Enterprise Compliance Today

Gen Y vs. GRC (Governance, Risk & Compliance)

Posted by Greg Carroll on Sat, Jul 27, 2013 @ 05:37 AM

Why the very traits we complain about may be the solution to our biggest problem.


corporate governance software

The biggest problem facing everyone implementing governance, risk and compliance systems is the adoption of the management system throughout the organisation. In Gen Y we have a generation which embraces concepts at light-speed.

In the governance, risk and compliance field, the stereotypical traits of Generation Y are the antithesis of best practices. This is the group, also known as the Millennial Generation, born in the '80s and '90s. They are accused of believing that “my guess is better than your knowledge," of multi-tasking instead of perfecting something ("This is sooooo boring"), and being more concerned with image than quality.

As these are the people now filling up the younger tiers of our employee ranks, what does that mean for the future for business excellence?

Instead of complaining of the poor adhesive quality of our glue, we need to find how to work with what we have and make the best of our ‘Post-It’ notes. That is, we should examine how this generation's approach to life can help us achieve our business goals.

Hurry up

The pace of human development continues to accelerate. Both the speed of innovation and, more importantly the adoption of innovation, has increased 10 fold over just the last 20 years. Google, GPS, the iPad, and DNA evidence are all the norm today, but were research projects 20 years ago.

What's that have to do with GRC? Think about it. The biggest problem facing everyone implementing governance, risk and compliance systems is the adoption of the management system throughout the organisation. Well, in Gen Y we have an early-adoption generation which takes to concepts (like Instagram) at light-speed.

Generational differences

Let's look at what you could tap from some more of Gen Y's characteristics:

  • Ego Centric: Gen-Y benefit greatly from mentors who guide and develop their young careers, plus they are independent learners. This is why they are early and fast adopters and quick respond to opportunities. (see my May 3 blog post on “3 Strategic Benefits of Good Compliance Software”)
  • Pleasure seeking: Their narcissistic orientation means a better life balance, giving them greater empathy with your marketplace. Also, it makes them easy to motivate.
  • Phone obsessed: Tech-savvy, they are plugged in 24/7. That makes them more aware of the world around them (even if they don’t understand it). Marketing gurus spout ‘relationship building’. With 1000+ friends on Facebook and Twitter conversation with people on the other side of the world, they form relationship networks your top salespeople can only dream of.
  • Upwardly mobile: Their low boredom threshold along with their overinflated opinion of themselves drives them to seek out new challenges. IBM in its heyday had an unwritten policy: If you hadn’t moved up in five years, you were moved out. This drove the company to an 80 percent market share. Sadly that policy changed and so did their market-share. The lesson: A company rides on the coattails of its employees.
  • Team oriented: Believe me, mom, all that chauffeuring to soccer practice has paid a dividend. Gen-Ys are social animals. Their No. 1 job satisfaction motivator is “who they work with”. (See last week’s article: “The Secret to Successful Compliance Management”).

If we can harness this raw talent to adopt GRC as a generational difference, imagine what could be achieved. Imagine if business could jettison the anchor of poor management and soar to as-yet unimagined opportunities. It could conceivably cure world hunger.

Really. They are client- and outcome-focused. They think not just of better ways of doing things but different concepts of doing business. (If you can get them off their smart phones long enough.) Or maybe we could integrate our processes with their processes. Now there’s a thought!

Future incumbents

If it chafes to think about catering to the newest generation, remember that eventually they'll be in your place, trying to cope with a new crop of young folks. To paraphrase '80s rock group Mike & The Mechanics:

Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door

Believe it not, Gen-Ys complain that Gen-Z are spoilt!

Your thoughts?

Tags: Best practices, risk culture, project management