Don’t mess with my powder, dude!

My colleague David Gordon passed along a nice little reminder from “futurist” Jim Carroll (who I knew better when he was just a technology freelance journalist) about today’s challenges of hiring and keeping young talent. Jim wrote the piece, Don’t Mess with my Powder, Dude!, as a forward to the book The Rise of the Project WorkForce: Managing People and Projects in a Flat World by Rudolf Melik.

Carroll’s interesting forward got me to thinking about my own experience now dealing with what I call Generation Next, both as employees in the workplace and as a target audience for marketers. (Side note: The Pew Research Centre also used the Generation Next phrase in a recent report on how young people view their lives, future and politics).

Gen N are largely multitaskers with short attention spans (hence the preference for project work) who would prefer to work in groups collaboratively than alone independently. They want and expect more professional development and challenges sooner, often have higher impressions of their value to an organization and their expectations for compensation, advancement and recognition. Adapt to their perceptions and attitudes or suffer the consequences of attracting and retaining employees.

Now, intersect that with how Gen N respond as consumers, particularly in how they live and share their lives online. Their expectations are higher for the quality of content, the intelligence of the contact that is made with them, the way they like to collaborate and share information and how they are most influenced for purchase considerations and purchase decisions. It’s no wonder online communications and social media will be the most important vehicle (if that’s even the right term) to reach Gen N, influence them and create value and brand loyalty for whatever product service or cause marketers are promoting.

How do you address Gen N as employees and as consumers?

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