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October 10, 2007

Generation Y is Putting Its Foot Down

Every other week there seems to be a new story about how Generation Y is disrupting the way that business has been done over the past few generations. They won't work 60 hours, they don't want to be stuck in a cubicle with their head down, they enjoy shiny new gadgets, and they have no loyalty to their new company. Somehow most of the articles that come out make this seem like a bad thing. They make it seem like Gen Y needs to make themselves fit into the square hole that is corporate culture.

Nevermind that Google and others like them having taken the Gen Y philosophy and turned it into a successful, profitable business model. Please ignore the fact that the companies making the most headlines have no loyalty to their employees. Definitely don't notice that the top companies in the world deploy the latest technology to their advantage. These Gen Y'ers need to get with the program and do things the way we've always done them!

Lets step back for a second and reevaluate the situation. Shouldn't companies be taking advantage of the capabilities of these new employees? Just because a job description says one thing, why isn't there flexibility to change it if an applicant has the ability to exceed the words on the paper? One of the biggest problems that keeps Generation Y from forcing evolution in the workplace is the HR department and its role in corporate procedures and policies. Another is the lack of communication that occurs in the workplace between the various generations. Currently there are three generations predominately in the workforce including the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y.

Generation X had a profound influence on the workplace when they arrived. Suddenly offices were forced to loosen up the ties and refocus. There was not a drastic change in when or where work was done, but in how it was done. Now Generation Y is hitting the workforce with their desires for flexible hours, telecommuting, and thirst for technology. Not only that, but Generation Y believes they should advance right to the top of the companies? That's a debate for another day, but there is validity behind the rest of their changes. As if that wasn't enough, Gen Y is pushing for businesses to take notice of non-traditional issues such as the environment and social consciousness.

Each and every business in the world is going to have to stand up and take notice of this new workplace revolution. The question is whether they use it to their advantage or fight against it.

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