Bill Vick Makes Me Think ... about the "Collision"

The Collision: Recruiting, Technology, and Demographics (Boomers, X'ers, Millenials).

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Comment by Joshua Letourneau on May 6, 2008 at 1:37pm
Dennis, great video and good food for thought. A book I'd recommend to all is "When Generations Collide" - our current technology situation (particulary with social media) is merely a projection of a greater issue. Here is a summary:!generationscollide.html. The authors (Lancaster & Stillman) note "ClashPoints" between the different generations. The following is a great example: The below indicates the "ClashPoints" around career goals:

Traditionalist (Born 1900-1945): Build a legacy.
Baby Boomers (Born 1946-1964): Build a stellar career.
Generation Xers (Born 1965-1980): Build a portable career.
Millennials (Born 1981-1999): Build parallel careers.

Each generation has a technology adoption life cycle of sorts - I can come up with a few different drawings to illustrate if anyone would like. The issue is that Boomers are not only 'late-majority' pragmatic, they are laggards in certain ways. What blows me away about this is that Boomers weren't born that way - in fact, the Boomer gen (with my father and mother included) were the first gen to truly rebel . . . and I mean rebel in the brands they consumed, the clothes they wore, the cars they drove, etc. Brands grew exponentially, such as Levis, Mcdonald's, VW, etc. So did the notion of not accepting all politicians at face value - and music . . . wow, I can listen to Vietnam-era music all day long. CCR and Jim Morrison are timeless, as are many other bands.

Boomers set the bar for rejecting the status quo and mass consumption of all the same brands that their parents popularized with the growth of television and mass marketing . . . yet just 30 - 40 yrs later, the gen that first raised the bar is now resisting the "new" much as their own parents did!

What I would personally recommend from a recruitment perspective is an understanding that there is nothing 'wrong' with Boomers for not jumping on the technology bandwagon of late. Let's respect them for who they are, and market to them in ways that they do enjoy and appreciate. Each gen and target market is different, so let's not try to put square pegs in round holes. The truth is that there's real opportunity here for the recruiter/marketeer that embraces the differences between the generations :)

Joshua Letourneau
Mg Dir, SSF (Strategic Sourcing Framework)
LG & Assoc Search / Talent Strategy


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