Thursday, December 30, 2010

Weighing In On Generation Y

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Generation Y (or Millennials as they are also known) are the 18-24 year old set, up-and-coming in the work force and are being talked about all over the blogosphere. Regardless of what you label them, it seems that this generation is one both marketers and human resource experts are having the toughest time of figuring out how to sell and manage.

A recent article, 10 Things Social Media Marketers Should Know About Millennials, was featured on SocialTimes.com. Written by millennial Jackie Lampugnano, the post provided a firsthand account of the 18-24 demographic in terms of their preferences, personality quirks and preferred work style.

Lampugnano presents 10 traits that marketers should keep in mind in order to understand the psychology of Generation Y.  There are a few points that I agree with such as “we love technology”, “we’re oversharers” and “we have short attention spans.”  These traits are all fundamental to figuring out what makes GenY ‘tick’ in order to find a successful medium to reach us.

For additional insight we spoke with client, President of the Human Resources consulting company K HR Solutions, author, and generational expert, Kim Huggins.  Kim agreed with many points Lampugnano’s post concerning the millennial generation and discusses many of them in her book, GENerate Performance! Unleashing the Power of a Multigenerational Workforce. The book is the quintessential guide for navigating the challenges of managing a multigenerational workplace.

“I think Jackie’s first point is one that I agree with most about the importance of getting to know each millennial on an individual level.  I tell my clients this all the time.  There is no shortcut, especially for leaders of teams, they must get to know their employees on a personal level,” said Kim. “To find out what motivates, frustrates, and ultimately gets the best results from employees in this group it is essential to put energy into getting to know them.  This can be uncomfortable for some leaders who grew up during a time when the work environment was more impersonal and people were afraid of or discouraged from talking about their life outside of work.”

“Today, employees not only want, but actually expect, their managers to know about them on a more personal level,” she continues. “That means that you have to talk to your employees about what they need and expect from you, the company, etc. – and then do something about it.”

From my own GenY point of view, Kim is spot on with her analysis of the ways generations work together in the workforce. Whether marketers are targeting us or bosses are trying to communicate with us, GenerationY seems to present new challenges and bring different characteristics to the workforce.

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