Posts Tagged: employment
Posted in Employment Trends Future of Careers Gen Y Entrepreneurship Generation Y/Millennials Managing Generation Y Managing Generational Differences Millennials at Work Productivity on October 15, 2013 at 9:00 am
The infamous traits of the Millennial generation have been studied, discussed and debated far and wide: they’re always connected, they’re ambitious, they’re approval-oriented and more. In this series of blog posts, “Millennials at Work,” I’m diving into each of these stereotypes and discussing how they impact this generation and those of us who work with them.
Thanks to the increasing number of group projects at school, the push to participate in team sports at a young age and the widespread use of social media, the Millennial generation (a.k.a. Generation Y) has had exposure to teamwork early and often. As they rise into young adulthood and enter the workplace, they bring with them the idea that collaboration is the most effective way to get a job done. According to a Millennial Inc. study, “What your company will look like when Millennials call the shots,” over half of Millennials polled said they prefer to make decisions by consensus in the workplace.
What does this mean for the future of work?
Millennials want a voice, and not only as the boss
This generation’s ambition is often noted for being off the charts compared to those who came before them (see also: my post on Gen Y and ambition). But Millennials aren’t only interested in being the boss. They really want the opportunity to be heard. In their experience, open dialogue among a group has been the quickest path to success.
Penelope Trunk notes in her blog post on teamwork that effective teams are competency-based, where everyone has a unique skill to contribute. I agree. In the constantly-iterating workplace we have developed today, a less-seasoned yet tech-savvy Millennial worker may offer valuable insight to a product or project.
Environments conducive to teams and collaboration will win
Here’s more evidence that Gen Y prefers teamwork: a 2011 Sporting Goods Manufacturer Association (SGMA) report demonstrated why you’re seeing so many group fitness classes pop up in your area. Millennials are the most active generation in sports participation and heavily favor working out together. President and CEO of SGMA, Tom Cove, put it best: “For ‘Generation Y,’ it’s as much about the socialization as it is the perspiration.”
Cultures and environments that promote collaborative work are going to become the norm as Millennials continue to rise into adulthood. For a generation that likes to be together, creating a physical environment that allows for open communication is essential. The Society for Human Resources Management blog, WeKnowNext, shared great tips on this, including the suggestion to not build high walls that block employees from each other.
It also dispels the common myth that flexibility-hungry Millennials all want to work from home. Not true. While Millennials do want the ability to work from home occasionally, they generally enjoy the social nature of offices and wouldn’t want to give that up.
What is your take on Gen Y and teamwork? Please share!
Image credit: flickr.com
According to an often-cited report from the Business and Women Professional’s Foundation, Generation Y will make up almost 75% of the world’s workforce by 2025. With just a little over a decade to go, the smart employer is taking a look now at ways to attract the next generation of talent. I have spoken with Milliennials and their potential employers about this topic for several years, and here are some ideas I recommend for attracting Gen Y employees.
Show them a path…while giving them options
As I have discussed previously, the Millennial generation is characterized by unmatched career ambition. They are highly educated, work hard and want quick professional growth. In the recruitment process, it’s important to demonstrate to Gen Y that you have their development in mind.
Many Gen Ys I speak with are also concerned about being “stuck” in one career path forever. Though they know and have heard that people change careers, they are still conscious of making the right choice right now. Employers have taken to offering rotational programs, which allow employees the opportunity to rotate through a few business units in the organization to help the individual find the right fit. I’m also hearing about rotational internships, which I think could be a valuable Milliennial recruitment tool as well. Let Millennials explore work first-hand to understand how they can build a career with flexibility inside your organization.
Embrace technology…and its limits
Gen Ys grew up with technology and that affected most everything about the way they interact with the world. This includes their interactions with work, colleagues and clients. With this generation, it is important to offer up-to-date hardware and software and to consider allowing employees to bring their own devices if they choose. However, I believe it’s also crucial to teach Millennials – through training courses and informal coaching – how to interact without technology. This might include a course on how to have difficult conversations or how to run an effective face-to-face meeting.
