Alexis Madrigal thinks our modern entrepreneurial climate has a problem: we’re not solving big problems anymore. The startup boom in the late 90s gave birth to revolutionary mobile devices. Now, the best we can do is Facebook.
The Fun Theory (a Volkswagen Initiative) argues, “fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better”. They held a competition for people who had fun ways of encouraging good behaviour. For example: a ‘bottle bank arcade’ to encourage recycling, ‘piano stairs’ to encourage exercise, ‘the world’s deepest bin’ to encourage people to properly dispose of litter and ‘The Speed Camera Lottery’
The theory is obviously a bit of fun and good marketing but it did have impressive results. For example, the Speed Camera Lottery ‘game’ reduced the average speed of cars on that road by 22% and the piano stairs meant that 66% more people than normal took the stairs over the escalator. This gamification of everyday things seems to ‘nudge’ people’s behaviour in profound and measurable ways. This begs the question, how far can you nudge people and in what ways?
The Fun Theory: that “fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better” seems to have some solid foundations and is becoming more widely accepted and made use of. Gamification seems set to be a common feature in our lives and one that may make our lives much more fun.
Yesterday I read an article on Nextness about Emily Birks who is a Senior Account Manager at Pulse Communications, Ogilvy PR. Last week she participated in PRIA’s My Generation event as the representative for Gen Y in a panel discussion about how to can close the gap between bosses and the employees. Here are her findings:
There are 4.5 million of us born between 1978 and 1994 and we are dominating the emerging workforce. And PR is one of the industries where it’s even harder to escape us. To put it in perspective, 76 percent of Ogilvy PR’s current employees are Gen Ys.
We are the most labelled generation ever and the discussion kicked-off with a few of those labels being thrown around. The bosses described us as selfish and always thinking ‘what’s in it for me’, only caring about more money and job titles, and not being able to listen as we are constantly checking our phones or updating our statuses.
But in order to close the gap between bosses and employees you can’t label us with one big brushstroke.
Gen Y spans almost 20 years so it’s not sensible to consider this a target audience. Bosses should acknowledge life stages, career stages, professional needs, socio-economic differences when trying to motivate staff.
As employees we have a desire for customisation which I don’t think is unique to our generation. People of all ages want to know they can walk into a new job and carve out their own opportunities if they do well and are loyal to the company. It’s more about understanding expectations.
What ‘shiny’ things beyond salary attract us to a new job or keep us satisfied in a current one?
According to 2011 McCrindle Research one of the top priorities for Gen Ys when looking for an employer is a “great culture”. And I agree with this. We come to work at least 40 hours a week so it’s important that we enjoy being here each day and I think the people we work with play a huge role in that. All the Gen Ys in the room acknowledge the importance of great mentors in keeping us satisfied in a job.
Training also came out as being important to us.
We like to feel like it is a mutually beneficial relationship, Gen Y want something back and training and development shows that the agency is willing to invest in us. I know I always walk out of a great training session feeling reinvigorated and and grateful that I work for an agency that offers inspiring training.
Loyalty and Generation Y.
According to McCrindle Research on average Gen Ys spend two years with an employer versus the national average of four years. The bosses asked us what keeps us loyal to an agency. As we tend to get bored easily it’s important to be presented with new challenges and we need to be able to see a future for ourselves at the company. Being rewarded for being loyal doesn’t hurt either. I just had my three year anniversary at Ogilvy PR and being rewarded with three extra days of Loyalty Leave is a nice little perk. It makes a difference.
As a generation we might be labelled more than past generations. But at the end of the day the same fundamentals of great management and leadership remain.
Yours representing Generation Y,