Which generation do you think I’m referencing? Millenials? Gen Y? (which seems to have been absorbed into the former, sadly) Baby Boomers?

All of them.

It doesn’t matter how old you are; if you’re reading this, you know what I mean. When you were younger, people your parent’s age proclaimed, “kids these days have it so easy.” I bet you heard them continue, “they’re entitled, don’t want to work hard like we did, and just look at everything as a way to have fun! The world and workplace will never be the same.” I’m pretty sure this was followed by a, “get off my lawn!” and an exasperated, “garumph.”  An Egyptian tomb dating back thousands of years had an inscription (paraphrased): “We live in a decaying age. Young people no longer respect their parents. They are rude and impatient. They frequently inhabit taverns and have no self control.”

Put aside the leaps in technology and communication/connectedness for a moment. How different, really, is any generation from another? Each wishes to make their mark, improving quality of life while minimizing labor. The Baby Boomers looked to their parent’s generation. A group of people which fought in two world wars, struggled through a global depression, and still managed to settle down into the largest growth spurt of human history. Then, they provided an unmatched quality of life for their families. What do you think one of such history would say after seeing the first hippie?

Those earliest of Baby Boomer parents…poor, poor souls. Can you imagine their faces seeing the rise of goth, punk…boom boxes? Generation X must have seemed as foreign as the Martians from War of the Worlds. “They will never understand the hard work it took to get here, and now they are just wasting their lives listening to, what is it, metallic music?” Yet Gen Xers have adapted to and helped shape our global workplace.

The buzzword of the decade in generation-speak is “Millenials”. Since there is no clear definition on who these always-connected and entitled brats even are, let’s just say anyone born after the early 80s. See? You can make such comments for any group. Though I’m no brat.

Alright, Millenials. From what I have been told, they are all ADD suffering, helicopter parent raised, technology-addicted youngsters for whom the status-quo doesn’t work. They aren’t receptive to traditional marketing, nor do they wish to work in a typical workplace. Given they, like generations before them, are the first to adopt new technologies, of course the “old” strategies are less effective. But this isn’t something new. The largest difference is the degree of change…in the past 20 years, we have seen a revolution of global interaction and communication unlike any in human history. Where the jet age enabled affordable travel near and far (and, ho, so fast!), the information age brought that exchange up to the speed of light.

So how can any of this help your strategies?

Look forward. Plan how your services can be made simpler, faster, and more focused to each member. Make them fun, usable no matter where you are, and always retain the human touch. And tell your members, all the time, because people of all ages have very short-term memories, and we might forget about all the great things you can do for us.

Continue the story in a new post: “Millenials Love Technology…Everybody Knows That”!

Image courtesy of http://www.startrek.com/uploads/assets/articles/voyage-home.jpg

Egyptian quote attributed to Buckminster Fuller in his book, “I Seem to Be a Verb”