Generation Y - have you bothered to find out what makes them tick?
This generation will be so different to anything you've experienced before and it will certainly pay to understand and get a grasp of what influences their psyche.
To understand our Gen Y's we can do a sweep of the influences of our three main generations. Besides the social and political backdrop of the period, what we experience in our formative years sets our playing stage markedly. Baby Boomers were influenced by TV, Rock and Roll, the Cold War, Vietnam War, the threat of nuclear war, and the decimal currency.
Generation X saw in the Personal Computer, AIDS, single parent families, more multiculturalism, and the downsizing of companies.
For Generation Y's we have the internet, cable television, globalization, September 11, and environmentalism. Such shared experiences during one's youth unite and shape a generation. There is an old saying "People resemble their times more than they resemble their parents." This shows a more global effect of influence. that molds our wants and needs.
Baby Boomers were hell bent on thriving for monetary independence and material gain, having seen their parents struggle through the depression. A work ethic was and still is the dominant focus for the Boomers, along with financial planning
There is a more community based value system the Gen Y's are looking for. The cost of seeing their parents achieve financial freedom and providing everything the Gen Y needs materially, is the high level of broken marriages, absentee parenting, as well as watching them stressed and medicated.
There is no doubt Gen Y's have been left disillusioned by materialism. The American dream, the Australian dream, the dream of many which was to attain security through material gains is not the prime focus for these guys.
Some Gen Y's are still caught in the consumer treadmill and the instant gratification that comes with the credit card. It's this consumer driven materialistic Gen Y who is getting the media attention. Media as it is, you may have an imbalanced view of our younger friends. As a whole Gen Y's are looking for those things the Baby Boomers intended to get, but only a few were able to achieve; and that is the non-financial rewards that came after 40 years of service to the company. Mind you Gen Y's are not saying no to financial rewards either, but that does not seem to be the greatest agenda.
Gen Y's do not want to live to work - they want to work to live. This goes against the Baby Boomer work ethic of loyalty. It must seem like the opposite end of the spectrum to the older generation. But hey, this is what the Baby Boomers wanted also. Did they get too caught up in the doing and forgot to smell the roses along the way? The machine can be hard to drive against.
Gen Y's want fun, they want quality friendships, they want fulfillment and a spiritual meaning behind their endeavors. Believe it or not, Gen Y's wave banners more now for environmental issues, social injustices and human rights than those in the 60's. Also volunteering is common among the Gen Y's.
I like the term Gen Y Genius - I just thought of it, though no doubt someone has already said it. This new wave of scholars are going to make mammoth leaps in technology that will make invention of the computer look like pre-school finger painting. We are on the edge of seeing advances in medicine through nano technology and biotechnologies, new sounds in music, more advances in communications and more and more and more.
The SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for a Gen Y is to address them with openness. Show a genuine interest in them - doesn't matter what generation you are in, this is a trait we all like. Be genuine, upfront, straight. It seems Gen Y's have an inbuilt radar which picks up bull easily. If you don't get the respect of a Gen Y, perhaps it's you they don't respect in return!
Gen Y's are going to make a huge impact on the world. Change and flexibility is not a common trait of the Baby Boomer so I'm sure there will be resistance and complaints aplenty.
Do yourself a favor Baby Boomers: find a Gen Y and stay friends with them. You are going to need them to fathom more than how to pay your bills online.
Do you have any observations or comments about our Gen Y's. Please share.