Monday, May 01, 2006

TLA Conference Notes: Day 1, Contributed Paper on X and Y Generations

Title of paper: "X over Y: Managing the Millenial Generation."
Presenter: Catherine Essinger, University of Houston Art and Architecture Library

This paper was pretty much a list of generalizations with a few management tips thrown in. In my view, it was very much on the light side, especially given some of the recent articles I have been reading on X and Y (see an examples here and here), not to mention how it has been on the biblioblogosphere. It was still interesting, but I think I could have likely passed it up since much of this is nothing new (to me at least).
  • Millenials tend to wait longer to find employment.
  • They tend to be idealistic. Many are very active in volunteering and have a strong sense of social progress. Managers can motivate them by integrating these tendencies into the workplace. Make the employees feel that their work has meaning.
  • Millenials tend to be social. Access to various social tolls (MySpace, etc.). Supervisor can set rules about using these tools at work (or not), but they need to be consistent and make sure there are no double standards. Also, in the library, zoning may work. This is the idea of creating quiet zones and more social zones. As a generation, Millenials tend to be very cooperative.
  • They tend to be ambitious. Managers should offer projects that provide for leadership skills and communicate appreciation. However, this ambition can lead the Millenials to seek various jobs in search of new and better opportunities and challenges.
  • Millenials tend to be very literal. Do use concrete examples in managing.
  • They tend to be very regimented. This is largely due to the fact that they have had overscheduling from parents, and they were rarely allowed to have leisure or just "free" time. Thus they are used to structure and lots of activity. In managing, you can use lists, guides, and so on. Scheduling does need to be flexible. An example is to let the workers work out their own schedule. Just tell them shifts that need covered and very often they come up with something better.
  • Overall, you should empower these workers to help you.

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