Tag Archives: Gen Y

Generational Quick Tip: Being Marketable

Each generation has different ideas about what makes them marketable and how to keep themselves competitive in an ever-changing workforce. As the youngest generation, Gen Y leverages their knowledge of current and cutting edge technology, their innovative spirit, and utilizes opportunities for training and mentoring as a way to gain workplace skills that may compensate for their lack of experience.  Generation X relies on their technological acuity and business savvy to stay marketable. They also believe that their self-sufficiency and success in completing important assignments independently is a testament to their experience and value in the workplace. Baby Boomers may not have the same technological savvy as the other two generations, but they have experience and seniority. Along with establishing themselves in mentoring and leadership roles, they believe that maintaining a network of important and valuable business connections will help them to stay marketable in their field of work.

Action Step:
Stay marketable by exchanging knowledge with colleagues from different generations and learning from their skill sets and unique expertise.

Whats Currently Trending With Gen Y

MSN Now
MSN Now is a wonderful site that is real-time tracking of trends on the internet at they occur. The site, which acts like a super-search engine across all the major social media platforms and search engines, compiles a list of updates that automatically updates in real-time as trends occur. The Biggest Movers section gives up to the minute accounts of what the top ten search keywords that are trending. If you want to be in the know in real-time, MSN Now is a great site for tracking the internet’s activity.

Mary Kay Virtual Makeover App
Gen Y loves to be able to customize the looks of friends and celebrities (Beyonce is a favorite) with endless combinations of eye makeup, lip colors, hairstyles, hair colors, accessories and more. Users of this free app can choose a photo from their library, take a picture from their mobile device or select from a variety of models. Gen Y particularly loves sharing their new looks with friends on facebook and twitter.

Cultural Quick Tip #6: Multi-Generational Awareness

Today is the sixth installment of a new series for the Global Voice Blog. At the end of each week I will be posting a Cultural Quick Tip to promote broader thinking on the company and individual levels. These tips, along with their accompanying action steps, are meant to encourage everyone to work more effectively in a diverse workplace.

Cultural Quick Tip #6: 

Multi-Generational Awareness

For the first time, there are four generations present in the workplace. Each generation brings its values, shared experiences, and perceptions of the world, which frame interactions with coworkers. Acknowledging the existence of generational differences is the first step in creating high-functioning, multi-generational teams.

The next steps are to raise awareness about the strengths each generation brings to the workplace and to draw upon those strengths to create more dynamic teams.

Discussing generational differences provides opportunities for everyone to examine the values and norms maintained by each generation and how these values might cause conflict on a multi-generational team.

Action Step:

Gather information on the values, experiences, and perceptions of each generation. Share knowledge about the generational styles with employees to facilitate better understanding among the different generations.

If you are interested in more quick tips, please visit our website for more information on the book 101 Cultural Quick Tips for the Workplace at: http://www.culturecoach.biz/CCI%20Store/ccistore.html

Article Spotlight: Should You Approach Millennials in a Radically Different Way?

Click here for original article from Diversity Executive.

Transparency and candid conversations have a place in the work environment, but presuming to know millennials’ career expectations is dangerous.By Deanna Hartley. Imagine you are having the following conversation with a new millennial hire:

“We expect you to give us a really strong tour of duty for two to three years. When you leave, we expect you to be part of our corporate alumni group. We want you to be part of our corporate alumni network. We want you to help recruit new employees. We want you to be lifelong ambassadors and evangelists for our products and services. But we know you’re super talented and will come upon many other career opportunities while you work here. We know your tenure at the company may not last more than a few years.”

Not quite what you had in mind, right? Well, I recently came across an article that offers this as a template of sorts for conversations to occur between employers and incoming millennials, or “young people,” as they’re referred to in the piece.

At this point, you may be inclined to think: Wait a minute. Are you saying we should essentially throw all our retention strategies out the window and assume every incoming Gen Y employee sees his or her job as a stepping stone to something bigger and better?

My reaction — and keep in mind I’m a millennial — would be: Whoa! Are they expecting me to leave in a short time span — and if I don’t, will they think I’m an underachiever? Furthermore, if I do decide I only want to contribute a few years of service to this company and then look for greener pastures, why would I be motivated to perform to the best of my ability on a daily basis?

To me, this approach is analogous to an athlete walking onto the field knowing he will be traded imminently. Operating under that presumption, I’m willing to bet that any feelings of loyalty or determination to enhance one’s performance go out the window.

When we talk about engaging employees, a key motivator is purpose — for employees to feel like they are making valuable contributions that will somehow leave a mark on the world.

I certainly didn’t interview for my current job thinking, “How can I optimize my limited time at this company before moving on?” And, to be honest, I wouldn’t think any employer would want me if I held such a conviction.

The days of lifelong service to a single company may be gone, but presuming to know someone’s career expectations is just as unrealistic.

The American Dream: A Generational Perspective

On Tuesday night during President Barack Obama’s 2012 State of the Union Address the ‘American Dream’ was once again put front and center on the world’s stage.  Though Obama referenced it as “the basic American promise,” his true meaning was clear by this description of his grandparent’s post WWII belief that, “if you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for retirement.”  Obama brought up the subject of the American Dream to reflect on the current state that it is in, and according to the President, it is in peril due to current economic trends and the state of the US economy.

While the faltering economic condition of the United States has been at the center of many hearts and minds for the past four or so years, my own thoughts became preoccupied with Obama’s description of the America Dream. The President’s description made me stop and consider how the concept of the American Dream must have evolved over the years.  The American Dream that Obama described was certainly compelling to the Baby Boomer Generation and even to many from Gen X, but I have to wonder if this description is as compelling to Gen Y and younger generations?

