Take a look around you next time you are on your way in to work and you will notice two distinct groups of people.
There are those reading a newspaper, magazine or book, and then there are others bobbing their head up and down listening to their i-pod perhaps even simultaneously sending text messages or checking e-mails on their Blackberry.
There are those dressed smartly for work, and then there are others coming in to work wearing tracksuit pants, flip flops and U2 t-shirts while carrying a freshly ironed shirt on a hanger.
For the first time in history we have a workforce containing four generations, each with its own set of values, attitudes and outlook on life. Each generation also has its own views of authority, work and communication style.
It has been said that there has never been a more critical time to engage Generation Y. This is a group of predominantly 19 – 30 year olds that has been described (predominantly by organisational psychologists) as blunt and expressive stimulus junkies who are überconfident, technologically savvy, “socially networked”, overly ambitious and optimistic. They are independent and goal driven and are said to be “like Generation X on steroids!” with high expectations for themselves, their employer and their boss.
Call me old fashioned (well hopefully not that old fashioned – I was born in 1971 and therefore fall into Generation X), but at work I have always been self-confident and optimistic, very ambitious, and I have always had extremely high expectations for myself and of my Managers. I have also only worked in roles and for companies where my own personal goals have been achieved, my colleagues have shared similar values, and I have always hoped that my personal contribution has made a difference.
So why is there an obsession with the google generation in workplaces all over the world today?
Stay tuned for an upcoming series of entries about the habits, needs, expectations and interactions of each of the generations at work.
But what experiences have you had that you may wish to share? Are you a member of Gen Y with a workplace story to tell? Are you a Gen X working alongside a Gen Y? What about a Gen Y working for a Baby Boomer?
The Aquent Oracle is really keen for your comments so together we can have a go at bridging the workplace generation gap…