Bridging the Generation Gap

The current issue of the Council of PR Firms’ online publication, Firm Voice, provides managers with some intriguing insights about what makes Millennials tick. 

Aaron Uhrmacher, a social media consultant at Text 100 Public Relations, posts an intriguing Top 10 that can help Boomers and Xers span the expectations bridge of Millennials.  Due to current economic conditions, don’t expect most agencies or companies to readily embrace ideas that affect the bottom line.  Fortunately, most of Aaron’s recommendations are very doable.  Please add your recommendations via Comments.   

  TheAaron Uhrmacherre’s a lot of talk about the Millennials these days. They’re also called Generation Y, Echo Boomers and, sarcastically, Generation Why? (That all came from Wikipedia—the Millennials’ utmost authority on everything that can’t be found on Facebook.) The Millennial generation encompasses people born roughly between 1982 and 1994. This group is regularly said to be wreaking havoc on corporate life, making supposedly outrageous demands for things like “work/life balance” and “benefits.”

Even though I fall a few years short of wearing the Millennial tag, I can identify with this group in many ways and I consider myself part of them. After all, I started out as an account executive and quickly earned the senior social media consultant moniker. So, if you have Millennials on staff and you’re looking for a little insight into what makes them tick, here are some tips you might find useful:

1. Let us work remotely: We can work at Starbucks and even from home. By creating a less structured physical work environment, you can stimulate us, encourage our creativity and teach us how to work smarter. Start with a trial month and evaluate the results. You might be surprised at how well we manage our time when it belongs to us.

2. Give us iPhones: Most companies only provide phones to management. If you want us to stay connected, give us the tools to do so. Blackberries are fine, but iPhones are much cooler. And they work on corporate networks.

3. Create opportunities for social interaction: If you want us to enjoy where we work, make it a place we want to be. Give us the chance to connect with our co-workers in an environment that promotes social interaction. Host group brainstorm sessions, take us bowling (or to the theater, or paintballing) and remember to celebrate our success outside the confines of the workplace.

4. Give us feedback: If you like our work, let us know. If you don’t, let us know. We’ve been using blogs, social networks and other platforms for years where we receive immediate feedback from our friends. We expect the same at work, and we look forward to it.

5. Compensate us: Not just with money, but with other benefits. Creative incentives go a long way. Gym memberships are expensive, so are dinners. Having free bagels and OJ once a week shows we’re part of the family.

6. Give us more work: Not just busy work, but smarter work. Empower us to help win new business or participate in our client’s online community building efforts. We may have skills that you don’t. We know how to use Photoshop, build web pages and blogs, and create social networks.

7. Take an interest in us: Start an internal blog where we can share other parts of our personalities, communicate with people at all levels of the organization and continue to ensure that our company is a place we all want to be.

8. Put us in charge: Yes, we want to be the boss and, no, we don’t always want to pay our dues. We’re admittedly impatient, but there are projects that we can work on that will benefit the company and will demonstrate our potential.

9. Let us teach: We can sometimes find answers quicker with Google than with proprietary software. We can automate coverage searches with online tools. And we can interact with reporters and bloggers using some of the tools you see as time wasters. Let us show you how technology lets us work smarter.

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