by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Agrimarketing : April 2009
Sales and Marketing Insights from Purdue University LEADINGNEWCOLLEGEHIRES W by Dr.W. Scott Downey hen Iwas a kid,we used to talk about the “Information Age” as some futuristic set- tingwith flying cars and Spacely Sprocketmeal pills.While neither of these innovations are beingmass produced (yet?), technology and society have shaped the employees being hired fromcollege campuses today.What you call them(Gen-Y, Millennials orNext-Gen) and the year theywere born (sometime in the ’80s and ’90s) are unimportant. Agri-marketers should understand howthese newhires differ fromtheir predecessors. DESIRE FOR EXPERIENCE Mobility and telecommunications redefined howthis generation inter- actswith others and accesses infor- mation. These newhires select their membership inmultiple “communi- ties” and easily communicatewith groups that aren’t constrained by location or physical presence. Today’s hires understand that knowledge is no replacement for experience.With the Internet, they no longer need a boss to get answers —any answerworth having is avail- able 24/7, for free. Consequently, theymay become frustratedwith tasks that focus on “teaching” them, instead of providing experiences that allowthemto develop quickly in their positions. Managers sometimesmisinter- pret the desire for experience as Upcoming Agribusiness SEMINARS SalesManagement and Leadership May 28-29, 2009 Precision Selling June 11-12, 2009 Learn more at www.agecon.purdue.edu/cab Center for Food and Agricultural Business unwillingness to “pay their dues.” Often, it’s themanagerwho hasn’t carefully considered an assignment’s objective. Companieswill have an advantage if they offer electronic knowledge accessibility and focus on making newhires productive quickly through experiences. STRIVING FOR SUCCESS Instead ofwaiting patiently for an annual review, today’s hireswill expect “bosses” to help them develop project-by-projectwith guidance and feedback, not just monitoring and judgment. They want to knowwhat it takes to be suc- cessful and don’tmind being held to that standard. They are alsomore likely to value diverse opinions and expect interac- tionwith peers. These hireswill frown on organizations that don’twalk the talkwhen it comes to tolerance of race, gender and sexual orientation. Their quick communication and access to knowledge allows themto accomplish tasks at an unimaginable pace.Managerswho think this gen- erationwhines about feedback, or spends all their time online, or are too “citified,”maymisunderstand the capabilities this group brings with their access to networks and desire to succeed. LEARNING FROMEXPERIENCE Work and family for this generation tend to be defined by personal choice rather than institutions, like marriage and employment, as they have observed inconsistent relation- ships in both areas. These hiresmay notwish to be constrained by traditionalworking hours, but alsomay bemore cognizant of their need forwork-life balance. Managerswho developed in their careers at a timewhen employees were expected to do as theywere told may interpret resistance (these hires give feedback as easily as they take it) among this group as a lack of commit- ment or unwillingness towork hard. This is generally not the case, as shown in a recent survey of undergraduate students at Purdue University (see charts). The number of hours they expect towork each week and the years they expect to stay in their first jobs reflect positive attitudes on bothmeasures. Most goodmanagers understand that commitment and flexibility are two-way streets. These newhires represent some of themost talented, best educated, best networked andmost practicalworkers ever to hit the countryside. In the end, ifwe lever their abilities,we (old guys) may havemore to learn fromthem than the otherway around! AM W. Scott Downey (downeyws@ purdue.edu) is Associate Director of the Center for Food and Agricul- tural Business at Purdue University. April 2009 s Agri Marketing 31
May 2009 Supplement