Embracing the Peter Pan Generation

How is your company’s check-the-box E&C program deterring their early-adoption attitude for two-way communication?

It is likely that the newest, hippest, most social and optimistic generation in history is now making up a large portion of your workforce. Yes, I’m talking about the 80 million kids who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s that are now entering into employment or currently working at companies across the globe.

According to PWC’s survey, Millennials at Work Reshaping the Workplace, Generation Y is predicted to make up 50% of a global company’s population by 2020. I’m talking Millennials, aka the Peter Pan generation (never really “growing up”) and the Trophy Generation (showered with praise and reward for anything above mediocre performances as kids) are most likely the new hires that are drastically impacting your company culture.

Here is what these Millennials employees look like:

  • “I’ve watched adults lose when the stock and housing market crashed. I’m saving to avoid the situation.”
  • “I crave feedback. If I’m doing something that is preventing my professional growth, I’ll change.”
  • “I work to live. The only way I can have the best life is earning the maximum amount of money possible.”
  • “If I can get a great work experience, while working with friends, in a casual environment, I’m #winning.”
  • “I’m not scared of losing my job – anyone would be lucky to have me.”
  • “My parents told me I could be anything I want to be, and I believe them.”
  • “Even though I know I need to save, my friends and are very brand loyal.”

These are all very unique characteristics that impact how the E&C team needs to communicate with Generation Y.  Their cozy childhood of constant empowerment caused them to feel responsible for creating their own destiny and bettering the world they live in. So, “Y” is this group the one to resist cooperation with your E&C program and least likely to come forward with reports of misconduct? The answer is right in the thoughts from the bullets above. If millennials aren’t getting what they need from your company, their loyalty will quickly decline without hesitation.

I’m not going to go on a supporting rant about how Gen Y is also tech friendly, social heavy, and instant response desperate – those facts are out there and too obvious to cover in this Friday afternoon blog post.  The question is, how is your company’s check-the-box E&C program deterring their early-adoption attitude for two-way communication?

They have reported feelings of constraint in the traditional business methods and processes and are not shy to encourage the adoption of technology to support these processes.  According to PWC’s research, almost 60% say that state-of-the-art technology is a key factor in their job satisfaction.

Here are some tips from various sources on how to play to their attitudes:

“I want to be heard”

Can you capture feedback in multiple formats like Facebook, IM, email, social outlets? Can you respond to their inquiries and reports in a timely manner?  If you fail to do this, Glassdoor or Facebook will be the first to hear about it.

“I’m on my phone more than I’m asleep”

No matter how you’re asking them to engage, give them a mobile option or forever hold your peace.

“How can I do better?”

Incorporate E&C into performance feedback and reward behavior that echoes company values.

“I like instant gratification”

They are easy to motivate; tie E&C into promotions or “special” projects.

“My boss is my mentor”

These individuals have a huge impact on the daily behavior of millennials. They are hungry for mentorship and will take the advice of those who are in a position to develop their careers.

“I’ll follow my friends”

If people see compliance as the law of the land, try to position E&C resources as non-threatening opportunities for guidance and support.

If you are interested to learning more about millennials and why it matters to your E&C program, below are a few of the reports spurred this blog post:

http://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/generation-gaps/generation-y.htm

http://www.business.com/recruiting/millennials-in-the-workplace-how-do-they-affect-hiring/

http://www.ibe.org.uk/userassets/briefings/b48_ethics_across_generations.pdf