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Monday, November 30, 2009

Steps Gen Y (Gamer Gen) Can Take to Understand Boomers and Gen X'ers

Here are some ideas that Gen Y employees or the Gamer Generation can use to better acclimate themselves to the workforce.

1. Seek out a boomer or X'er to serve as a mentor.

2. Mentor a co-worker who is not as comfortable with Technology.

3. Learn the hierarchical structure in your organization, respect it. Talent and skill (unfortunately) can be under cut by politics, know the landscape prior to action.

4. Learn the history (influences) of the boomer and X'er generation. Those who don't study history....

5. Create cheat sheets (job aids) for yourself, verify with your boss or co-workers.(share)

6. Be patient.

7. Ask open-ended questions to glean knowledge from your co-workers.

8. Offer to IM with a co-worker who doesn't IM or Twitter with them.

9. Set up a wiki and give lessons (in a classroom) on how to update.

10. Show a boomer or X'er how to work a gadget or how to work an obscure but valuable feature.

11. Take some time to read corporate policies and procedures, they can be enlightening and valuable.

12. Think of ways to interact with boomers & X'ers to help them understand your thinking.

13. Work to understand the thinking of boomers and X'ers, some of it really does make sense!

14. Take a different boomer or X'er to lunch every day, talk about what he or she knows—take notes.

15. Get up and visit a boomer, don’t just send an email or IM.

16. Volunteer to digitally record production operations and chunk them for quick viewing. Like a corporate YouTube.

What suggestions do yo have?
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6 comments:

gymkoof7 said...

Karl, You are right on target. As a Baby Boomer who has learned many of the 21st Century skills, I am constantly running into staff in our schools who are resistant to technology. Your statement "3. Learn the hierarchical structure in your organization, respect it. Talent and skill (unfortunately) can be under cut by politics, know the landscape prior to action." really hit home with me. The politics can be such a challenge to moving with technology use. Our students are moving at such a fast speed, I wish there was a way to get the staff caught up. Getting past their politics and resistance is such a challenge. Ginny

Karl Kapp said...

Ginny,

Thanks for your comment! You are so right, we often tend to forget the power of politics in organizations (big and small) and if we don't tune into the politics our best intentions can be dashed without a second thought.

Mark Burke said...

Thanks Karl -- I hope mirroring your post will be seen as the highest form of flattery and thanks. I'm going to use this theme as inspiration to my Monday Morning list post.

Thanks
Mark

sheldonhillyer said...

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GenXpert said...

I think it's a mistake to to advise Gen Ys to show Gen Xers how to use technology in order to get to know them better. Xers KNOW technology. Xers invented Google, Amazon.com, and are responsible for the Facebook explosion. Xers are far more like Ys than like Boomers.

Xers are the perfect mentors for Ys, because they have gone through all the same struggles with the Boomer generation.

There are some great blogs out there on Gen X. The Gen X Files, Are you there God, it's me Gen X?, and Punk Rock HR - just to name a few. It may be worth a look-see.

Karl Kapp said...

Suzanne,

Thanks for your comment. However, I think we may disagree a bit.

I view Gen X and Boomers both as Digital Immigrants. They did not grow up immersed in a technology ecosystem. They have had to work with technology from early school but were not born into it which gives a different affinity for technology.

Gen Y has never known a time without the internet or mobile computing. They don't view technology as technology, they view it as just another tool.

So while many X'ers have a certain comfort level with technology (as I do) but there can be a lot to learn by understanding the technology ecosystem that Y'ers embrace while X'ers accept. As an X'er faculty member surrounded by Y'ers I gain new knowledge of how technology is used by Y'ers all the time in ways that I would probably not consider on my own.

Thanks again for the comment.