How Generation Y is changing the workplace. #30: 2011
In the last few months, there have been some really interesting articles about the Generation Y worker (born between 1982-1995 and sometimes referred to as the Peter Pan generation). Unlike any generation before them, Gen Y has been raised with instant communication: the Internet, texting, instant messaging, YouTube, Facebook, blogs, and Twitter. Interestingly, with technology and idealism, they actively are changing the workplace. For example:
- The very public “Why I quit my job” internet manifesto from a young broadcaster in which he says “I didn’t quite my job because it was too hard…I quit my job because it was not the best use of my short life.”
- The grocery store employee who quit via email because the company was not living up to its own ideology of providing an environmentally-responsible way to live.
Generation Y are the children of Baby Boomers. They have been raised with the same idealism as their parents, but also with a far higher sense of self-worth and entitlement. Gen Y employees have developed very high expectations of their careers and how they can change the world. In return, though, they want it all: higher pay, greater status, and more flexibility. Their idealism and self-confidence have led them truly to believe they can make a difference. Unlike other generations, when they become disenchanted, they are ready to speak out. They are totally comfortable in an online world, making it the most natural place for them to vent. The only difference is that when they vent, it can go viral and reach millions within hours and with positive or negative effects.
Not all work related rants on the Internet are destructive. Think of the open letter to Research In Motion management with eight recommendations to address deficiencies. It’s a fine example of constructive criticism that has positively impacted the mighty RIM.
What can we learn?
- There is no way of stopping the flow information, as tempting as it may be to try.
- Library leaders need to be listening to what employees are staying and creating opportunities for staff to speak out via email, messaging, Listening Tours, staff meetings, or the classic suggestion box.
Generation Y has a lot to offer us. We need to listen, understand how to best harness their idealism, and help them embrace Libraryland. Not a bad goal in my mind!
Have a great week. The tomatoes are ripe in my garden…finally!
Kitty Pope #30 September 2011