Care about people…and culture
Millennials are team-oriented and want to make friends at work. When looking at potential employers, they want to like the individuals they are going to be working with, and organizational culture matters a lot as well. Gone are the days when you expect to stay with one employer for the duration of your career, so what makes a Millennial consider committing is the opportunity to do good work and be with good people in a good environment. For example, Skype paid close attention to designing the space for their North American headquarters in order to foster interaction and creativity. Vanguard offers employees paid “VTO” (Volunteer Time Off) to commit to a day of community service at any organization they choose. If an organization genuinely cares about its people and its culture – and, importantly, allows them to have fun in the process, Gen Ys will pay close attention.
How does your organization attract Millennial talent?
Posted in Career Advice for Young Professionals Communication Skills Generation Y/Millennials Getting from College to Career Internships Job Search Tips Networking Advice Networking and Personal Branding Professionalism on June 16, 2011 at 12:00 pm
One of the most frequent pieces of advice I give to young professionals is to seek out successful people and ask to conduct an informational interview with them. Essentially, an informational interview is a networking meeting where the interviewee (the successful professional) agrees to share some career advice with the interviewer (you).
I conducted tons of informational interviews when I was a student and young alum, and now I’m often the one being interviewed. And here’s the thing: If someone impresses me, I’ll go out of my way to help that person find a job or connect them with other people I know. If that person doesn’t seem to take the informational interview seriously, I usually end the call early and rarely keep in touch.
If you want to be in the former group with the people you ask for informational interviews, here are some secrets to success:
- Confirm. At least 24 hours in advance of your scheduled phone call or meeting, confirm with your interviewee. This shows that you respect the person’s time and that you are taking this opportunity seriously.
- Be on time. This is just as important for a phone call as it is for an in-person meeting. If you have agreed to 2pm, call at 2:00pm on the nose. Again, it’s a matter of respecting the other person’s time.
- Do your research. It’s really irritating when someone asks to speak with me and then his or her first question is, “Can you tell me about what you do?” A simple Google search will lead you to my (or anyone’s) LinkedIn profile, Twitter feed, website and all of the articles and blog posts I’ve written. This opening question isn’t a smart use of the time you have to gain valuable career advice.
- Clearly and concisely explain your situation. In most cases, the person you are interviewing won’t know much about you (don’t assume that he or she has read your resume or any other information, even if you’ve sent it in advance). So it’s a great idea to start the call with a brief (one- to two-minute) introduction to who you are and what you’re looking for. For instance, “I’ve just graduated with a BA in computer science and I’ve completed a few internships at big companies. My goal is to find a job at a start-up in the Boston area where I can work in product development.”
If you’re not totally sure what you want to do, it’s fine to say that you’re not sure yet, but do give the person some indication of the fields you’re interested in. For example, “I’ve just graduated with a degree in communications and, although I’m not completely sure yet what career to pursue, I’m currently looking at positions in public relations and marketing and would be open to other opportunities as well.”
- Prepare questions in advance. I recently spoke to a student who had prepared about 5 questions to ask me in a 30-minute phone call, which struck me as the perfect number. She clearly had specific issues she wanted to discuss and I really respected the fact that she had prepared so thoroughly. Her questions were also a good mix of specific (regarding a particular interview she had coming up) and general (she asked me what books I was currently reading and would recommend to a recent grad).
- Show that you’re listening. Remember that you are the interviewer in this situation, so it’s important to be a great listener. You want your interviewee to do most of the talking so you can gain as much wisdom as possible. This means repeating back some of the highlights of your interviewee’s advice and jotting down some action steps that you can share with the interviewee at the end of your call. For instance, perhaps the interviewee recommended a book to read or a particular company to research.
