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Generation Y by Steffi Burkhart and Orsolya Nemes


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All you wanted to know about 20-somethings. A sneak peek into the #Millennial mind - a #GenY perspective #ebook. Get your free copy in English, German or Hungarian at

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Generation Y by Steffi Burkhart and Orsolya Nemes

  1. 32 GENERATION Y The beginning of a new era at work understand, win over and keep 20-somethings by Steffi Burkhart & Orsolya Nemes
  2. In the analogue world 2.500 km sets us apart. In the digital world 0. In the analogue world sets us apart. In the digital world . We met online. Via SlideShare, YouTube and Facebook. Three weeks later, Orsolya happened to give a talk on Generation Y at a conference in Cologne, Germany – where Steffi is based. Seemed to be the perfect coinci- dence. So we exchanged some Facebook messages and ended up at a café in the Belgian Quarter chatting about our lives, thoughts – and obviously Generation Y. By the last sip of our Latte we decided to write this mini ebook. is the extension of the analogue world for us enables us to do an inter­ national cooperation is the central element for a constructive work The digital world 7
  3. We speak mostly in English, mix it with German and sometimes Steffi rocks Hungarian with the help of Google translator. We met only once in person. But over a 100 times online. We wrote this book in Google Drive. We talk via Skype and Facebook. and it is totally ok what’s more, we are loving it 98
  4. Our common vision is to change the way people think about Generation Y at work and help companies to understand us better. 2 Generation Y ambassadors 2 young ladies 2 mother tongues 2 ��-year-olds 1 vision 1110
  5. half of the global workforce will be consisting of Millennials² we will take up 75% of the jobs³ by 2020 by 2025 Members of Generation Y¹ are 20–33-years- old today. We are the youngest generation on the job market. And as it seems, we are turn­ ing the world of work upside down. We bet these guys give you a headache. Here’s a sneak peek into our minds. 3. Both statistics are from Millennials at work, PwC 2011 1. In this mini-ebook we are focusing on 20-somethings living in the western world. 2. The term “Millennials” refers to the generation born between 1982-2000. It is the collective expression used to describe members of Generation Y and Z together. 1312
  6. Don’t read any books about us. Don’t talk about us. Talk with us! Talk us! Don’t read any books us. Don’t talk us. Everybody is talking about us instead of with us! That’s why we are judged negatively. People like to say that we don’t respect anybody, we are lazy, entitled, unmotivated, and have irrealistic expec- tations at work. They are guessing why we behave the way we do – instead of simply asking us. We see the whole mess differently. From the perspective of Generation Y. 15
  7. We would like to share this perspective with you. Because who understands why we tick the way we do, what is in the background and how it influences the way we see the world of work, will have an enormous advantage in winning over and keeping young top talents. 1716
  8. Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt “ ” Oh, those young and restless Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between you’re 15 and 35 is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re 35 is against the natural order of things. 19
  9. Millennials a.k.a. Generation Y and Generation Z are said to bring on the end of humanity with their smartphones and use of social media. Oh, and don’t get us started on Alphas growing up with tablets and being online from the moment their navel string is cut.⁴ The world always had a problem with the actual youngest generation. The Veterans surviving the horror of world wars were frustrated with their hippie Baby Boomer kids putting flowers in their hair, wearing funky clothes, and going to Woodstock. When Generation X was young, people thought that they would become antisocial and brain-dead because of watching MTV, listening to weird music with their walkmans and reading comic books. 1925 – 45 The Veterans 1946 – 64 Baby Boomer 1965 – 81 Generation YGeneration x Generation Z Alphas 1982–95 1996 – 2007 after 2008 4. There is no officially agreed timetable on generations, these are the age divisions we find the most fitting. 2120
  10. Demographic situation male female Yes, we know. It’s all in the numbers. The western world is getting older and older and there are less and less young people following their footsteps. The shape of the age pyramid in the western world is transforming. The age structure in these regions has long left behind the idea of resembling an actual pyramid, where the largest group of the population was the youngest. It has started to look like the Chrysler Building instead. europe 2015 populaton: 743.122.000 105 90 75 60 45 30 15 0 0 2.5% 5%5% 2.5% 5. source: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision. (Medium variant) 23
