The Millenial Resource Network

Welcome to The Millenial Resource Network, an online resource for people of all generations to learn about the Millenial Generation.

Millenials will find links, articles, and blog posts mainly written by other Millenials which will show them how to get along in a work place still dominated by older generations. Non-Millenials will be able to use those same resources to gain insight into the mind of a Millenial and the best way to deal with them in the "real world."

Monday, May 17, 2010

Reconsidering the differences... and fixing the problems.

Initially, and I mean as it relates to the inception of this blog, there seemed to be a white wash of anti-Millennial/Gen Y sentiment in the world. However, at present there seems to be substantial and growing opposition to the anti-millennial sentiment. More importantly the blog-o-sphere and Twitterverse are facing a deluge of blogs and articles making the claim that the generations aren't that different at all. Just this morning I read a blog post titled The Gen Y Myth and it got me thinking if this whole Gen Y being different is really real?

To answer my own question, I have to say No. Gen Y isn't that different from any previous generation. I mean when you sit down to read the general complaints about Gen Y, as the author of the Gen Y Myth did, you start to see commonality not uniqueness. More over when you look at the survey response from Pat S. that was the subject of my previous post and the incredibly data/information rich white paper by Millennial Inc it seems that the needs, wants, and motivators of Gen Y aren't really that ground breaking. Good jobs, stable jobs, and bosses who care about them sound less like generational issues and more like professional and managerial issues we all deal with, which clearly echoes the sentiments put down in the Gen Y Myth. Most importantly those are the very same issues that many in corporations have been reluctant to address because there hasn't been the level of disruption in the status quo that there is today. Thanks economy!

So what should happen next, how do you fix it?

When I was first asked that question on Twitter I was flippant in answering. I believe my exact response was, "If I knew I would have a job, or at least be rich." However what should happen next is that HR should take up the job. HR professionals should strip away the generational stereotypes and demographic grouping (which for a unit that is supposed to celebrate diversity, they seem to not handle this wrinkle very well) and get at the root of the problems. I argue that once they do they will find that the problems of the generations clashing, as I like to call it, are really problems of corporations not being sure how to handle: innovation, management, talent management, employee engagement, diversity, and the list goes on and on. However it isn't that HR can't handle these problems, and I am by no means suggesting that since academic HR has been tackling these very topics for decades. Where HR really has a problem is that now the academic theory of these topics has to be put into practice at EVERY corporation and not just at the limited few that have been progressive already(e.g. Google and Best Buy). Additionally even for the progressive HR companies, it is no longer functional to be progressive in one area, HR has to be progressive in all areas. Compound that with the idea that while the stereotyped differences between the generations may not exists, the technological and communication differences between them are real. Now also complicate it a little more and consider that HR is responsible for the least predictable type of corporate capital there is, the HUMAN BEING, and it is easy to see that this isn't going to be an easy climb.

Many companies will try and fail to blend these elements together, many more won't even try and will just fail (Big Finance Banks, I am looking right at you). However a select few will try, and fail. Then try again and fail again, and so on and so on until unbeknown to them they succeeded, but they will continue to try and continue to fail even after success. Why? because that is the mission of HR. In order to succeed, they have to constantly manage talent, be innovative, ignite and manage change, handle diversity and engage the workforce. However until everyone in the corporate world from the CEOs on down figures out that is how you ensure success, people will just keep blaming Generational differences!

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