Part 1: Nadira Hira on Generation Y
On June 7th Lumina and I attended the “Cultivating Talent” event that was put on by Building a Better Commonwealth. The event was a forum that discussed young people and how they will soon be taking leadership roles in society and in the corporate world and subsequently how to entice them to want to work for your company (specifically companies in Boston). Another hot topic was what’s wrong with Boston, that it makes it unappealing to people who leave to live and work in places like New York and California and how can we fix it.
The event began with a speaker named Nadira Hira who is an expert on Generation Y (the children of the Baby Boomer generation) as she gave her take on the generation and what they’re looking for in not just a job, but life as a whole. Nadira outlined two major things that are important to “Gen Ys”: desire and a mission. People born into this generation want to go out and live their best life; they don’t want to take a job solely for the purpose of making money, they want to enjoy what they’re doing. Nadira went on to say that when interviewing a Gen Y for a job you need to be authentic about the mission your company has. Tell them what you do and why you love to work where you do. Gen Ys will appreciate it if you’re genuinely passionate about the mission of your company.
Nadira also talked about one obstacle that this generation faces and that is their ability to communicate. Growing up in a world where it’s much easier to text someone or email them than talking to them in person has had an effect on this group’s ability to communicate well. They lack some of the basic human skills that Generation X grew up learning. Gen Ys can also have difficulty working in teams because nobody wants to take the initiative and lead. Nadira presented some statistics that were a little shocking to me: One third of Gen Ys don’t think that meetings are effective and half of Gen Ys don’t think it’s important to pay attention in meetings.
One thing that Nadira talked about that I have seen firsthand from my generation was the lack of communication skills and being ineffective in meetings. I’m a sophomore at Emerson College and I get assigned a lot of group projects. Group projects are challenging for the obvious reasons of scheduling and trying to distribute work equally but sometimes at these meetings it’s like pulling teeth just to get people to talk and share their ideas. I had one project where I would meet with my group and we would all sit around a table on our laptops either doing our own work or pretending to do our own work while we were really on Facebook. I would have to agree with the one third of my generation that a meeting like that is not effective in getting any work done. But when meetings are done right and everyone is engaged and participating I think meetings are very valuable and necessary for coming up with a good final product. But that kind of good experience only comes from a group of people who have good communication skills. Going to Emerson, where we live and breathe communication, I have been very fortunate to work with a lot of people that know how to communicate well. But out in the real world I do see this as a challenge for a lot of my generation moving forward.
Speaking from as a member of Generation Y, I really enjoyed hearing what Nadira had to say. Experts on Generation Y are usually from an older generation and I don’t always appreciate or agree with what they have to say. Since Nadira is a member of Gen Y I felt like she had a fresh and more accurate take on us as a whole. All of the things that Nadira said were important to Generation Y are important to me as I start to think about what I want my life to be like after college and what I’m looking for in a job.
Written by Alex Corrado