  11. ‘war of talents’ ‘war for talents’. This development means that there will be a shift of power. From the employer to the employee. The is becoming The number of babies born have been decreasing for decades. At the same time, the number of the grey- haired population is increasing. The single growing age group are the over 50s and 80-year-olds. We are transforming into a “Silver Society.” Obviously, this development has an effect on the job market as well. At a number of companies the average age of employees is between 45-50. According to current prognoses, till 2025 there won’t be enough people to fill millions of positions at work, as Baby Boomers will retire and there aren’t simply enough youngsters to fill up all those places⁶. And since the talent pool is becoming smaller, recruiting and retaining young talents will be one of the greatest challenges of companies in the following years. Top talents will become a short supply. #warfortalents 6. The impact of aging Baby Boomers on Labor Force Participation. Alicia H. Munnell, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. February 2014, No. 14-4 2524
  12. That’s why it’s extremely important to develop and take actions in order to make your company attractive as an employer. We don’t mean to scare you, but if you want to walk away from this situation as a winner, you have to think ahead. Like, right now. You’ll ask us at the job interview why we want to work there. Well, we will ask you, what you can offer. We want to know how we can contribute to make the world a better place by taking a job at your company. What matters for us is how attractive your company is. From the inside. Not only from the outside. #insideout How can you do that? Let us give you some tips! 2726
  13. Win Generation Y over for your company What makes a company attractive for a 20-something? The rising influence of social media and smartphones has altered the way we seek, evaluate and engage in work. These tools have enabled us to talk to each other, search and do research in a matter of seconds, 24/7. But it’s not the end of the story. In the past 15 years we have seen small start-ups, founded by open-minded young entrepreneurs grow into huge enterprises (Google, Facebook, Twitter etc.) in front of our eyes – and introduce a new work culture. Different and more human-scaled than we ever saw before. Where our age is not a disadvantage, but an advantage. Oh, and we are valued and encouraged at these companies as well. Including our ideas. In a world where successful start-ups are attracting top talents like magnets with the possibility to do meaningful work, with cozy, fun and social offices as well as with a friendly, team-spirited environment. They offer to be part of a mission to change the course of the world. ? ! 29
  14. Reaching the right Millennials on social media is hard work. Reaching Millennials on social media is easy. 3130
  15. Brand your company We are used to making decisions quickly and choose the one thing we need from an enormous sea of products – and informa- tion. We grew up in a consumer society, after all, and have been bombarded with commercial messages since birth. And we’ve got some news for you. We choose our employer the same way we choose shampoo, our Converse or a can of soda. It might seem cruel, but that’s how it is. We don’t want a job. We want to work. We want to do something meaningful. We want to see the big picture. Something we can associate ourselves with. You know, we just want to make the world a better place. Day by day. 75% of Millennials believe that businesses are too fixated with their own agendas and not focused enough on helping to im- prove society.⁶ To draw us in, define the value you represent and show it to us. What is your value proposition? What is the greater good? Make us feel that we are a part of your brand, use visuals to engage us and inspire us to take action. Do what hasn’t been done before. We like new and bold. Communicate that authenti- cally and we’ll stand in line to work for you. If you think about it, these are the same things you expect us to do. we just want to make the world a better place #brandyourself6. Mind the gaps. The 2015 Deloitte Millennial survey, Deloitte, 2015 3332
