Generation X just doesn’t understand Y. The bosses and the workers are further apart than ever before
If you are a Gen X (born 1960s to the early 1980s) then your working ethos was driven by the baby boomers demands to change the world.
It created a what some describe as a “very individualistic generation”. They wanted the trappings of success and approached this in a very independent manner. Generation Y, or Millennials, are seeking purpose and value in what they do. So whilst my (born 1965) generation lived to work and aspired to drive fast cars, the next generation works to live, has multiple passions and look for variety.
This comes as a shock to many, including me, as they can come across as aloof and vague – sometimes even lazy! But this is far from the truth, Millennials are studious and have horizons greater than the highest possible salary, or a key to the executive floor.
But who cares, really?
Everyone should, the oldest Millennials are now into their early 30s and gaining power and influence every year. Sadly, not enough managers seem to be bothered, they’re firmly in the grip of career and Gen-X values. So, if salary and perks can’t keep the next generation then what does?
- Freedoms. Where they work, how they work and when they work.
- Agile. Millennials are great multi-taskers and highly comfortably building many things at once, but don’t look too hard for 100% finished product, they don’t believe in that concept.
- Reasons. Why they are doing stuff is now more important than a salary. They need top believe in what they are doing and this explains the current low job satisfaction reported by Gen Yers.
- BYOD. They expect to be able to merge work and life and life and work. This means providing life-stuff in the workplace and access to work-stuff in the life-place. “Bring Your Own Device” is a great start to this.
- Trust. Avoid micromanagement and let Millennials have their own space and they’ll grow and be wonderfully productive.
In 1996, when Connected was founded, the youngest Millennials were pre-school! The course of our hiring policy and working environment has struggled to adapt to the appearance of this next generation. In the same way my generation struggled with the bowler-hatted city types that rules the world before Punk Rock.
We’re adapting and learning … from the next generation, and this will avoid us becoming dinosaurs and staying relevant in the world.
By Martin Dower, Aged 48 1/2