By Jennie Wong
The Charlotte Observer (MCT)
This week’s “Ask the Mompreneur“ features an interview with the founder and CEO of YoPro Global, a worldwide network for young professionals. Ty Richardson, Ph.D., began his career as an expert on millennials and Gen Y when he wrote his dissertation on the differences between Generation X and Generation Y’s perception of the customer service experience.
Ask the Mompreneur How do you define Gen Y or millennials? Do you us specific birth years? What do they all have in common and why?
Ty Richardson: Generation Y can be divided into two segments: Gen Y (1980-1989) and Millennials (1990-2000). This is largely driven by the fact that although a generation is 20 years, this particular generation had several events that defined their formative years and the older part of Gen Y have very different experiences than the later part due to technology and globalization that made the world a smaller place, connected people and showcased events that would not have ordinarily impacted them.
As a generation, they all share being born into an era of technology as opposed to the previous generations where technology was an option (in this generation it was required), globalization, 9/11 and involved parents who were acutely involved in every step of their children’s lives (more so the latter than the former).
Ask the Mompreneur: What advice do you have for Gen Y entrepreneurs?
Ty Richardson: Remember, the employees you hire aren’t the same as you - although Gen Y is a generation that embraces diversity and cultures, the working habits and styles of older generations can cause a challenge for Gen Y entrepreneurs. Take some time to study and learn emotional intelligence, leadership and team building.
Ask the Mompreneur: What advice do you have for people managing Gen Y employees?
Ty Richardson: Gen Y employees just emerged from what I like to call, “an incubator for life“. School was a place that they were told what to do, where to go and when to deliver - they also had the privilege of being involved in planning the family vacation, being friends with the president on Facebook and starting successful businesses at 16 years old.
They consider themselves equals and able to succeed in any environment. While they crave mentorship and advice, they believe they can give it as well as take it and both should be fair - understand that they will give unvarnished feedback, and welcome it from genuine and authentic leaders and respect you for it - treat them as equals, coach don’t manage.
Ask the Mompreneur: What advice do you have for people selling to Gen Y customers?
Ty Richardson: Gen Y customers value authenticity and genuineness. Your brand must connect with their values of integrity and being real. In the age of the internet, access is readily available. Ensure your employees know about your products and services and deliver a great experience, because a bad one will be heard by all, especially with the common use of social media.
Jennie Wong is an executive coach, author of the e-book “Ask the Mompreneur“ and the founder of the social shopping website CartCentric.com. Email her at TheJennieWonggmail.com.