  16. happening in the world right now, should it be Grumpy Cat or hunting down the Charlie Hebdo shooters. Social media is a tool for starting a conversation. Talk with us and provide information we really need – not what you think we need. Oh, and please grab a UX designer to tailor your webpage! Make it fun, engaging and responsive – if you don’t want us to tune out after three seconds. Also, we are used to personalized content. Google follows every search we take, every click we make. And it’s not missing a keystroke. It knows what we talk about in our e-mails, which YouTube videos we watch, what pages we have liked on Facebook and offers us ads accordingly. It makes a story out of the digital footprint we leave (and believe us, it’s a big one) and personalizes marketing messages accordingly. If you embrace big data and do the same when you are recruiting us, you’ll have a greater chance to find the top talents you are looking for. Pay attention to what and where we are talking about and find a clever way into the conversation – and you will not only convince us, but we will become your social media megaphones. 7. Crowdtap and Ipsos Media CT: Social influence: Marketing’s New Frontier, March 2014 We look around for employers. Thoroughly. And we are picky, yes. But we do our homework and come prepared as well. The problem is that sometimes we just can’t find what we need about a company because they aren’t present on our platforms. We want information. We want to see what others think of you. We want impressions, from a lot of people working there – and not working there. We spend 5,4 hours / day with user generated content a.k.a UGC⁷ (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp). We like it, because it is real-time, fast and shows us everything Be present on our platforms! Personalize! #showyourself 3534
  17. 8. Crowdtap and Ipsos Media CT: Social influence: Marketing’s New Frontier, March 2014 Be transparent! Be honest! Before social media took over, marketers were busy cre- ating beautiful corporate videos, hanging shiny posters on walls with happy stock photo employees and telling the world how awesome it was to work there. In the age of social media, our motto is “We will decide, what we will think of your brand.” We have started building our own pic- tures about companies, their values – and whether these correlate with what they communicate. For us information we receive through social media, through our own network is highly trustworthy. Guess what, we trust UGC 40% more than information we get from traditional media sources like TV, print, radio or newspaper and magazines⁸. Thanks to this wonderful little invention called the Internet (and the fact that we are connected, networked and always online) employer brand is shifting towards what other people say about your company – not what you say about yourself. If something is fishy, we share it. But the good news is: if we like something, we will share it even more. #truecolors if we like something, we will share it even more 3736
  18. Keep your GenerationY colleagues Besides winning over young talents, it will be more and more striking for companies to keep them on the long run as well. 54% of Generation Y expects to have 2–5 workplaces, while 16% count with 6–9 employers during their career⁹ (compared to 2–3 jobs Generation X:ers, and 1–2 Baby Boomers calculated with). That’s a lot of job hopping. Recruiting and training a newcomer at the company is a lot of time, effort and money. And by the time your recruit starts to find his way through the maze of a corporation, well, he just bids goodbye. Maybe. Why not try work-life blending instead of work-life balance, career safety instead of job safety and flexible working hours for young families? 9. Millennials at work, PwC 2011 Wouldn’t it be easier to create an environment where people can strive and feel so good that they don’t want to leave? 39
  19. We live in a world of constant feedback. There is a smartphone in our pocket and we get comments all the time - whether we like it or not. If you think about it, social media platforms are all built on 100% feedback, right? So we are used to getting comments on what we have cooked, where we were with our friends or what we think of the world. But there’s another aspect of feedback. We mostly learn skills at college, so we have to put theory into realization, gain practical knowledge at work. Feedback helps us know whether we are on the right track, going in the right direction and developing in a way which is good not only for us personally, but for our company as well. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not talking about a tap on our head, candies and carrots. Give us meaningful and helpful comments on our job. Forget employer assessment once a year. Go for constant comments on our performance. Think of feedback as signposts on the road showing us which way to go. Help us to excel and develop. Communicate the big picture and reward the small wins. And we will love you for that. Feedback give us meaningful and helpful comments on our job #feedbackisintheair 4140
