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Posts Tagged ‘gen y’

Three Strategies to Better Engage Millennial Customers

August 06th, 2014

Sales-PicWith $1.5 billion in annual spending power, and being a generation 85 million strong, it’s easy to see why companies ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations care about attracting Millennials (aka: Gen Y) as customers. The eldest Millennials are now around 30 years-old…so they’re not just “clueless kids” anymore.

So for businesses to more successfully engage, attract, and develop new customer relationships, it’s important to be aware of this interesting fact shared by J. Walker Smith, Ph.D. and Ann Clurman, Co-Authors of the book, Rocking the Ages: “Generationally determined lifestyles & social values exercise as much influence on buying and purchasing as more commonly understood demographic factors like income, education, and gender do – maybe even more.”

How Millennials (aka: Gen Y), Generation X, and Baby Boomers each prefer to be engaged with is different. And it’s critical that Sellers educate themselves on these preferences as it can greatly improve the results of their sales and marketing efforts.

However, for this post, my focus is on Millennials. Not only are they the newest generation of young, adult consumers, they are the most unique. Thus, they’re worth learning about. Why? For starters, they are the largest generation the U.S. history. Plus, by 2025, 75% of the U.S. workforce is going to be comprised of Millennials.

As a result, not only will Sellers and Employers be working with them more as colleagues, but they’re going to be heavily competing for them as customers.

There are many ways to attract, engage and build brand-loyalty with this unique generation. Here’s an example of three to be aware of:

  1. They Respect Giving Back: The Millennials are the first generation required to volunteer in their communities as a High School graduation requirement. Therefore, they are wired to “support causes”, and countless studies show they are attracted and loyal to brands who share that same philosophy.
  2. Peer Recommendations Mean Everything: They are an extremely close-knit generation and value peer recommendations more than flashy marketing campaigns. As a matter of fact, research reveals they rank “peers” as their most valued source of information. The key take away? Make sure to have Millennial testimonials and imagery in marketing materials, as well as include Millennial-created content in social media efforts, to attract them.
  3. They Require (and Demand) Guidance: Although they are confident and perceive themselves as “individuals”, Millennials tend to struggle with decision-making. Remember, this is the generation raised by Helicopter Parents, and those parents tend to continue “hovering” over their Millennial kids well into adulthood. So if Sellers focus on being “Trusted Advisors” versus “salespeople” (solely focused on closing the deal), they will fare much better with Millennial customers.

Smart companies are investing a lot of time, effort, and money into learning everything they can about the Millennial mindset; both as employees AND consumers. Furthermore, Sales Teams all over the globe are learning how to better engage with them as our next generation of key decision-makers in the workforce.

 

Four Ways to Keep Your Boomer Employees from Retiring

July 15th, 2014

Recruiting, managing and retaining Gen Y employees (aka: Millennials) seems to be all the rage nowadays, but smart companies are also putting effort into retaining their Baby Boomer talent. Recent research shows that “one Boomer hits retirement age every 8 seconds” in the United States, and although not all of them CAN retire due to their financial circumstances, many of them can. Yet those who can’t retire are looking for alternatives to generating income outside of the corporate grind.

The need for Boomer retention is being felt more in technology, pharmaceutical, and engineering companies. However all industries are feeling, and will continue to feel, the pain of a serious “brain drain” as Boomers exit the workforce…taking their vast experience and knowledge with them.

So how can a company keep their Boomer talent, who have one foot out-the-door, from walking away? Here are four Boomer retention strategies to consider:

Match Them with a Younger Mentor

Some Baby Boomers feel intimidated by rapidly changing technology, and this results in their wanting to leave the workforce because they feel “antiquated”. To help this situation, many companies are implementing “reverse mentor” programs where younger employees mentor them on social media, smartphone apps, and using new technology the company has implemented. This helps those Boomers who are choosing to retire because of technological advancement from leaving because they no longer feel embarrassed about not grasping tech it quickly.

Provide Flexibility

I conduct presentations for Executive Leadership teams and Human Resources executives where they all tend to focus on Generation Y wanting flexibility. What they fail to realize (until I tell them) is that Boomers on the verge of retirement want the same thing!

Many Boomers who HAVE to continue working, or who want to continue working, choose to leave their jobs because they’d rather try being self-employed, or take a job somewhere else that embraces flexibility, so they have more control over their schedules. More and more companies recognize this and are launching flex-time, part-time, consulting positions, remote working options, etc.

Sure, much of that started due to Millennials demanding it, but companies quickly see it is helping keep their Boomer talent longer, too.

