Monday 12 July 2010

Gen Y, not so different?

4 Generations
Originally uploaded by edanley
Thanks to Erica Hurley and Deena Patel for this link, describing some data on generational differences at work.

I know there are many assumptions about how different generations will behave at work, especially when it comes to KM and knowledge sharing, but the studies that come out, don't seem to back up the assumptions (see this post for example).

Now here's another one, from Bloombeg Business Week, describing research from the Corporate Executive Board.

I quote

Myth 3: Gen Y Communicates Differently

A third major believed difference
across generations centers around communication styles. While Gen Y is
significantly more likely to use text messages and social networking sites in
their personal lives as a method of communication, this is not true when it
comes to communication within the workplace. When communicating with their
manager, 18 percent of Gen X and Gen Y employees indicate that they
predominately use networking tools, text messages, or instant messaging
communication tools. By comparison, 15 percent of baby boomers say they
predominately use the same tools when communicating with their managers.

The contrast is greater when it comes to communicating with peers: 25
percent of Gen Y employees use new communication tools in peer interactions,
compared with 19 percent for Gen X and 16 percent for baby boomers. New
communication technologies will continue to expand in the workplace, but a
communication tool gap is unlikely to emerge across the workforce, because older
generations in the workplace are already adopting these tools. The objective of
executives should be how to improve communication across the organization rather
than focusing on specific communication tools for different generations.

The reality of Gen Y in the workplace is that they aren't as different
as we might think.

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