In doing research on the current state of the American Dream I came across the man who originally coined the term in 1931, John Truslow Adams. In his book The Epic of America, Mr. Adams described his 1931 American Dream to be:

“…that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.” 

While the idea of the American Dream surely existed long before Mr. Adams penned the above phrase, I think that his statement has a compelling modernity about it.  For me, a member of Generation Y, Mr. Adam’s version of the American Dream is a much more compelling vision than the “American Promise” described last Tuesday night.

Besides my own opinion, there are other reasons that I have my doubts regarding the future applicability of Obama’s version of the American Dream. Those other reasons come out of the work that our company, Culture Coach International, does around the four different generations in America today. Specifically, we work with companies on the topic of generations in the workplace.  One of the reasons that so many companies come to us with requests for consulting and training around the issue of generations is because of the fact that each generation has such distinct “generational personalities” that workers from different generations often times come into conflict with one another and this affects productivity, teamwork and employee engagement.  These conflicts arise from the different values, communication styles and work styles that workers from different generations possess.

Given this logic and my understanding of the basic profiles of the different generations, it stands to reason that the post WWII American Dream as described by Obama in his State of the Union Address, might not be as compelling to the Millennial and post Millennial generations as it is to Gen X and the Baby Boomers.

After all, Gen Y is challenging many ideas in the American workplace that are considered to be sacrosanct by the Baby Boomers, such as long meetings and hierarchy.  Not to mention the dramatic social changes ushered in by Gen Y such as Facebook and smart phones.  Our groups of friends now span the globe and we rarely speak to anyone on the phone – two social changes that have dramatically affected the way Americans live their lives. So would it be any more surprising if Gen Y started to challenge what are considered to be the essential elements of the American Dream?

Interestingly enough a 2011 survey by Xavier University’s Center for the Study of the American Dream found that the top five most important elements of the American Dream are as follows: “a good life for my family”, “financial security”, “freedom”, “opportunity”, and “the pursuit of happiness”.  On the surface these five elements do not seem to challenge the version of the American Dream as Obama depicted it in his State of the Union address.  Though I could not locate a breakdown of this survey data by generation or age groups, it would be interesting to see if there are differences in the rankings according to age group.  Would Gen Y and Baby Boomers have a significantly different order for their top five most important elements of the American Dream?

While we can survey and analyze the current state of the American Dream as well as look back and chart what has become of it over the years, we can only wait and see how current and future generations will come to define it.  Will it continue to look like the American Promise that Obama described last Tuesday?  Or will Gen Y and the Post Millennial Generation take the American Dream in a different direction?  Only time will tell but given the way that Gen Y is already dramatically reshaping the reality of American life I would guess that in another five years we will hear a markedly different version of the American Dream being described during the 2017 State of the Union.

2012 Petronas Malaysia Chinese New Year Advertisements Sheds Light on Generation Gap

Every Chinese New Year, Petronas (Petroliam Nasional Berhad), the Malaysian state owned petroleum and gas company, puts out an advertisement (TVC) for the celebration of Chinese New Year given the diversity found inside the nation. It is always a touching message about culture and family that is sure to provoke self-reflection of what one really values in life.

I was most moved, however, by the 2011 Petronas Chinese New Year ad as it struck me as not only a message about the importance of culture and family in Asia, but also shed light on how the prosperity of the Asian nations has led to a noticeable gap in the way the younger generations rank their priorities in life.

In the advertisement, all of the young adults are so busy working that to take time out of their day to spend more time with a loved one seems like a burden. While the same Generational labels (Generation X and Generation Y) have been shown to be pan-global, the corresponding characteristics are slightly different in Asia as compared to the United States. It is noticeable through the advertisement how the younger generations in Asia value modern comforts and money more than their elders, who value a slower lifestyle and quality face to face time with their children. In the United States we are witnessing the younger generations, particularly Gen Y, moving away from monetary compensation as their first priority in favor of a healthier work-life balance.

As the year of the dragon is ushered in promising to bring an entire year of good luck and fortune, these ads remind us that all of this would mean nothing with family.

Happy Chinese New Year, 恭喜發財!

If you are interested, here is a link to the 2012 videos, which are part of a 6 video series on Petronas’ Official YouTube account.

A Gen Y Myth – They Don’t Want to Work

I just returned from a women business owners conference in San Francisco. While there we launched a new product which is a self-study/training program for managers called Managing Gen Y. The Gen Y population is currently between the ages of 10 and 30. As they have come into the workplace, managers have discovered that they are hard wired very differently than previous generations.

At the conference, where the materials were very well received (check out www.GenYTools.com to see them) the comment I heard the most was “Gen Y employees don’t want to work.” While there may be some people who don’t want to work in any generation, I think people are missing the point with Gen Y employees in general.

Gen Y employees want to be engaged. They want to know why what they are doing matters. They want to be involved. They do not want to be told “do this” and when they ask why “because I said so.” While that might have worked with previous generations, it won’t work with this one.

As an example, while I was away, I left my office in the capable hands of three Gen Y women. Not only did they follow up on details, ensure that materials for the show were finished, they also launched a new website.  On Wednesday, one came in two hours early to ensure that all of the deadlines had been reached. I didn’t ask her to do it, she just did. What I saw in my office last week wasn’t people unwilling to work. What I saw was a team of talented women who were engaged, were trusted to make things happen and they stepped up to the plate.

Perhaps it is time that we Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers started thinking about how we define “unwilling to work” and start to provide these new employees with a framework that engages them and helps to know what they are doing is important.

Is this harder than saying “do it”? You bet. Is it worth it? You will have to try it and find out.

It worked for me.