Josh Brown’s August column on Generation Y has generated a healthy amount of responses.

Generation Y

Editor’s note: Josh Brown’s August column on Generation Y has generated a healthy amount of responses. Here’s a sampling. We’ll share more next month.

Josh: Since you are Generation Y, I didn’t know if I should email or call you. First off, I loved your article. We recruit for the kitchen and bath industry on the decorative side. This article hit home for us in so many areas.

Lynn Kirchgatter, Owner
Keercutter & Associates
Saint Ansgar, Iowa

Working directly with ASA’s Young Executives Division, I was very interested to read Joshua Brown’s column, “Understanding the Future,” in the August 2012 issue of Supply House Times. I found several of his observations rather disconcerting, i.e. the inability of Generation Y’ers to make a professional phone call as well as their preference to deal with conflict via email/text. Further, it would seem to me that the use of technology, at one time or another, as a scapegoat for not addressing or resolving conflict has become more commonplace. It pains me to think whether this behavior will become more pervasive – even acceptable – as we move toward the future.  Ours, like so many others, continues to be a relationship-based industry. After reading Joshua’s column, I am left wondering if many of these valuable industry relationships are in jeopardy of being lost from one generation to the next.

More specifically, I am left with the question as to why an employer would want to hire someone from Generation Y over someone from Generation X. Joshua makes the points that Gen Y’ers not only lack grammar skills and professionalism but also are highly susceptible to making mistakes because of doing things too quickly. Perhaps their multitasking actually does more to hinder productivity if they are prone to doing too many things too quickly. Can Gen Y’ers truly handle more than one task at a time? Why does it fall to employers to teach, rather than to reinforce and cultivate these skills for the first time?  Does it not fall upon our education system to retool to respond and prepare one generation after the next to enter the workforce and be more productive members of society? There is a lot to be said for instilling professionalism in the future generations of the workforce.

An appreciation for working hard and working smart as well as for the art of person-to-person and face-to-face communication goes a long way to resolving conflict and strengthening partnerships more efficiently. I think it is incumbent upon employers to further instill (rather than be the first to instill) these characteristics in their valued employees who will ultimately carry the batons that are their businesses for another generation. The networking opportunities that different associations and industry groups provide nationally and locally are tremendous tools at everyone’s disposal, and the appropriate use of technology can be very effective in helping to maintain and cultivate genuine relationships.  

Chris Murin
Executive Director – American Supply Association
Itasca, Ill.