Turning Restless GenX and GenY Professionals Into Your Brand Ambassadors

Young GenX and GenY professionals have a different mindset about work.  Baby Boomers worked long hours to reach the pinnacle of their careers.  Their parents were products of the conservative 50s.  Their grandparents were depression-era babies with the narrow goal of making do.  So what do today’s young people want?

They want to contribute to making a better world and value work-life balance.  Their personalities are tied to their PDAs and they feel they can work from anywhere.  The old notion of “face time” in the office is a goner.

So how do employers recognize these differences and turn them into benefits for the company and employees?  Paladino and Company. (yes, owned by my two terrific nephews) has established a Global Green Ambassador Program to create excitement within the firm while aligning with its brand as one of the country’s leading green building and sustainability consulting firms.

The Program provides cash and matching grants to employees who volunteer their time to help people in need, and to work towards a sustainable planet.  Within the giving program is a new initiative, the Outbound Ambassadorship Grant, that enables one employee each year to take a one-month sabbatical at half-pay, with travel and housing expenses paid, to pursue a project that contributes to a sustainable environment.  Individuals will submit proposals for their projects. The entire company gets involved because each project is peer reviewed.  The peer review panel chooses the winner.  The Program empowers employees to be brand ambassadors for the firm as they are doing good.

It’s a win-win for everyone.  The company is responding to young people’s need for new challenges.  Employees compete for the honor to be the Ambassador, yet there is teamwork involved in choosing projects, evaluating and discussing them.  The process also sparks new ideas the company can use.

So, what is your company doing to keep your young professionals engaged and excited to be working there?

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  1. This is a great idea, but I am compelled to quibble…as a late Baby Boomer myself, it was our parents who were products of the Depression, not our grandparents. Our parents were by and large born in or were young children during the Depression. They had us in the 1950s (late 40s through the mid-1960s). So, they were the products of a Depression-era childhood, followed by a world war, which deeply colored their outlook and bred a risk aversion and a conformity that we, their children, rebelled against at varying levels. We, understandably, wanted more, and wanted to break out from what were very strict confines. And, we were willing to work like dogs to get there.

  2. I am in the office of Diversity with BlueCross and BlueShield of FL. We have various Employee Resource Groups (ERG) here. One is our Gen Y ERG. They feel empowered because they see their suggestions being considered by interaction, dialogue and behavior transformation.
    They don’t get everything they suggest, however they have made postive impact to our business with an internal social network for speedier responses and speed mentoring sessions which give all levels an opportunity to interact with executives.