How to Figure Out Gen Y
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Babies born in the '80s and early '90s are the biggest generation since the Baby Boomers. And Gen Y—aka Millennials—will force associations to change. We asked XYZ University CEO Sarah Sladek, author of Knowing Y: Engage the Next Generation Now, what to expect. She says it’s a generation that’s always thinking about ROI. Associations will need to highlight the results members will get. They’ll need to show appreciation and reach out to them more than they've had to in the past.
Gen Y—raised with innovation, technology, and instant gratification—has never known a world that runs on tradition, processes, and linear thinking, says Sarah. It’s a generation made up of fluid thinkers who adapt to change. So Millennials may be turned off by associations that tell them they have to be members for at least 20 years before they can be on the board. Associations will also see membership cycles change, she says. Gen Y will have multiple jobs and careers and not stay as members of an association for the long term.
Gen Y, much like their Baby Boomer parents, are collaborative workers, Sarah says. So they don’t believe that the people with the most experience should have all the power; they’ll want an immediate seat at the table. Some organizations, such as The New York State Trial Lawyers Association and the American Sports College of Sports Medicine, are engaging younger generations and changing their models to be relevant to them.