Friday, May 09, 2014

Are You Ready for Generation C (Competitive)?

Are you planning to hire youngest members (or prospective members) of your profession this summer? If so, you might want to get to know them better. They bring a lot to the table, but they certainly don’t sit at the same table that you and I did at that age. Don’t waste their talents.

On the surface, Millennials may seem to lack the verbal acumen of previous generations and they certainly don’t seem as willing to pay their dues. But, they’re more than just tech-addicted slackers. They have a huge built-in network of contacts from Day One of their professional lives—contacts that could be useful to you as well. They can find the vast majority of what they need to know right on the web (even if you can’t) and they’re MUCH MORE COMPETITIVE. Much more. University of Michigan studies suggest that today’s students score about 40 percent lower in measures of empathy than students did 30 years ago. Maybe it’s because they’re come of age at a time when “disruption” is considered a good thing, at least in business and technology circles.

Growing up with cutthroat competition

If you have a millennial and Gen next person in your life right now, you know what we mean. Everything from Little League baseball and youth soccer, to marching band to getting into college is substantially more competitive today than it was for older generations. What we did at 18, they’re doing at 14. What we did at 15, they’re doing at 12. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about the classroom, the ball field or summer internships. The stakes just seem higher.
As David Brooks’ wrote in his New York Time op-ed piece Tuesday, not only is getting into college more competitive, but students begin to be haunted by fears about their job market prospects much earlier. The image of a “benign job market is pretty much gone (as expectations about what constitutes a good job have risen). Even incoming college freshmen seem to fear they will not find lucrative and rewarding work.”

According to UCLA’s annual study of incoming college freshmen, job training and making money is a much higher priority for today’s students than it was for previous generations. For instance, researchers found that in 1976, 50 percent of freshmen said they were going to college in order to make more money. By 2006, almost 70 percent of freshmen said that. Their values have changed, too. In 1966, only 42 percent of freshmen said that being well-off financially was an essential or very important life goal. By 2005, 75 percent of students said being well-off financially was essential or very important.
“Affluence, once a middling value, is now students’ top life goal,” quipped Brooks. “In the shadow of this more Darwinian job market, it is more acceptable to present yourself as utilitarian, streamlined and success-oriented.”

In order to stay connected with the next generation, Nicole Malcom, Director of Operations for the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) told me recently that “you need to stay abreast of the latest technology, even if you are not currently using it.”  Gregory Brooks, President of the association management company, AMC Source told me NextGen is very resourceful. “They’re connected globally and prefer to bypass red tape. To get to them, you must provide community, tools and resources they need—stuff that they cannot get on their own.”


“The next generation is idealistic and cause-oriented,” according to Chris Williston, voice of the Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT) whom I interviewed recently for Association Adviser.  “They want to connect with your cause, but they need to understand the narrative you’re putting forth and how they can become a part of it.  If you can do that for the next generation, they will tell your story for you, with themselves cast in the starring role.”  If that’s egocentric and narcissistic, so be it. You need Generation C on your team. Learn how to work with them, not against them. Or else, you’ll soon be competing with them.

Have a great weekend. Honor the moms in our life. HB
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TAGS: David Brooks, UCLA study of incoming freshman, University of Michigan study of empathy, Independent Bankers of Texas, AMC Source, Association Adviser, American Holistic Nurses Association

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