Why would you WANT to hire a Gen Y’er?
Coddled. Entitled. The “what’s-in-it-for-me?” generation. Lately the blogosphere is erupting with articles on how to attract Gen Y hires to the automotive industry. Based on the unflattering stereotype surrounding my generation, I think a better question is “Why would you WANT to hire a Gen Y’er?”
We sound awful. Yet everything they say is true. On that note, here’s why you should want to recruit my spoiled, coddled, co-dependent generation to work in your store.
Because of course, we’re not. Well, we are. But we’re not. Here’s how it works.
You say: “We’re entitled.”
I say: “We’re engaged.”
Here’s an interesting fact about my generation that you won’t read in any study: We don’t believe in boredom. It’s true. We don’t. For my generation, the concept of boredom has gone the way of the Bubonic plague and the butter churn: a bizarre and wholly avoidable concept easily cured by even the smallest dollop of modern ingenuity. The good news? This boredom-intolerance extends to boredom in the workplace. This anti-boredom attitude alone is a marked shift that makes Gen Y’ers infinitely desirable hires.
While previous generations believe in “putting in your time” and “paying your dues,” Gen Y believes in Google’s 20% time and architecting our own rise to the top, as fast as our personal initiative can carry us. Work for our previous generation was a treadmill. For us, it’s a trampoline: buoyant, thrilling, meteoric, and scary. You see, we’ll do anything to avoid workplace boredom-including work as hard as we possibly can.
Here’s the best-kept secret of my generation: Gen Y’ers have a deep, unquenchable thirst for challenging work.
According to a study by The London School of Business, “When we talked about careers, young professionals were clear that the most important aspect to them is a challenge. They want to have a career where they are challenged and can grow with the challenge. Rather than being bored, they prefer jobs which stretch them and if they are no longer challenged, they would consider moving on.”
Think about it. If the quintessential workplace flick of the 90’s was Office Space, the classic career film for Millennials is The Social Network. Telling, isn’t it? Gen X had angst; we have Angry Birds. We expect workplace life to be one big whirling dervish of colorful activity, and we bring the killer combination of technology and tenacity (yes, the tenacity that comes from helicopter parents that told us we were amazing every day) to make it happen.
So yes, my generation feels entitled to fun, innovation, opportunity and excitement in the workplace. But here’s the flipside: we create fun, innovation, opportunity and excitement in the workplace.
We’re products of our zeitgeist. Previous generations see boredom as inevitable, we see it as avoidable. Give a Baby Boomer 30 minutes and they’ll stare at the wall. Give a Gen Yer 30 minutes and we’re dreaming up The Next Big Idea, calling an impromptu meeting, commandeering a white board, sailing around on a wheelie chair, and putting our plan into action.
If you’ve hired a Gen Yer who can’t figure out filing, don’t demote them to coffee-making. Promote them to Special Projects and challenge them to come up with the next game-changing marketing campaign for your dealership. Don’t be surprised when we come up with a transformative idea for your business-and gets every Baby Boomer in the room on board while they’re at it.
So tell me: dealers who have hired Gen Yers, have you found my theory to be true?
Gen Yers working in dealerships: have you implemented any creative ideas that have taken off?
Sound off in the comments below!