Are You Ready for Generation Why?

John G. Swanson
February 22, 2011
THE TALK... | Management

The up-and-coming workforce is digitally native, thinks globally, is easily bored, craves attention, acts socially and is work-ethic challenged. That's  according to Eric Chester, a consultant focused on helping companies understand and getting the most out of "Generation Why" employees and keynote speaker at this week's AAMA conference.

Hiring new workers and developing new talent probably hasn't exactly been the top challenge window and door companies have faced over the past few years, but Chester suggests we'll have our work cut out for us as we start thinking about growing and expanding again. The Echo Boomers, Millenials, or the Net Generation–whatever you call them–think very differently than those of us from the Baby Boom and even Gen Xers. How companies select their new employees from this pool and motivate them will be critical to success.  

Are you making adjustments? Has your company made changes in its policies and procedures to appeal to those 30 and under?  That's are poll quesiton of the week, and, of course, I'd like to hear from you. Has your company had problems with its younger new hires?  Have you had successes? Is there a generational divide at your firm? Do you think are industry will have trouble attracting young talent? Post a comment below or email me.  We'd love to hear from you.

Survey Results as 03/1/2011:

Has your company taken steps to appeal to 30-and-under workers?

No

  

 

76%

Yes

  

 

15%

We're looking at some changes.

  

 

9%

Taking extra steps to make a company more appealing to the under-30 crowd does not top the priority list of most poll takers this week.  No one responded to this week's Talk with any written comments either.  Perhaps it's because most window and door companies have not been a big hiring mode lately. And those that have been, I would guess, can probably be fairly choosy in today's labor market. 

I can't say I'm surprised. Talking to others who listened to Chester last week at AAMA, there was general sentiment that, yes, the younger generation is different.  They've grown up texting and sharing their lives on Facebook. How that will change them as workers is not certain, however. There was agreement that these younger workers will have a more global perspective and may require more company flexibility to retain, but there was definitely skepticism that they would be dramatically different than those entering the labor force 10 or 15 years ago. 

More than one other attendee noted that every generation thinks the next generation won't work as hard as they did.