Tag Archives: Workforce Generational Trends

Staying Relevant

I just celebrated my birthday last week, so when I read Penelope Trunk’s article on  How to Remain Relevant When You’re Over 40  it hit me square between the eyes  – am I staying relevant???  

UGH!  If you have children, you’re much more exposed to the “latest and greatest” trends in technology, but have you thought about how that translates to your professional life?  Long gone are the days of finding one job and working there for the rest of your life. For survival’s sake, it’s incumbent upon to strive for relevancy every day. 

Trunk offered up some great tips on how to stay in the know and on top of your game.  Read the article and let me know what you think.

I’m certianly taking all of this to heart.


Are the Coming Gen Y’ers a Bunch of Liars and Cheaters?


The future workforce is a few years away, but already, some observers are sending up warning flares that they’re slacking in ethical standards.

A recent survey by the Josephson Institute, a Los Angeles-based ethics-training center, revealed that lying, cheating and stealing are apparently prevalent among today’s high-school students. The survey studied nearly 30,000 students at public and private high schools nationwide.

Compared to a similar survey conducted in 2006, the latest poll, Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth, reveals a slight uptick of unethical behavior.

Among the findings:

* More than one in three boys (35 percent) reported stealing from a store within the past year; about one-quarter (26 percent) of girls admitted the same. In the previous survey, the results were slightly lower, at 32 percent and 23 percent, respectively.

* Nearly half of the boys (49 percent) and more than one-third of the girls (36 percent) reported lying to save money, compared to 47 percent and 31 percent, respectively, in the 2006 survey.

* A total of 83 percent of those in public schools and religious private schools said they lied to a parent about something significant. In addition, 26 percent confessed to lying on at least one of the questions on the survey.

* Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the respondents admitted to cheating on a test within the previous year, compared to 60 percent in the 2006 survey.

* Ironically, 93 percent reported that they were satisfied with their ethical behavior.

Michael Josephson, president and founder of the institute, says “the cheating data is chilling, but the theft data is stunning.”

While he doesn’t think the students have crossed the Rubicon and are doomed to a life of unethical behavior, Josephson cautions that businesses must infuse moral and ethical behavior into their culture — beyond tidy ethical statements — and spell out negative consequences for unethical behavior.

HT: Paul Gallagher

Yes, Generation Y Loyalty Does Exist


The header and link below is to an article I recently wrote for the Des Moines Business Record. I encourage you to read through it and I would love to hear your thoughts on Gen Y.


Before you start launching tomatoes and pelting me with empty pop cans, let me explain. I know when you see “Generation Y” and “loyalty” in the same sentence, you think it is an oxymoron along the classic lines of “military intelligence.” Well, I have news. The Gen-Y folks do have a strangely loyal generational distinction.

Let’s look at a couple of things before I broad-brush the whole generation loyal. First, the members of Generation Y are often accused of being the most self-centered generation ever. They have been called the “me” generation, and to capitalize on it, they have Web pages all about themselves, using social media to share with the world more and more about themselves. They love Twitter.com, which allows them to tell all their friends and family exactly what they are doing in real-time microbursts.

Click here to continue reading.

Has The Recession Cancelled Gen Y Workplace Concerns?


The whole Generation Y concept of work- where flexibility, work life balance and a socially responsible employer is demanded by jobseekers – is set to change. That’s according to Steve Carter, Managing Director of accountancy and finance recruitment specialist Nigel Lynn.

“I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t have flexibility in the workplace”, says Carter, far from it, but according to recent research from the London Business School, while Generation X often requires flexibility for childcare, Generation Y demands it for lifestyle reasons. And according to a report in The Observer back in May, Generation Y jobseekers are “ready to resign if their jobs are not fulfilling and fun, with decent holidays and the opportunity to take long stretches off for charity work or travel.”

“In this market, that attitude isn’t going to go down terribly well with potential employers – many of whom may well be boomers and Generation X themselves and who had to really buckle down during the last major recession. And it’s going to be those people who can demonstrate that they can add real value to a business that will succeed. That means getting back to the Generation X ethos of hard work, long hours and potentially less time off. There will also need to be an acceptance that Generation X managers and leaders who have worked through a major downturn in the past will have valuable lessons to pass on. And above all, job seekers will need to demonstrate an attitude which reflects what they can do for their employer – not what their employer can do for them!”

Generation Y is a group that has never witnessed recession or economic hardship. They have grown up in a booming economy with rising house prices and a raging war for talent and so it is not surprising that they tend to talk about what they want from work. They may have some hard lessons to learn in the months to come.

