard this before, but managing them is like towing your wagon with 100 cats—sure you can do it, but the reins management will kill you.

If managing the under 30 workforce is killing you, here are 10 tips:

1. Be authentic. Be yourself—don't try to be one of them, or someone you are not. They can smell insincerity.

2. Transparency is key. They want to know what is happening, what you are doing, and how what they do fits in.

3. Add value. As long as you are adding value to them and their skills, you are OK. Choose to ignore this and they will leave you for someone who will.

4. Let them use their media. Let them use Facebook, MySpace, and IM at work. From time to time, we have server issues and ask them to restrict their use and we get no complaints.

5. They want trust. They want you to trust them and more than that, they want to trust you and their workplace.

6. They want standards. They want to know the rules and the standards that they and others must adhere to. They want fairness.

7. They like a cause. They want to belong to something bigger, with a clear and simple idea.

8. Set up groups and committees and stand back. This is a great way to keep them involved while you learn new ideas.

9. Expect varied, non-chain-of-command type communications. If they need something to do the job better, expect them to search and find it. Or tell you.

10. Everything you learned from Peter Drucker still applies. But—roughly—times 10.

Note: I am asked to keep it short here, but feel free to add your own comments and ideas below.

G.L. Hoffman is a serial entrepreneur and venture investor/operator/incubator/mentor. Two of his companies have traveled the entire success path from the garage to IPO. Currently, he is chairman of JobDig and his blog can be found at or at