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Generation Mashup

Today at SXSW we heard from Joanna Coles (editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine), Olivier Fleurot (CEO of MSLGROUP) and Pete Cashmore (CEO of Mashable) on Generation Y in the workplace. Generation Y, besides being infamous as the over-entitled “everyone gets a prize for trying” generation, also gets a lot of buzz on the pro side for being assertive and tech savvy. Here were my takeaways on what it takes to be a successful company in the eyes of your GenY employees:

  • 1. Be autonomous
    o Consider having a flat organizational structure
    o Make quick decisions
  • 2. Be a learning company
    o Give the power of decision to many people in the company
    o Allow people to create their own experiments
  • 3. Balance patience with being in a hurry
    o Millennials are in a hurry! Encourage patience and learn from those around you
    o See the positive side of things; impatience can be good if it’s about learning more all the time
    o Give more challenges at a faster rate. Millennials/GenY expect that and will thrive because of it
  • 4. Be transparent
    o Social media makes companies more transparent and makes rifts more apparent; it’s not productive to have secrets
  • 5. Be passionate
    o Find a place where employees can be passionate about what they are doing and can keep learning
  • 6. See individuals as their own brands
    o People are seeing themselves as their own brands within their company brands
    o There is a changeover from companies choosing an employee to employees choosing the company they want to work for (at least, in a good job market)
  • 7. You are your office
    o Learn to work from anywhere, which ultimately makes you work more
    o Work life and free time have merged with technology so that there is less real going-home-from-work anymore
    o Companies demand that you are accessible at all time; that’s the downside of always being connected

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