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Gen X: The Bridge to Gen Y

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There’s much speculation and conversation these days about Gen Y (or the millennial generation). Who understands them, how do they work, what makes them tick, and how do managers manage them? Much of the conversation is centered around the basic idea that this generation is fundamentally different and that “we” don’t get them yet. While I’d argue that Gen Y’ers are not fundamentally different, there is an argument to be made that each new generation causes the prior generations some distress. Each generation seems to go through the same growing pains, has different learnings to use, different technology at their hands, but these factors probably have existed since the dawn of work. The effect may simply be increasing over time as changes accelerate, causing us more visible angst than deserved to be noticed before.

I’d hypothesize that the figuring out should not be left to those senior leaders that belong to the exiting generation of workers. Instead, those closest to Gen Y, and indeed Gen Y itself is really the most capable of understanding how to create meaning and generating effectiveness from them. It’s not simply age that matters here, but that the immediately prior generation was socialized and has gone through the same world experiences with similar vantage points. Their role models had large amounts of overlap, their education and utilization of new technologies was “close enough” as was their ability to assimilate those new technologies.

Gen X has the luxury of being slightly more experienced in the work arena. As such, Gen X seems to be the logical bridge. In Gen Y’s search for meaning in their lives and in the workplace, and in their search for a place to fit into this “old” world of work and incorporation, Gen X has the ability and the capacity to be their guide. This is one of those places where the Gen X’ers can step up to the place and show their leadership potential. However, it’s also an area where HR must get involved deeply.

HR’s ability to provide programming to formally or informally assist Gen X’ers with getting involved with Gen Y, and HR’s ability to ensure that senior talent transfers their competencies to Gen X are critical here. Not only is this a mentorship and learning program between Gen X and Gen Y, but also the same for senior leaders and Gen X.

We can stop asking how we get Gen Y engaged. Leave that up to Gen X. At the same time we can stop asking if Gen X is ready. Asking is not action. It’s our jobs in HR to make sure they are ready. Let’s do our job.

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3 responses to “Gen X: The Bridge to Gen Y”

  1. the same time we can stop asking if Gen X is ready. Asking is not action. It’s our jobs in HR to make sure they are ready. Let’s do our job. Thank you for reading the Tribute Media Human Resources News Feed. Please check the original post here:systematicHR – Human Resources Strategy and Technology. The purpose of this feed it to provide information to the greatest audience possible. In addition, we can drive inbound links to your blog. If you would like to have your blog featured or removed from here or in any of our other newsfeeds, please

  2. Original post:Gen X: The Bridge to Gen Yby at Google Blog Search: technology Blog tag: Technology Technorati tag: Technology

  3. In previous posts I talk about team building as a workplace enhancement that appeals especially to Generation X/Y.?? A posting at theSystematicHR bloggives an interesting perspective on how to engage generation Y workers.?? Engaging the new generation of workers is all part of building a strong team at your organization.