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.

8 thoughts on “Field Guide To Generation Y

  1. By that definition I am a Gen Y (born in 1978 — other definitions class me as Gen X). However, I don’t care about fashion, have no piercings or tattoos, left home right after high school and never came back, married while still in university, don’t go to the gym, don’t want any special attention. I want to be treated as an individual, not as a member of a generation.

  2. Just a quick word from a bitter Gen-Xer!
    Grow up my little preciouses – its called work, do your job and stop expecting pay rises, promotions after your first week, and for everyone in your workplace to be concerned with your self-esteem. WE DON’T CARE! Your not special, your just another group of drones to keep your corporate machine rolling. Get used to it.

  3. What’s with the animosity? We are what we are. While it’s easy to stereotyp Generation Y, there are still people who are part of that generation that choose to live their lives differently, like Amy. Good for her. Stephen needs to get a grip. He has obviously been keeping the wheels running on the corporate machine for too long, and unlike us Gen Y’ers, does so without asking questions. Yes, we tend to be selfish, we tend to ask “what’s in it for us?”, but that’s becasue there are more important things in life then work. And so what if we are making demands. Don’t be bitter just because you accepted a job without any negotiations. Yes, we want vacation time, flex days, a nice salary and wellness benefits. So? Like all the articles say, we believe in work-life balance and if an organization isn’t going to meet our demands, we don’t complain, we move on and find one that will, or we start our own company and get on with our lives.
    There might be more hype about Gen Y, but there is also just as much info out there about the plumage and habitat of Gen X and the Baby Boomers. Instead of being hostile towards the next generation of the workforce, perhaps you could learn a lesson and start to appreciate the finer things in life. P.S. Work is not life.

  4. At first I want to thank that we are being understand by previouse generation. This is what we are, as a gen Y’er I can’t pretend about the nature of gen Y’er characteristics. We have our own way to do things, we have our own way to live a lives… To Stephen, I feel sorry to read a words from you. My generations time is coming, we will lead every thing before the next generation coming to take over again…Be open minded and think wise dude.

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