Michele Steyl
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Connection Y – Generational diversity in the workplace

Connection Y – Generational diversity in the workplace

Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I don’t claim that all Millennials are the same, but we definitely have some characteristics you might recognise. I am connected and this matters. That’s right, connected. You may be connected, too, but before my eyes are fully open in the morning, I’m scrolling through my iPhone. As soon as my brain can connect with my fingers, I’m responding. My brain is calculating whether the bandwidth eaten up from the downloads last night allowed all of my latest shows, songs and apps from every corner of the world to come through so I can unplug, watch, listen and share on my commute to work. And all of this merges seamlessly into my fast, witty, fragmented conversation with my Gen Y colleagues in the morning. My laptop warms up and it’s not long before it’s cluttered with scraps of data from more sources imaginable. And, when my ‘not Gen Y’ colleagues have a question, or need me to jump onto a task, my initial thoughts may not seem as perfectly ‘corporate’ as some would like. And then a funny thing happens, they come back and often you hear, “Hey, can you take that, and maybe do this or that, and then this?”… and, all of a sudden, you realise you’ve just created that spark and helped to create something awesome.

How companies can benefit from Gen Yers

Gen Y - Quote Michele SteylNaturally, as a ‘Gen Yer’, I have a slightly biased stance on the importance of this generation for employers. At this point though, it’s not a matter of preparing for my generation in organisations. It’s become a matter of integration and, more importantly, engagement, and I don’t think the importance of integrating and engaging us stems from the need for conformity; it’s becoming a matter of organisational performance. What do I mean? I believe organisations need us in order to win. Let’s face it, the demographics are changing rapidly and my generation is in a hurry to make a difference. We not only want to learn from the generations currently at the helm of corporations, but we also want to actively play a role in making the organisation a success. We want to matter and we are willing to go the distance to win! Okay, so you get the premise. Have you heard some of this before? Well, let me explain how Gen Y fits into the adidas Group from my point of view and how we make a difference.

We can make a difference!

As an entrepreneurial group, we look for employers who will help us to come up with innovative solutions that will truly make a difference, and Route 2015 proves to be the perfect platform. The adidas Group has ambitious objectives set out in the long-term strategic business plan, Route 2015. As sociable team players, we’re naturally gifted in building networks and key relationships and so, in the coming years, we will help the Group grow particularly in the recruiting, branding and retail arenas.

However, more importantly, the organisation aims to achieve its Route 2015 goals by putting the consumer at the heart of everything we do. And who better to give insight and connect to our consumers than Gen Y? As most of us purchase products from the numerous adidas Group brands and fall under ‘our target consumer’, we will prove to be extremely valuable in the years leading up to 2015. So, whether it is as a soundboard or giving feedback or coming up with something new – from my point of view, we understand the combination of the business and consumer better than any other generation in the organisation. Thus, having the same mind-set as our target consumers and having the desire to make a valuable change will prove to be a winning combination that can only lead to pioneering and techno-savvy ideas and solutions. According to my personal predictions, the ‘Gen Yers’ will be the secret weapon to the adidas Group’s win in 2015!

Some employers might see us as a bit crazy; others might see us as all-over-the-place. But if they take the time to understand us and use what we have to offer, the organisation will achieve great things in the future. The adidas Group has not only made the effort to get what we’re all about but has taken great initiatives to help the Gen Y integrate and use their best attributes to the organisation’s advantage.

In the follow-up story, I will be talking to two Millennials about how they experience working at the adidas Group.

 

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  1. I’m fortunate enough to work with the Gen Y’er who wrote this. And I can assure you she is right…she will achieve great things, as will many of the Gen Y’ers in our organization. They are bright, spirited individuals that when given the right direction, and then set free, will definitely create big wins for our team! Thanks for a great article Michele!

  2. Gen Y isn’t just an age group – it’s a state of mind. And the best thing is, it’s contagious. I have also had the pleasure of working with Michelle, and her insights and speed of thought are immense,,,and are helping to shape the way I work daily!!

  3. Thank you for this very informative article.
    Organizations realize that it’s important to offer diversity training to help educate their employees and managers on how to avoid behaviors that harass and discriminate even as you help them recognize how everyone benefits from a diverse, dynamic workforce.