  20. Everybody is talking about work-life balance. But you know what? That is so 2014. We are 100% wired. The Internet has enabled us to work from home, or from non-traditional workplaces like a café or from the airport on the go - as long as we have our laptops, tablets, smartphones and we are online. It gave us freedom. And we are loving it. We like to work wherever and whenever inspiration strikes us. And if it happens at 10 pm and we don’t even stand up till 3 am. But we won’t be happy (and useful) the next day if we have to check in at 9 am at work. If we have to wait for the plumber to fix our sink, well, we can still log in and work from home. And this doesn’t mean that we don’t do the job. It just requires a more project-based approach. Flexibility is what we expect. So we have to forget about work-life balance and talk about work-life blending instead. Working hours and and private life are inseparable for us. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean team meetings at 3 am. The employer and the employee have to look for ways to enable work-life blending together. A 20-something has different needs than an older person or a working mom. Work-life blending flexibility is what we expect #worklifeblending 4342
  21. We are used to things changing around us all the time, so are always ready for the hammer to drop. We saw the iPhone revolutionizing the way we share, communicate, as well as our customs in 2007. We saw the world go down after the 2008 financial crisis and our parents lose their jobs even after being loyal to a company for 20 years. We saw the Ukraine crisis break out and shatter status quos in 2013. We are prepared that we have to stand our ground whatever comes. Out of the blue. We are used to the fact that nothing is taken for granted anymore. There is no secure full-time job anymore. The speed of business is always changing, the economy is too unpredictable and technology is evolving rapidly. There are simply too many factors we can’t control. We have long bid goodbye to career safety and settled in for uncertainty. Our single chance to stand our ground is if we, personally have an appealing set of skills and competences as well as a broad network from all fields. No wonder that instead of a job safety, 20-somethings are aiming for career safety. Our basic mode is adaptation. We are chameleons always changing, blending and learning new skills to stay alive – we just follow the constant changes of our environment. It is pure evolution. We are evaluating our employers based on how well they are helping us grow, to improve our skills, become better and better at our jobs. Whether they are encouraging us, how great they are as mentors and coaches, whether they allow us to exploit our strengths and what kind of possibilities they offer us to develop professionally. Career safety #wearechameleons 4544
  22. Family friendliness is basically flexibility on the long run. It’s a misconception that we are so self-absorbed, busy finding ourselves that we don’t want to have kids. We do. Really. Actually, our No. 1. value is to be a good parent, having a high-paying career comes only in the 6th place¹⁰. Most of us just wants to figure out ourselves before we take on a life-long project like raising a kid. But no wonder, towards our 30s it is becoming an issue. But we have to provide for those little toddlers. The family model, however, where only one person is making money isn’t working anymore. A lot of Generation Y-ers would like to – and have to share family management. We want to be there for our kids. We want to see them grow up. Not only girls, boys as well. Living according to the classic wife and husband roles isn’t working anymore. It is practically impossible to raise kids and save money in general, as well as put something away for retirement, while the living costs and rents are increasing, and your net income is shrinking – all alone as a working parent. The prospect of part-time jobs and more flexibility at working hours and place, as well as the reintegration after maternity leave can’t be empty talk anymore. We want to be great parents. And we like to work. Work is a way of self-expression for us. You just have to enable us to integrate the two things without having to sacrifice one for the other. Family friendliness 10. Millennials. A Portrait of Generation Next. Confident. Connected. Open to Change. Pew Research Center, 2010. #flexibleissexy 4746
  23. It all boils down to this We know it’s kind of trendy to trash us nowadays in the media. But guess what. We are not that bad. What we are “claiming” is not only for us. It’s for us all. For everybody getting up and going to work day by day. It’s all about creating a work­ place everybody can find inspiring, engaging and meaningful. It’s for everyone across generations. 49
  24. Companies that have been successful in attracting and obtaining Generation Y (like Google, Coca-Cola or Nike) are innovative and welcome young talents with open arms. They provide an inspiring work environment with creative tasks and value their co-workers. The funny thing is that these companies don’t target Millennials specifically. It is their culture, values, management style, the opportunities, the team spirit and the work environment that draws us in naturally. And because of this, they are able to pick the best of the best. “Mission. Transparency. Voice. These three components of our culture create a virtuous cycle of attraction, community, engagement, and innovation. If you give people freedom, they will amaze you. They’ll do remarkable things and all you need to do is give them a little infrastructure and a lot of room to change the world. And I think that holds in any industry.” > Laszlo Bock, SVP of People Operations, Google 5150