What are your thoughts? Is Gen Y now going to become Gen X v2.0?

Audio: Gen Y – In Their Own Words – Danielle

After noticing the amount of interest in the Gallup Q12 employee engagement study I decided to take it to the next level. This topic and study by far out ranks any other post on my blog. So with that in mind I set out to make it my own in order to give you insight into what the working generations are really all about. I thought this would be a different twist on the topic instead of me telling you what they think – I decided to let them tell you in their own words. So I re-wrote the Q12 questions and renamed them the N12+ and tried to make them more conversational.

So what you have below is the culmination of that in the form of a recorded discussion between me and a Gen Y’er named Danielle and her thoughts and opinions on what it takes to engage her at work.

If this gathers as much interest as the other generational and employee engagement posts, I will continue to interview and discuss these questions with working members of the other generations as well. So stay tuned.

Click below to listen to my discussion with Danielle:

Playback time for the Audio is 15 minutes.

Video: Revenge of the Gen Y (Gen We) – It is Coming

This is an excellently produced video about Gen Y (Gen We) and what they want. If you have any interest in understanding Gen Y (Gen We) you must watch this video. I have to say I was incredibly surprised at how compelling it is. Now Go Watch it! =)

4 Things You Might Not Know About Generation Y

Sure, Gen Y is voting for Obama, but this doesn’t mean they are trailblazers. In fact, they are, for the most part, living out the values their parents gave to them. Not only that, but Generation Y is more comfortable being part of the crowd — identifying themselves by their group of friends, their teams at work, and the consumer brands they love most. Here are some traits of Gen Y that might make you think twice about the preconceived notions you have about those young upstarts in the workplace:

Gen Y is fundamentally conservative.

This is not a rebellious generation. This is a group that moves back home with their parents after college, something you could never think of doing if you were going to, say, spend a decade using drugs and hanging out at Woodstock. The helicopter parent phenomenon is also a sign of a generation that is not rebelling. They let their parents help choose their college and their clothes. And when it’s time to get a job, they let their parents help negotiate their salary.

One of the things that makes young people look like big risk-takers is their propensity to job-hop. People in their 20s change jobs every 18 months. But the impetus for their constant job-hopping is learning: Their parents drilled into their kids that learning is the most important thing: “Get off the sofa! Stop watching TV! Do something productive with yourself!” And this is the generation that is steeped in SAT tutors, Spanish tutors, and private soccer coaching. So they expect to be learning every step of the way for their whole life. When Gen Y sees they are no longer learning a lot at work, they leave. Because this is what their parents told them: Get off your butt and learn something!

Gen Y is full of great team players.

This generation grew up on soccer teams, where everyone is a winner and no one is a star. School taught kids on the playground that you can’t say you can’t play, and kids translated this into a worldview where everyone plays together. They went to prom in teams and later they applied for jobs and quit their jobs in teams.

Today’s executive teams understand that work environments that use teams well outperform those that don’t; however, older generations are leaders and loners, not teammates. Gen Y is appalled by a lack of team structure at work, and often they feel like they are not accomplishing anything until they are working as part of a team. Gen Y is so team-oriented that the place they really need help is in learning how to be leaders — something that comes so naturally to Boomers that they never even expect to teach it in such a fundamental way as Gen Y needs.

Gen Y women have more power than men.

For the first time in history, women in their twenties are out-earning men. This is true in every major city in the U.S., and the disparity persists until women have children, and then men earn more. Other generations might leap to cry sexism, but this generation understands that women have power to make their own decisions, and women are deciding on their own to downshift their career when they have kids, which means they are making an intentional reduction in earning power. Women in Gen Y feel empowered to get what they want in life, and they feel secure enough at the office to know that downshifting is fine.

Gen Y is more productive than everyone else.

While baby boomers are using their in-boxes as a to-do list, Gen Y is largely bought into the idea of an empty inbox. And while the idea of a constantly empty inbox might not seem defining to some, it is: For one thing, it means that Gen Y has more control over their priorities than everyone else because they are not choosing what to do by what is coming into their inbox, but rather, what their goals for the day are.

The other thing that an empty inbox signifies is Gen Y’s ability to slice and dice productivity software to get where they want to go. The key to an empty inbox is turning your email into a searchable database rather than a file system, which requires a good set of email tools. Gen Y chooses their own productivity tools, rather than waiting for the IT department to download them onto the company laptop. Gen Y’s productivity is so much higher than everyone else’s that you can assume that someone who is texting and watching a movie and listening to their iPod is still getting more done than you are.

– Penelope Trunk

Penelope Trunk is a Boston Globe career columnist.