Are You Reaching Generation Y?

The other day I was talking with a friend long distance in the middle of the day. I didn’t think anything of it. A decade or two ago, I would never have made such a call because it would have cost me a fortune. I would have waited until after 11 p.m. Today, I can make a long distance call anytime I want and not worry about the cost.

Today’s Generation Y (born 1980 to 2000) – also known as Millennials – has never paid for long distance phone calls. They also have seldom, if ever, paid for the following:

  • Checking
  • Mail
  • Music
  • Wireless
  • Travel agents
  • Books
  • News
  • Directory assistance

Thinking about this, I began to research how best to interact with this group. Several key themes emerged, including that they are tech-savvy, attention-craving and confident.

Tech-Savvy: They grew up on technology. They’re plugged in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They don’t like lectures. They search online for answers. Because of them, I now Google my question and find my answer. If it doesn’t work, I resort to the Boomer way of asking someone but most of the time, the answer is out there.

Attention-Craving: Throughout my career, my bosses have provided constructive feedback. I seldom received praise, nor did I expect it. This generation does. I’ve had to add to my management skills. I now make it a point to praise team members on a more regular basis, especially Generation Y. I also share highlights of meetings I attend because I find that they want to be in the know.

Confident: This group is confident and ambitious. They want the best and that includes from their employers. That means they aren’t afraid to question authority. At first that was disconcerting for me as a manager, but I find that with the right attitude, it leads to a better working environment and a better work product.

How are you working with the next generation?