Give Them a Second Career Choice

Many Boomers want to leave because they’re burnt out on what they’ve done professionally for (possibly) 30+ years. As a result, many employers are offering job training options so their Boomer talent can learn a new skill set, oftentimes in a totally different department. Research is showing that this “career customization and training” strategy can reignite their enthusiasm and excitement, resulting in their desire to stick around a lot longer.

Eliminate Generic Rewards Programs

It has been proven time and time again that the one-size-fits-all rewards and recognition programs DO NOT work. Everyone is different, and what motivates them is different. What a 60 year-old employee wants is normally different from what a 25 year-old wants.

Encourage front-line Managers to find out WHAT each of their employees want, and allow them to act accordingly (within reason, of course!). Customized employee incentive have been proven to work… across all generations!

Starting from now through the next 20 years, companies cannot afford to lose their top talent. We are entering an employee-driven job market again, after it being an EMPLOYER-driven market for quite a few years. So it’s time for companies to take employee retention, across the generations, very seriously.

Stress at Work is the New Health Epidemic Amongst Generations

December 11th, 2013

Hi All!

Dubbed the “health epidemic of the 21st century” by the World Health Organization, stress at work is increasingly being seen as a costly issue, thus stress management is becoming one of the most important challenges for employers across the globe. And employees, from all generations, are struggling due to stress. In the U.S. alone, 3 out of 4 workers describe their work as stressful!

A few of the key factors that cause stress for employees include: Firings, cost-cutting, business readjustments, working in an uncomfortable environment, unclear supervision, trouble with the boss, changes in financial status, altered responsibilities, variations in work hours, changed work conditions and office procedures, and transitioning to a different line of work.

However, work-family conflicts are increasingly common, especially with the growing issue of Baby Boomers being “caught in the middle” as The Sandwich Generation. They are now not only caring for their own Gen Y (aka: Millennial) children but also having to be caregivers for their elderly Veteran Generation parents…all while having to maintain a full-time job in the workforce!

The financial, emotional, and physical stress of this dilemma on the Boomers is staggering, and it’s going to continue to grow in severity. So employers are going to have to manage and support it…quickly.

Smart companies are addressing stress in the workplace because it makes good business sense; employee stress-related issues are costing employers around the globe a fortune. Here’s just a few fast facts (out of many on this topic) to illustrate this:

  1. According to a study in the UK, 20% of employees experience work-related distress on an average day, which amounts to 40% of sick days.
  2. On average, American businesses suffer annual losses worth $300 billion, with each employee contributing $2,000 to the losses, in lower productivity, absenteeism, staff turnover, medical insurance, workers compensation, among other stress-related expenses.
  3. 60% of lost workdays each year are attributed to stress.
  4. Only 29% of employees are able to operate at peak productivity levels due to stress.

Based on those stats, it is crucial for employers to take earnest steps to deal with the problem and help employees cope with occupational stress.

Organizations looking to compete in a volatile marketplace are proactively making efforts to address the issue seriously. Examples include:

  • Analyzing the situation to find the root cause of the workforce stress and developing solutions to reduce the issue, such as: educating employees on work life balance, offering telecommuting opportunities, and providing flexible work weeks.
  • Leveraging employee assistance programs, which may include individual counseling, interpersonal skill development, team building, and organizational consulting on change management.
  • Encouraging employees to take responsibility for their health and motivating and supporting them to do so.
  • Requiring staff to do self-assessments in order to find out how they are feeling and asking them to identify factors they think might be contributing to pressure or stress. By getting feedback from staff and responding with a customized plan for each person can be very effective.
  • Taking steps to improve the company’s marketing approach to raise managers’ awareness of the employee benefit programs, such as: online wellness workshops, employee assistance programs, online seminars on issues of workplace stress, and mindfulness training.
  • Communicating regularly with employees to reduce uncertainty in their minds about job security. An employer, and its Leadership and Management Team, should ensure that communication with employees is friendly, motivating, and supportive, giving an equal opportunity to the latter to make themselves heard. It is the employer’s responsibility to show employees that they are valued to the organization. Rewarding workers is a good way to recognize their performance and reinforces their sense of worth to the company.
  • Reducing environmental stress, such as uplifting the workplace by improving air flow, natural lighting, reducing noise pollution, and providing quiet rooms for rejuvenation, can also help improve employee focus and attention, thus reducing their occupational stress.

By focusing on individual stress management and organizational change, businesses can produce more productive, healthier, happier, and motivated employees. But employers have to make it a priority and foster a corporate culture that truly embraces health and wellness in their workplace…not just “say” they do!

