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The Differences Between Boomers & Gen Y
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel of recruiting bloggers at a recruiting seminar in Minneapolis. The event was organized by Paul DeBettignies (aka, MN Headhunter) and Steven Rothberg of CollegeRecruiter.com fame. It was an excellent event and those two deserve enormous credit for pulling it together and packing the room with HR professionals and corporate recruiters. One of the highlights of the day was hearing a presentation by John Sumser of Recruiting.com talk about the differences between Boomers and Gen Y, or as he says, Gen Why. He is a phenomenal speaker and his presentation on generational challenges is the best I’ve seen. If you ever have the opportunity to hear John speak, I would highly, highly recommend it.
The slide below is taken directly from his presentation, and the slide by itself doesn’t do the topic or his perspective on it justice, but it was the most clear, concise, and accurate characterization I’ve seen of how Gen Y workers operate. His message is basically that Gen Y’s, on average, grew up in smaller families, never had to compete for resources like boomers did in bigger families, received inordinate amounts of attention as children, view technology to be as integral to their lives as anything else, and can multi-task beyond belief. To varying degrees, they need to be ‘sold’ to do the work at hand and they need constant feedback and communication every step of the way. Their beliefs, views, habits, perspective on work, motivations, etc. are simply a function of the manner and times in which they were raised.
While it’s been beaten to death, the fact remains that Gen Y workers have and will continue to dramatically alter not only the nation’s workforce, but the manner in which companies manage and leverage talent and compete in the market. Companies and recruiters who view Gen Y’s defining characteristics as deeply-rooted character flaws and do little but complain about how the country is going to hell will suffer greatly. Not only will they lose enormous opportunity from leveraging an extremely talented generation of people, they will simply not be able to recruit talent and compete in the marketplace.
[tags]Gen Y Workers, Gen Y, Gen Why, Baby Boomers, Changing Labor Market, Talent Management[/tags]