Nearly five decades
ago, the baby boomers were the “Young Generation” whose talents
and aspirations baffled their Depression-era elders.
radio broadcasting, some smart managers grasped the baby boomers’
potential, and used it to revitalize the radio industry as a pop
culture music medium. The rest, as they say, is rock radio history.
make up the Young Generation. They are recent college grads and
20-somethings who have grown up in the new millennium, amidst
game-changing paradigms of the Web and social media. Now millennials’
talents and aspirations baffle the boomers and younger “Generation
X” radio people, whose demographic sits between these disparate age
Yet again, it is
radio’s chance to move ahead by harnessing the passions and
energies of a Young Generation.
IN YOUR WORKFORCE
Jayne Charneski says
that like boomers before them, millennials have a different approach
and attitude to work than their parents.
different expectations for the workplace — they want to do more
than just earn a paycheck and have a cool job,” said Charneski, who
will speak during the NAB Show in April about “activating the young
workforce” at radio stations. She’s a millennials analyst and
president of Jayne Charneski LLC.
different in so many ways, but a big
one is that their definition of success has changed. They want to do
good and do their small part in changing the world for the better.
Ideally, they’d do this through their job and the company they work
As was the case in
the Flower Power days, radio managers need to “bridge the
generation gap” to get the most from younger employees. Millennials
do not share the same cultural context as their bosses.
“They feel just as
perplexed by the Xers and boomers in the workplace as the Xers and
boomers feel about them,” said Charneski. “It’s so important to
bridge this gap and bring the generations together; there is just so
much potential to tap into with millennials.”
This potential is
real, yet sometimes denigrated by boomers and Xers who may view the
millennials’ attitudinal differences as laziness and pay little
heed to youthful energy and creative vigor. “Millennials are often
misunderstood, especially in the workplace,” Charneski said. Rather
than being lazy and unmotivated, “they are the most educated,
tech-savvy, creative, socially conscious, and despite the recession,
optimistic generation of workers to date,” she said.
are the people that are the future of radio,” said Charneski.
Moreover, they “will represent 50 percent of the workforce by
session will dig into useful ways to motivate millennials and to
harness their creativity for the good of radio. In doing this, she
said, attendees will be asked to consider, “How much you know about
why millennials do what they do, and how can you use this
understanding to work together more effectively with them?” she
the following insights for attendees to ponder, to prepare for
“Activating the Young Workforce at Your Radio Station.”
often viewed through the lens of their manager’s generation —
boomers or Xers,” said Charneski. “But millennials are so
different. For example, millennials grew up with parents who were
more like ‘peer-ents’ — more like peers than authority figures.
Many millennials consider their parent a best friend, and treat them
“Cut to the
workplace: The boss or manager is effectively the workplace parent,
right? So millennials expect the same dynamic with their manager as
the one they have with their parents,” Charneski said.
“In other words,
they expect to be more like friends and peers. Their Xer and boomer
managers, meanwhile, are expecting an authoritarian-like relationship
— just like the one they had with their parents. These manager feel
disrespected when millennials treat them casually and more like a
‘bro’ than a boss.”
Millennials not only
grew up being asked for their opinions, but being their parents’
tech support when it came to computer, the Web and smartphones.
“They grew up the
CIO of their household, knowing more about tech than their parents.
Now, insert them into a hierarchical structure at work where they are
the lowest man on the totem pole, so they aren’t being asked for
their opinions, and they don’t get it. And they don’t feel
valued, and they have no idea why they aren’t being utilized.”
Boomers take note:
You demanded that your elders listen to and respect your opinions
Now, it’s your turn. (Somewhere, the boomers’ retired bosses can
be heard cackling with unbridled glee.)