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FLEXO Magazine : January 2008
PLANTS & PROCESSES . - t /'\, ., , lt1ex- rÌ Letta - I ..... ,. I, ' - ------......------- 1- -- . " . ------- .. iii. II L--- _ j :;\ . .. ::. ----- - . 'II....: .." .. ..... ... .\,:. -- - ---:----- ------ .' -\ ." -,:- The V-Generation Communicating With The New Workforce By Dr. Nona Woolbright T here is a new generation just beginning to make its way into the workforce. How you approach them, as either an employer or manager, could result in either a positive experience or disappointing outcome for all concerned. For the first time, our usual three generation workforce will be work- ing side-by-side with a forth generation. This new generation is dramatically different than its predecessors. It has several names: Generation Y, Generation UWhy", Next Generation and the Millennial Generation. Regardless of what you call them, they are the group of individuals born between 1980 and 2002. During the last couple of years, I noticed the differences start to hit home in my classroom. For the first time in 17 years of teaching, I felt I wasn't reaching my students. I began to ques- tion if it was my teaching style or had the students changed? So, I did what any self-respecting college professor of graphic communication might do-I researched the question. What I found was a combination of both. This new generation has a different mindset; young people respond to information deliv- ered to them in new and different methods, means and style. UNDERSTANDING Y To understand what makes the uY-ers" so different, you first have to look back at their upbringing. They are the UBaby-On- Board" generation; they are the first child-centered generation. In previous generations, children were seen but not heard, - didn't speak unless spoken to, uowned" the television only on Saturday morning for cartoons, and were told to just go outside and play. But the Y generation had their lives structured for them since they were old enough to remember with play dates, Umommy and me" classes, soccer, and music and dance lessons. This generation needed planners almost from the day they were born. They have also been asked their opinion on everything from what the family might have for dinner (remember when Mom told you what dinner was and to eat everything on your plate) to which car the family should purchase. This has led them to the understanding that their input is valued, that they have the right to speak their mind and let you know how they feel about everything even when not asked. Another powerful difference is digital technology. It is their birthright. They have never known life without it. Every other generation has been adopters of new technology. Even if they were early adopters, they can remember life without VCRs and home computers. The effect of this upbringing during the influx of technology has changed their frame of reference. Simple things that once had common meanings for other generations don't apply to them. In the classroom, I refer to them as obscure references. Here are just a few to get you thinking that I found from vari- ous websites, trivia games and my own observations: JANUARY 2008 www.flexography.org FLEXO