It seems to happen with every generation. We look behind us and think – they are end of the world as we know it. My generation saw the he Gen-Xers as skaters and slackers – but today they are running corporations.
At the edge of the Gen-Xers are the Millennials (defined as born after 1980), they are the new workforce. They gave us Google, Facebook and Twitter. And they seem to be doing a pretty good job raising families and improving our lives. But in the area of customer service and support, they perhaps offer a special problem for leaders.
While their attention span is short, they have high expectations for success. Their measurement of success is not necessarily being “number 1″ but in “doing something that matters in life. Remember, they have been given trophies all their life, not for winning but for participating!
They are the most connected generation every. They have never known a day without a TV remote, a microwave or the Internet. They live with their phone never more than arms-length away and have always had access to immediate information.
So how does that affect the job? Consider these questions for the future:
- “What do you mean I can’t have access to the Internet on my computer? You have to be kidding!
- “Why is everything on paper and in manuals? Don’t you guys have a knowledge base online?
- “What do you mean I am not allowed to text while on the job?”
- “Is there anything else I can do? This job seems to be pretty boring….”
The access to information has made them one of the most “multi-tasking” generations ever. My son, who falls right into the middle of this generation, has it down to an art. I walk into his room when he is home from college and he has the TV on with the sound turned down, his laptop open to espn.com, his iphone next to him with several text threads in progress, his ear phones plugged in with music from itunes and a book in his hand. When I ask, “What are you doing?” He says, “Studying.” Think for a moment of what his perspective will be when someone in a company says, “no phones, no espn.com, no music….just do your job…”
The recent Pew Research also says they are one of the most educated generations ever. They are expected to also be on of the most successful. So here is the assignment for the day – what have you done to make your policies and processes more acceptable to this generation? Does your technology meet their expectations? Perhaps even more important, is your customer strategy ready for this generation to be your primary buyer?
For even more information about the details of who they are and what they want, click through to the recent Pew Research: Millennials – Pew Research