By Meagan Johnson and her dad Larry Johnson
Adapted from their book, Generations, Inc.-From Boomers To Linksters: Managing the Friction Between Generations At Work
According to one study, today’s college kids communicate with their parents an average of 13 times a week, which includes phone calls, emails, text messages, and Skype. We call this crop of future employees “Generation Gapless,” because they regard their parents as their best friends, and consult them about everything from future career paths to hangover cures. Definitely not what we were talking to our parents about in college!
Some say this intense attachment to parents will create future employees who don’t know how to take risks, speak up for themselves, or manage setbacks. We disagree.
Through our observations and experience with Generation Gapless, we have developed five strategies for getting the most out of these young adults. If you’re a coach, teacher, professor, or employer, here are some guidelines.
Give Them Friends
Generation Gapless moves around in packs. They don’t like being alone, and they don’t like being in situations that are all business. Provide a fun, social atmosphere and watch them perform.
Give Them Instruction
Not surprisingly, this generation is used to being told what to do. They won’t take offense if you tell them — in a detailed, step-by-step explanation — what is expected of them and precisely how you want things done.
Talk To Them
Don’t leave them alone for long periods of time without checking in, giving feedback, and offering guidance. They crave coaching and directing.
Generation Gapless is accustomed to receiving frequent encouragement — but it has to be deserved. They’ve had a low tolerance for phoniness, but they are used to being cheered on when it’s warranted.
Be Tech Smart
To say that Generation Gapless is technologically sophisticated is an understatement. These young people have grown up in a virtual world. If your environment does not welcome “their” modes of communicating, learning, and working, they’ll go somewhere else. Since they were born into technology, they’ve used it from birth to interact with the world in ways their elders never could. Consequently, their brains are wired differently and connecting electronically comes as natural to them as breathing.
Give Them Ownership
They are a highly entrepreneurial generation & are using the opportunity of living @ home, and the downturn in the economy to start a bevy of business. Give generation gapless projects they can treat like their own small businesses.
Support Their Greenness
More than any other generation, Gen Gappers are concerned with sustainability and survival of the planet. You will get their attention when they know you believe in these issues. You will capture their loyalty when they see you act to support these beliefs. You will enjoy their adoration when you empower them to contribute to green causes in a significant way.
Speak To One Not Thousands
The beauty of generation gapless being so connected you do not have to try to reach thousands of members of this generation only a key few – when your message ties into generation gapless life philosophy they will move your message forward.
Give Them a Place to Call Home
It is not a mangers job to be a parent but it is their job to connect with generation gapless. Create an environment that generation gapless not only feels comfortable in but can allows you to reap all the benefits this generation can provide.