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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Generation Y and Baby Boomers

This is the fourth of several posts this week covering my review of the July-August 2009 issue of the Harvard Business Review. I recommend getting a copy.

How Gen Y & Boomers Will Reshape Your Agenda By Hewlett, Sherbin, and Sumberg tell us that these two generations—the one heading out and their main replacements—have many of the same needs, surprisingly, and the population size to demand them. So pay attention. Here’s a quick summary from a great sidebar of this article: Gen Y (born 1979-94) rates rewards (as important as compensation) #1. High-quality colleagues; #2. Flexible work arrangements; #3. Prospects for advancement; #4.Recognition from one’s company or boss; #5. A steady rate of advancement and promotion; 6. Access to new experiences and challenges. Now compare and contrast to what the Boomers (1945-64) say…very close but in a different order: #1. High-quality colleagues; #2. An intellectually stimulating workplace; #3. Autonomy regarding work tasks; #4. Flexible work arrangements; #5. Access to new experiences and challenges; #6. Giving back to the world through work; #6. Recognition from one’s company or boss. Big Point made by the authors: Gen Y and Boomers (called bookend generations) want “remixed” rewards: “Flexible work arrangements and the opportunity to give back to society trump the sheer size of the pay package.” This article needs to be mandatory reading for anyone who’s ever said, “I don’t understand this younger generation.”

PS Gen Xers (1965-78) you’re the sandwich kids on the block and must learn how to adapt up (to the Boomers) and down (to the Xers). Fun being the middle child, isn’t it!

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