Six Popular and Helpful Apps for Baby Boomers

April 23rd, 2013

Hi All!

I have a ritual before getting on a morning flight…I buy an Orange-Orange Vitamin Water and a USA Today. It has become a superstitious-based ritual for me now so I never miss doing it. But that’s not the point of this post.

On a recent morning flight after the doors closed and electronic devices were asked to be turned off, I began to read my USA Today and came across an interesting article I wanted to share with you.

It was entitled, “Golden Apps for a Golden Age”, written by Lynn Allison. She shared ten apps, many of which are free, that were created for Boomers and/or that Boomers find helpful.

Here are six that I wanted to pass along. You can research them to get all the details; I’m just giving you the quick descriptions to get the gist of each:

  1. EyeReader: This is an app for the iPhone that magnifies text and offers extra light making your screen easier to read.
  2. Grocery IQ: This free app enables you to create a budget-focused shopping list by scanning the bar code on any product.
  3. Lumosity: Tons of brain teaser games to improve cognitive function.
  4. Kahnoodle: This was created to help improve your love life by offering cute and clever tips to couples who need to spice things up a bit.
  5. MyFitnessPal: A very hot app that helps users take control of their weight loss and fitness plans.
  6. Find My Car: Using your phone’s GPS, this app enables you to find your car, take notes and pictures of where you parked it, etc.

And for any of you Gen X or Gen Y readers out there, be sure to share this info with your parents or the “older” generations at work. They’ll thank you for it!

Bye for now…

Lisa

Challenges That Faculty Face with Today’s College Students

January 13th, 2013

Hi All!

I’ve been researching today’s College Students a lot recently due to a few key factors:

1. I know a lot of College Professors and Faculty from a wide variety of educational institutions who constantly complain about “how different” their students are these days versus previous generations. I even hear from younger professors, in their early-mid 30’s, who express this opinion, too, so it’s not JUST coming from Boomer and Veteran generation faculty who have been teaching for 25+ years!

2. I’m getting a lot of speaking invitations from educational institutions (i.e. colleges, universities, and vocational schools) to speak to their faculty about how to better communicate with, and educate, their students. I wouldn’t be getting these invitations if this issue wasn’t “real”.

And I can tell you that regardless of the “type” of school they are from, OR the types of subjects they are teaching, OR the student population they serve, the educators I talk to all share the same frustrations and challenges with the students they teach today.

Here are just a few examples of the common ones I hear (and what I focus on in my presentations to help the educators overcome): Students today are lazy; they need to be told “how” to learn; they show up late for class and want to leave early; they show disregard for homework deadlines and exam dates; their parents call on behalf of their adult child with questions or complaints; Etc…

It’s based on this growing “issue” regarding Millennial (aka: Gen Y) students that I decided to blog about this topic today. I don’t plan to provide answers to the challenges mentioned above in this post; I’m simply bringing this interesting issue to light because I typically write about Millennials from an “employee” angle versus a student angle.

To shed more light on this, I recommend that you read this book: “Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today’s College Student,” written by Dr. Arthur Levine with Diane R. Dean. It covers 2006 to 2011, and distills information from surveys and interviews with both undergraduates and student-affairs officials at 31 campuses nationwide. Dr. Levine is the president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and former president of Teachers College at Columbia University.

Here’s a brief overview about the book and the information it provides:

An understanding of today’s undergraduate college students is vital to the effectiveness of our nation’s colleges and universities. As Generation on a Tightrope clearly reveals, today’s students need a very different education than the undergraduates who came before them: an education for the 21st Century, which colleges and universities are so far ill-equipped to offer and which will require major changes of them to provide. Examining college student expectations, aspirations, academics, attitudes, values, beliefs, social life, and politics, this book paints an accurate portrait of today’s students. Timely and comprehensive, this volume offers educators, researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and employers, guidance and a much-needed grasp of the forces shaping the experiences of current undergraduates. The book:

  • Is based on completely new research of 5,000 college students and student affairs practitioners from 270 diverse college campuses
  • Explores the similarities and differences between today’s generation of students and previous generations

So whether you’re an educator or an employer, books such as that could be one more tool to help you better understand this new generation you face. And for employers, this could also give you insights for better managing, recruiting and retaining this much-needed generation at work.

I can honestly say they truly are different from previous generations…I’ve been writing, consulting and speaking about Millennials for over 6 years as an expert, as well as conducting Leadership and Personal Branding workshops for Millennial employees and students, so I know them well.

Bye for now!

Lisa

 

 

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