The Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management's (HKIHRM) "Managing Multi-generational Workforce Forum" on 6 June attracted not only HR professionals, but also government officials, corporate managers and even university students.
"We have been preparing this forum for more than half a year. It's really one of a kind," said Sunny Cheung, manager for learning and development at HKIHRM.
The institute organises two to four seminars each month. The group normally invites famous HR experts to speak at each seminar, but this event was extra special because the guest speaker, Lance Richards, came all the way from the United States to share his research.
Ruby Kwong, senior business development manager of SHL Hong Kong - a firm that specialises in talent-management and measurement solutions - attended the forum because she wanted to have a better understanding of Gen Y when she discusses them with her clients.
"They always mention Gen Y and how should they deal with them. They don't know what Gen Ys are thinking, so I just wanted to understand a bit more," Kwong said.
Francis Wong, associate director of FlexSystem and chairman of the Senior HR Forum - which counts 3,000 senior HR professionals in Hong Kong on its roster - was one of the Gen Xers in the audience. Over half of employees at FlexSystem, a major provider of enterprise-management solutions, are millennials - mostly programmers, research consultants, office workers and sales staff.
"Gen Y is a challenge, especially for a knowledge company like ours. We hire people because they have knowledge. They're well-educated and they have their own thoughts and ideas. They want to have a new way of doing the work, so we have to adapt to it," he said.
With his frequent interactions with millennials, Wong is aware of how different Gen Y is from older generations.
"They don't just listen and follow," he said. "They challenge your thoughts and they want a direct answer and feedback from management. They would prefer to talk to the CEO sometimes, and the CEO should pay more attention to giving his opinion."