Gen why?

Old time baby boomers like me sometimes have difficulty understanding the needs of the next generation. I seem to remember my elders saying roughly the same thing.
UK graduate unemployment is currently running at 44% which is alarmingly high. I’m sure this won’t always be the case over the coming months, and despite this figure, there is still a war for talent amongst the brands for the best graduates. This is where employer branding comes in. I translate this to making sure that you look like an o.k. place to work to the outside world, and that you have something funky about you that makes you attractive. That could be your development programme, your attitude towards flexible working, your product looking fairly sexy in the crowd, it could even be your attitude towards social media and how open you are towards its use. Increasingly green credentials and your ethical position on certain issues are involved in the decision of just who is the employer of choice to the Gen Y star. The reality is the in demand candidates in the Gen Y age bracket are choosing you, and not the other way around. They go for brands that they know and respect, who they have come across and have the right kind of footprint. All sounds a bit wooly? Ask yourself how you stack up against other employers on the following 7 indicators: (This is not a scientific pole, but the top 6 taken from a twitter snapshot and i got over 40 replies from tweeters under 27.)

1: A nice place to work
2: Innovative concepts
3: Status of role
4: Development programme
5: Ethical standards aligned with own beliefs
6: Freedom to work autonomously
7: Flexibility

Interesting stuff and very different from the list that would have been drawn up if we asked the same question 10 years ago.
The message you give out about your business via your social media, PR and how you sell yourself will be key in attracting the best talent.
Despite popular opinion, i don’t think Gen Y work any less, i just think they work differently. They don’t expect to have to be in the office for 12 hours a day, but they are happy to put the hours in by making use of modern technology, and think nothing of being on Facebook or twitter late in to the night. Make them proud to be associated with you and they will promote your brand, while promoting their own. Personal branding v corporate branding is another area you could be on a collision course. You have to accept that personal brands now grow bigger and better known than the corporate band. Issues over ownership of network and trust will cause issues so it is best to pre-empt them from the start with a clear strategy.
The Gen Y track at The Recruiting Unconference is being run by Lucian Tarnowski who at the age of 25 runs Brave New Talent, a business that brings the employers to the talent via social-media, rather than the other way around. If you want to know about how to attract, source or even manage Gen Y, what better way to find out than to talk and question someone from that generation. To add to the conversation in this key area we will also be hosting a one hour debate over lunch: “This house believes that work and recruiting will need to change to suit Gen Y,” with teams led by Lucian and Alan Whitford from R.C. Europe. This promises to be lively, amusing and above all else insightful in to how Gen Y think.
As a monday extra, heres #Trulondon5; Generation Y!  Enjoy!


3 comments on “Gen why?

  1. Brilliant Bill. I love your radio show. Thank you so much for having me as a guest today. I am invigorated by engaging in important issues with my colleagues.

    Now a word about Gen Y, attracting them as candidates, and tapping into the Baby Boomer candidate market.

    Please read my blogpost, “Move over Gen Y, Baby Boomers are Bouncing Back.” (HRMargo.wordpress.com)

    In my blog, I discuss the fact that while we have to cater to the younger generation–we cannot lose sight of the fact that the mature workforce are creatively developing second careers, often working until their late 70’s. Recruiters are blinded by ignorance if they ignore this market. Baby Boomers are more loyal than Gen Y. That is not a judgement, it is a fact, and there is substantive data to back up this point. Baby Boomers are reliable, they have a strong work ethic. Remember Bill the days when employees stayed with a company for 20-30 years? Now, recent studies show that the average Gen Y employee will change jobs every two years. It’s a different culture and a different work ethic.

    Gen Y, on the other hand, are far more technically savvy than Baby Boomers. They are the Social Media wiz-kids, and I pay homage to their online savvy. Honestly, each generation has strengths and weaknesses.

    The point I want recruiters in the UK and the US to remember is don’t discriminate against a potential candidate because of their age. Not only does this have legal consequences, their just might be financial consequences as well. Baby Boomers might be the next cash cow (God I hate the term, but I use it to drive home an emphatic point). They are a source of knowledge, experience and wisdom. So recruiters, don’t be afraid to float an older candidate by your client. It just might pay your rent!

  2. As a true Gen Y’er I am responding to this blog past ‘normal’ work hours from my iPhone..!

    Bill – some great insights here. I am looking forward to rocking the boat at the Recruiting Unconference! One point to pick you up on Gen Y don’t want ‘OK’ workplaces – they want GREAT workplaces. This is why Google, Innocent and Apple continue to rank highly. Now not every company can create such a ‘cool’ workplace or have such popular products; however most employers can do more.

    There is a fundamental disconnect between Gen Y (or perhaps ‘Gen Why’) and employers. Traditional recruitment advertising does nothing to bridye this disconnect. We need interaction rather than interuption. We need to engage with employers in our own terms. In an environment that we are comfortable in.

    It is not just attrcting Gen Y that is increasingly becoming an issue but also retaining them. ‘gen Y want to learn continuously and develop their career. Those employers that work with Gen Y in the right way will reap the rewards. This over active generation are not affraid of hard work but want growth and recognition on the way.

    However, as Mrs Hr Mango rightly say every generation has thir strengths and weaknesses. Gen Y are often more confident than they are talented! But my message for any recruiter and employer is try to have more of Gen Y’s strengths on your side than their weaknesses. You will reap the rewards!

    (Now appologies for any spelling mistakes – can’t spell check on iPhone when blogging!)

  3. Bill interesting article however while every Generation is different from the one prior, this generation seems to want and look for alot more than prior generations with significantly less to offer. While many have not even had an internship while pursuing a degree they enter the business world with nothing to offer but promises. The Corporate World is made up of more small to mid size businesses these Companies can ill afford to spend 6 months or more training an employee. In my opinion they will opt for someone who has the experience and can make an immediate impact on their business.
    As you said they are a generation that buys what they know but is that because of what I call Corporate Brainwashing or good PR? They seem to be a generation that believes:
    They can save 15% on their auto insurance with Geico
    They Cheerios can lower cholesterol or that Buying American means everything was made in America.
    Question is are they at fault or is it their Baby Boomer parents who raised them who is at fault for trying to provide and give them everything that they felt they didn’t have? What do you think?
    Should be interesting I am doing a GEN Y show next week with JT O’Donnell about these issues.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: