6.3 Generation Y and the senior employee


    During a meeting with the Seats2meet.com team, I asked one of our employees, Lukie, “Can you fetch the flip-chart? I want to draw something.” Lukie is very smart. This is how she describes herself on her web-profile: “I got my bachelor’s in Liberal Arts & Sciences and majored in New Media. During my studies at the University of Utrecht, I researched new media, games and digital culture. I also invented and implemented an open-source cross-media concept.”
    She is brilliant! Yet, after my request, she looked at me quizzically and a bit uncertainly. I asked her, “Do you know what a flip-chart is?” “No,” she replied timidly.“

    Voilá: the generation Y employees. They are the precursors of the M, S, and Z generations, are in their 20s, and have just entered the job market. They know everything about cross-media, social media, co-creation, crowd sourcing, and user generated content. And they know about augmented reality, embedding, and MMORPGs as well. They have a significant Internet presence. They do not automatically think of money when they talk about value. Transparency and sharing knowledge are second nature to them. But, they do not know what a flip-chart is. The people of Generation Y are looking for a learning and work environment that connects to the way of communicating they have been cultivating privately for years.

    On the opposite end, we find the older generation.

    Dealing with the sharp rise in the aging population properly is an important issue in manufacturing organizations. Industries that literally need hands to create value will face almost insurmountable demographic problems. We have to cherish these senior employees. BMW has taken the first steps in their plant in Dingolfing. They realized the age of the population is increasing in Bavaria, as well. The average age is rising from 39 years to 47 years. Since 2007, they’ve been reorganizing their product lines with their employees’ concerns in mind. Over 70 small, ergonomic adjustments were made: a wooden floor instead of a concrete one prevents joint issues in the legs; flexible magnifying glasses prevent eye strain, tired eyes, and subsequently, mistakes; a small crane as a lifting tool; relaxation chairs at the workstations; and, strict work diversity to keep production up. A €40,000 investment resulted in a 7% rise in productivity, a reduction of absenteeism by 50%, and a diminishment of errors to 0%.

    Or, do you think all these employees will be replaced by robots? Or, will we built fewer cars, due to all collaborative car sharing programs in the interdependent economy? Or, should we just print our cars at home?