Business in the Crawlspace

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Talk'n 'bout My Generation!

When Mick Jagger belted out this tune for the Stones, I do not think he could have envisioned anything like the kids of today!

I've heard them called by many names as of late: Generation Y, Gen Y, The Plug-and-Play Generation, The Gotta-Feel-Good Generation.

What they're all referring to is the new young generation - our current 20-somethings. Every generation "deals" with the generation who comes after them. Their different views, their different ways of doing things, and so on; this generation is no exception.

Why is everyone talking about this new generation now though? They've been coming along for years. They're in their 20's now, after all! Because now they're starting to impact the workforce and because we couldn't predict their group characteristics until we saw them in action. In some ways they're changing the landscape for the better, in some ways we oldies would say for the worse.

Regardless of the nostalgia we feel for the "old days" this generation is plunging headlong into the workforce and will impact you and your business at some point. There's really no sense fighting it. No generation has ever changed the generation which came after it; not once that generation reached its 20's anyway. These are the kids we raised and we did raise them this way, so let's figure out how to work with them. To work with them we first need to understand them.

What makes this generation tick (or turn off) and what is the impact on businesses looking to hire them?

Problem: They're not called The Plug-and-Play Generation for nothing. This generation grew up on video games and television while their parents were out working and making (what they viewed as) better lives for their families. This led to a whole generation of children, now entering the workforce, who need instant gratification in whatever it is they do. Whether its work or play, the satisfaction must be immediate.

Solution: What this means to the business owner looking to hire qualified workers is that you need to be diligent in assigning tasks to (or rather asking the worker if they'd be happy to do the tasks) that they enjoy doing. You must challenge this generation to the capacity in which they want to be challenged.

Problem: This generation waits for nothing and no one. If they don't like the game, they find a new game to play and new people to play it with - now - not tomorrow or next week. Simple as that. Think pulling the PS2 game out of the player and inserting one they think they may like better.

Solution: This goes back to speed again. They're used to moving at the speed of the internet, not the speed of the horseless carriage. You're going to have to give this generation what it's looking for or prepare to lose them. Regular check-ins individually to gauge their interest and excitement is critical to keeping this generation happy and buying from you.

Problem: The Generation Y's demand that they feel good about what they're doing. If they don't feel good about it, they're not going to do it. Again, simple as that and no amount of money will convince them otherwise. Remember: they watched their parents work and work and work to earn a few extra bucks and what did it get them? Absentee parents who were rich. This generation wants quality, not necessarily quantity.

Solution: Sometimes the buying process isn't all that gratifying. However, you can combat that by showing your gratitude in the research and time they have spent working with you.  Often the sheer pleasure of helping someone else and that person being grateful is enough for the buyers to receive the gratification they need that will help them to buy.

Problem: The generation of ADD. Oh yes, this is where ADD became popular. The Gen Y's are not going to pay attention for long. They want their information fast and to the point.

Solution: Don't waste time with long drawn out memos and information. Just shoot it straight and fast!

Problem: Lack of etiquette. Unfortunately, the new generation may not even know they're breaking the rules! Etiquette in their world is far different than that of other generations.

Solution: As my wife says, "But wrong is still wrong and right is still right". However, with the internet and a new generation, is this perhaps the new "right". Maybe, maybe not. If most families are dysfunctional, doesn't dysfunction become the new "normal"? Unfortunately I think the new generation has us beat in sheer numbers folks. In this writer's opinion there's not much we can do but learn to deal.

Yes, this (generation's issues) results in a higher mental impact on the sales business, different than we have experience in the bricks and mortar world.

And pretty soon they will be "Talk'n ‘bout that new generation".

Maverick Rules

Comment balloon 8 commentsDave Park • March 16 2009 09:09PM
Talk'n 'bout My Generation!
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