  25. So take a deep breath and take the leap. Don’t settle for mediocrity just because that’s how things used to be done. Don’t be afraid to rethink your structure. Your processes. What you think about work. And most importantly, your values. The only way for businesses to consistently succeed today is to attract smart creative employees and create an environment where they can thrive. And this goes for all generations. Oh, and one more thing. Remember. By 2020, half of the global workforce will be consisting of Millennials and by 2025, we will take up 75% of the jobs¹¹. It is not that far away. What we are talking about is 5–10 years from now. And it is happening anyway. Start building your company brand now to draw us in and talk to us. Guide us and help us become better professionals, and yes, sooner or later managers. We will be more than grateful for that. Let’s build a workplace and work culture that fits us all and allows personalities, ambitions and dreams to shine through regardless of generations!11. Millennials at work, PwC 2011 5352
  26. Written with love by dr. Steffi Burkhart and Orsolya Nemes We are the voices of our generation, Generation Y. Our goal is to meet the needs and demands of the younger generations with those of the job market. We both step out to the spotlight on stage from time to time to talk about Generation Y, help companies with employer branding and facilitating different generations to understand each other. 55
  27. Do you have a question or comment regarding GenerationY? 5756
  28. Steffiis 29 and works happily at a young company. It wasn’t always like that. Her first job was a complete culture shock. For a long time, she didn’t understand why, and though the problem was her own way of thinking and behavior – so she questioned those. Then, since her friends also turned out to be having such problems at work, she decided to research the topic. Her inquiry led her to the conclusion that the same way we are talking about different company structures and management styles, generations don’t work the same way either. Different generations have different points of views. They have their own approach of the world of work and man- agement culture, which you have to synchronize them for the sake of a fruitful cooperation. Since this realization, she’s been writing a blog, magazine articles, giving interviews and talks on different stages, sitting in panel discussions – and also appears as an expert on TV and offering consultancy with her Generation Y team. Steffi is based in Cologne, Germany. Orsolyais also 29. Right after graduation she landed her dream job at on one of the best OD consultant com- panies in Budapest. But soon it turned out that her hands were tied – because of her age. As she believed that good ideas are not age-bound, she decided to prepare a presentation on Generation Y she uploaded to SlideShare. It became the Top Presentation of the Day and was picked by the editorial team as one of the best in 10 million uploads. The wonderful feedback she received urged her to become the voice of her generation. She had the amazing opportunity to talk about her journey and Generation Y at TEDxYouth@Budapest in 2013, followed by another invitation to hit the stage at TEDxDanubia in 2014. Today, she is leading her own business, Y Consulting, where she helps corporations to understand and embrace Generation Y, to support multi-gener- ation cooperation and to rock employer and company branding. She also offers presentation training, coaching and design. She is a frequent speaker both at local and international confer- ences on Generation Y. Orsolya is based in Budapest, Hungary. @Steffi_GenY Dr. Steffi Burkhart @orsnemes Orsolya Nemes | +36 30 374 33 23+49 (0) 176-47014303 | 5958
  29. proofreading by Szilvia Palmai design by Mika Seidl – © 2015 All rights reserved. This mini ebook is 100% our intellectual product. Use it, learn from it, be inspired by it. You can read it, share it, quote it, but you can’t change it in any ways. Our work is not for commercial use, you can’t have monetary compensation for it or present it as your own. We own all the rights. When you are using it, don’t forget to provide attribution. Giving credits is cool. So there. Generation Y – understand, win over and keep 20-somethings by Steffi Burkhart and Orsolya Nemes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCom- mercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Download your free copy by clicking on the dog