They are always on Facebook, they are always questioning our decisions and they want to listen to their MP3s whilst they work – welcome to the working world of Generation Y – and you’d better pay attention!
Generation Y has burst onto the business scene and boy, are they making a racket. Gen Y (born 1974-1990) has emerged as the most exciting generation, for well, generations. There is a perfect storm brewing, all thanks to the development of Web 2.0, faster bandwidth speeds and a refreshing attitude towards the technology.
The question is how, as professional communicators, do you harness this and speak to this generation? Well to answer that, question; firstly, we need to look at the how this generation is communicating within itself.
This generat….actually I’m going to write as myself now as I’m part of this generation and I’m a professional communicator, so I’m best placed to do that. The most important thing for me is share my life with the people I’m connected to, this means when I’m at work and I open my browser I have four tabs that open automatically – facebook, delicious, googlemail/reader and Digg. These aren’t open because I want to waste time; they are open because I need to feel connected in my life. Through these sites I’ll get the latest news on the enterprise 2.0 conference, mixed in with a post about my friend’s thoughts on Obama’s inauguration and photos of my friend’s birthday.
This is how my generation swings. We can handle multiple actions and we handle information being fed to us constantly through many different channels. It’s not a problem for me; digital burnout simply doesn’t affect me – why? Because, I’ve grown up surrounded by it and I know how to aggregate it effectively.
I don’t mind sharing my ideas and I don’t mind sharing information. I’m not dumb enough to share all of my information, especially work information. But I want to share my experience (s) and share ideas as I don’t feel threatened by being open. In fact, I expect to get more from life if I share rather than hide myself away. I expect openness from others in my life as well – this is what creates opportunity.
I’ve just touched on the two main things that set my generation apart from the others Gen X, baby boomers etc but I’ll explain how this affects how I want to be communicated with at work. (Please note the use of WITH not TO)
What I want: The truth, a two way conversation. I want current information; I don’t care about a conference two months ago. I want to chat about the little things at work with my peers. I want to be tagged, I want to tag, I want the option to bookmark articles for the team, I want to be informed.
To me, an informed employee is a productive employee – regardless of generation.