The baby boomers are soon to be replaced by Generation Y (born 1981 or later). Well, probably not directly, but over the next 5 years, there will be a serious challenge in attracting and developing the younger generation (or ”Generation Why?” as some people call them).
Recently, there has been a flood of books and articles trying to explain their values and behaviors, to help us old people feel a little less anxious. Some descriptions do not quite serve that purpose: they are described as rather self-centered, disloyal, outspoken, demanding, and with a low threshold for boredom.
But they are also described as technologically savvy, great at team work, superior in multi-tasking, and passionately tolerant in terms of diversity.
In fact, the HR Director at Swedish truck manufacturer Scania is known to have said that production would have been moved from Sweden if it wasn’t for the impact of Generation Y, who turbo charged Scania’s team work ability and increased productivity significantly.
So, once they are on-board, how do you develop them? Well, I just read an interesting article from Ashridge, written by Carina Schofield and Sue Honoré. If you want to understand more about how Generation Y looks at learning and development, it is definitely worth a read.
In the end, whether you like the values of Generation Y or not, they will soon be part of a company environment close to you.