Sharing action steps is also a fantastic way to set up the expectation of a follow-up conversation. Tell the interviewee that you will be in touch as you accomplish the tasks he or she has suggested.
- Send a thank you email within 12 to 24 hours. Just like a formal job interview, an informational interview— even a very quick or casual one—requires a thank you email. The sooner you send one, the better to stay on that person’s radar screen and show that you appreciated his or her time. A handwritten note is a nice gesture, too, but given the speed of the world today, I generally prefer email thank yous following an informational interview.
- Keep in touch. If someone has agreed to an informational interview, that person now has an investment in your success and wants to hear how you’re doing as your job search continues. While you don’t want to overdo it, it’s absolutely appropriate to follow up with this person in a few ways:
- As mentioned, let the person know that you have taken action on his or her suggestions.
- Connect on LinkedIn with a personalized connection request that can serve as another thank you note (for example, “Thank you again for taking the time to speak with me last week. I look forward to keeping you posted on my job search!”).
- Be sure to inform this person when you eventually land a job. Everyone wants to feel that they contributed in some way to your success.
Do you have any other informational interviewing tips or best practices? Please share!
As another cohort of young professionals enters the workforce this graduation season, I’ve been pleased to see some more positive articles about Generation Y appearing in the media. Sure, the members of this generation are still young and have a lot to learn, but, these articles assert, maybe they’re not as “entitled” and “coddled” as older generations feared.
Finally some good press for today’s twentysomethings!
I’ve been an evangelist of Gen Y for years and am pleased to see this more positive portrayal of a generation I’ve found to be smart, creative and ready to make a positive contribution to their workplaces. And I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the fact that the oldest Gen Ys are now entering their 30s and taking on more and more leadership positions. Inevitably, this will bring some big changes to the work world. Here are three predictions:
1. We will expand and lengthen the definition of “entry-level.” Because Gen Ys are extending the onset of adulthood into their mid-twenties or even age 30 (a phenomenon that I believe was confirmed when the new U.S. health care legislation determined that young people can stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26), I think companies will follow suit in treating the twenties are more of a career training period.
I believe we will see expanded internship programs (perhaps lasting several years beyond college), more alumni career resources being offered by universities (so there is less pressure to choose a career by age 21) and longer corporate rotational programs — perhaps moving from two years to three or four. The days of graduating college and joining a company for life are long over, but we are only beginning to see companies develop creative new approaches to career pathing. For interesting examples, check out Best Buy, Google and Zappos.
2. Titles and career paths will become more customizable. According to MTV’s 2010 Millennial Edge survey, 81 percent of Millennials agree with the statement, “I am always expressing myself in different ways.” We’ve already seen this attitude in the workplace with Gen Ys seeking work/life balance, holding out for careers they’re passionate about and not hesitating to leave jobs that don’t feel fulfilling.
Over the next decade, I predict that companies will respond with more customizable titles, rotational programs, work schedules and other opportunities for employees to express themselves and their unique preferences in their careers. This Gen Y characteristics will lead to more entrepreneurial desire as well, so companies that offer opportunities for intrapreneurship or support “moonlighting” will also have an advantage in attracting and keeping young talent.
3. “Standard” business communication will evolve. We’ve already seen business become much more casual. When was the last time you called a colleague or client “Mr.” or “Ms.” or wrote a formal business letter? While I firmly believe that good grammar and face-to-face interaction should never go away, it’s clear we are headed for more text message speak (“LOL” was just added to the Oxford English Dictionary, after all) and more virtual communication as the “digital natives” of Gen Y begin to run the show.
Because human interaction is still incredibly important, my belief is that the technology will improve so that even virtual communications feel personal, such as better video chatting software and more realistic meeting technology such as Cisco telepresence. Even if you can’t be in the same room as a client or colleague, you’ll feel as if you are.
What predictions do you have for the way Gen Y will affect the workplace in the coming years? Please share!