Duncan Macleod’s PostKiwi’s Generation blog has some information on Peter Sheahan.
Peter Sheahan’s book, “Generation Y: Surviving and Thriving with Generation Y at Work”, was published in 2005 by Hardie Grant Books. Here Peter outlines the content from his workshops in the workplace. Sheahan bases his work on his research with ‘talented’ Australian Gen Yers born between the years 1978 and 1994. Gen Y, he explains, is also known as Echo Boomers, Generation Next, Millennials, Boomlets, I Generation, Net Generation, Netizens and Generation WHY. This book will be read by many employers who are frustrated with the high level of attrition with people in this age group. Sheahan helps address the issues of recruitment, selection, training, management, motivation and retaining Gen Yers. You can read more of Peter Sheahan’s work at www.petersheahan.com.au
Part 1: Understanding Generation Y
Peter describes Generation Y as
- Street Smart – mature, resilient, fast learners who are practical, enterprising and manipulative – knowing how to survive modern urban life.
- Aware – conscious, having knowledge, being fully informed about current issues relating to culture, society, environment and emotions.
- Lifestyle Centred – in search of meaninful experience, motivated by deeper things than just money, potentially willing to treat work as no more than a means to an end, materialistic, success driven and image conscious.
- Independently Dependent – independent in thought but enjoying an empowering approach from their parents, employers, sporting or religious groups.
- Informal – always looking for new more efficient ways of doing things, relaxed in communication, blunt in speaking manner, unwilling to follow rules for sake of following rules.
- Tech Savvy – with advanced knowledge in technical application, thrive in change situations, early adopters of new technology, fast learners, resourceful, excellent sales people of technological products when given adequate sales and customer service training.
- Stimulus Junkies – over-stimulated in comparison to earlier generations, used to interactive entertainment, easily bored, intense, multitaskers.
- Sceptical – inclined to doubt accepted opinions, demanding rationale behind requests or instruction, not believing all they see or hear, optimistic, confused at school leaver age but very focused by time they exit tertiary education.
- Impatient – ambitious, always on lookout for something better, with degree of delusion about personal ability and competence, desiring to be involved in process of designing workplace activities, with tendency to separate effort from reward, need for instantaneous communication and speedy feedback.
What Generation Y want from a job is purpose and meaning, responsibility, promotional opportunity, new challenges and experiences, fair compensation, increased responsibility, individuality and creativity.
From a workplace they’re looking for flexibility, ethical commitment, fun, belonging and engagement, up-to-date environment, passion and optimism.
From a boss Gen Yers are looking for empowerment, mentoring rather than direction, fairness, recognition, personal connection, involvement and value, and demonstrated competence.
Part 2: Attracting Generation Y
Peter gives very practical suggestions for marketing and recruiting with Generation Y in mind. He begins by saying that members of the Y Generation will be the best resources for the design of recruitment campaigns. He encourages employers to treat recruitment as a marketing exercise.
As I read through this material I’m thinking of the Uniting Church’s current commitment in Queensland to recruit younger ministers. Sheahan suggests being creative in the way we communicate and where we communicate our message. Prospective employers are advised to commit themselves to training and education programs for their employees, and make that commitment known. Are we able to connect with other things that appeal to Generation Y? Opportunity to travel? Potential career advancement? Lateral opportunities? Flexible work schedules? Significant responsibilities? Autonomy? Fun culture?
Sheahan strongly advises employers to recruit for talent and attitude, and train for skill.
Parts 3 and 4: Managing and Retaining
Sheahan looks at orientation, training, managing, motivating and day-to-day management, with practical questions at the end of each section. He has some very helpful ideas for exit interview. I like his final suggestion – creating an online alumni association for companies with benefits and opportunities for people who have left for overseas travel or work in other companies.