by Michael Friedenberg

Generation Y

Apr 03, 20083 mins
IT Leadership

Are you ready for the next-gen workforce?

This is a true story: A friend called me the other day and shared that he had just conducted a slew of interviews to fill an open position. A number of highly qualified candidates came forward, and he moved quickly on an offer that eventually was accepted.


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Two days later, he received a call from the mother of one of the other candidates wanting to know why her child didn’t get the job. She couldn’t imagine why my friend did not want to hire her highly talented, outgoing and qualified child.

Welcome to the world of Gen Y.

Now I am not saying that all of Gen Y-ers (or their parents) have this sense of entitlement, but there’s no question that this group of young, intelligent and technology-savvy workers is going to put our managerial talent to the test.

Just last week I was discussing this story with Russ Finney, VP of IS for Tokyo Electron U.S. Holdings, and he presented a different angle. Russ has hired a number of very talented Gen Y developers. They were getting a bit frustrated that they had to develop code within the parameters of the existing environment rather than being able to use the Web and create a solution that could be done in a few weeks and basically for free.

Russ could have found a million reasons to say no; instead he set up an isolated server that would allow his developers to get what they need, producing results that serve the business while preserving the integrity of the overall environment. This enabled them to move faster and also fosters a culture that is hopefully blending the best of both worlds.

These two examples are just the tip of the iceberg of what we’ll experience as this new workforce of “digital natives” meshes with the existing workforce of “digital immigrants.” I am sure that each has lots to learn from the other. For some great advice on the topic, check out our special report.

Have you got a Gen Y story to tell? I would enjoy hearing how you are making things work within your organization. Please send me an e-mail to share your experiences.