Daily Archives: May 28, 2007

Field Guide To Generation Y

Looking for insight and guidance into the inner workings of your twentysomething library workers? Look no further than the latest issue of Fortune (May 28, 207) for the article “You Raised Them, Now Manage Them“. By their definition a Gen Y worker was born between 1977 and 1995. Given the unique generational personality of Gen Yers (as the article refers to them), recruiting, managing and retaining these folks is an acquired skill. So what can the baby boomers administrators learn from this article? Here are some of the things you’ll want to know:

Plumage: They have a distinct profile. They’re into fitness, tattoos and piecing (about 30% have them), a sense of fashion, and electronic accessories. Gen Yers have been told since they were toddlers that they can be anything they can imagine…So they’re determined to live their best lives now.

Habitat: More than any prior generation this one sees no problems with living at home after college. Over 50% have, and stayed more than a year. By also marrying later they are stretching the transition to adulthood into the late 20s. That also leads them to quit jobs they don’t like. As one Gen Yer said, the worst thing that can happen is that we move back home. There’s no stigma.

Recruitment: Companies are getting creative by tapping the Gen Y community, and offering different perks. Some are advertising jobs on Facebook, while others offer in-house fitness centers. But who do they really need to reach to hook the best candidates – Mom and Dad. The companies hold information sessions and open houses for the parent.

Retention: It may be that Gen Yers need a little more personal attention than previous generations. Experts suggest doing something special for their first day on the job, or celebrating their birthday. Most important though is assigning a mentor to the Gen Y employee to help him or her to acclimate more quickly to the work environment.

So if you are a baby boomer administrator – or even a colleague to a new Gen Y employee – this article, if nothing else, will provide some perspective on how this generation differs from your own, and the sorts of things you can do to bridge whatever divide, if any, exists between you and your Gen Y colleagues.

BONUS for Facebook Followers – this same issue has an article on “Facebook’s New Face” that provides an inside look at how Facebook is moving beyond just serving as a social network to a technology platform on which anyone can build applications for social computing.