Brave New World: Gen Y is in the House!

I've been getting a lot of requests for learning materials and events that shine a light on the various generations in the workplace and the ways in which their differences influence the work experience. This is a fascinating topic, to say the least.

One of the most notable characteristics that seem to play a great influence in the work style of the youngest members of the workforce, the so-called Generation Y or the 'Millennials', is their affinity for and comfort with technology and the latest tech tools and gadgets. Another is their proclivity for multi-tasking. A third characteristic of these new workers is their impatience with the 'things have always been done that way' mentality and their desire to be active co-creators of their reality.

This week, these three characteristics showed up in an interesting crescendo. Reportedly, the tech-savvy audience (comprised of many a Gen-Y'er no doubt) “hijacked” a keynote interview between a Business Week journalist and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg using new social media: Twitter; and older social media: heckling as a mob. As you can see in the report , they displayed their technical facility, their ease with multi-tasking in texting their concerns on Twitter while listening to the presentation unfold, and their unwillingness to 'take it passively' by shouting out their own questions to Zuckerberg when they got fed up with the direction the interview was taking and clear that it wasn't going to meet their expectations otherwise. (Thanks to Jamie Notter for pointing me to this news.)

This, of course, has serious implications for the world of work as a result of these characteristics and expectations being expressed in a mixed-generation environment. They present challenges and also opportunities for those willing to examine 'what is' and 'what could be' without getting bogged down in 'what has been' and 'what should have been'.

It's a Brave New World, and it's here to stay; are you ready to make the most of what it presents?