How many of you have seen notices for workshops on “understanding Millennials” or “generational divides” in the workplace? They appear in my in-box on a regular basis. While I believe there is great merit in understanding differences that may exist in various age categories, I think these constructs may be the wrong focus. Instead, perhaps we should seek a common language that promotes communication, teamwork, networking, and innovation across age and other perceived boundaries. But how would we do that? I have not seen THAT webinar offered yet!
The founder and CEO of Hootsuite, Ryan Holmes, said, “the concept of millennials is just too limiting.” Instead, he proposes that we forget age and generational differences. He recommends we consider the concept of “Generation-C” – an idea that includes people of all ages, socioeconomic status levels, rural/urban locales, and other normally divisive categories. The idea of Generation-C is that of a common language that promotes communication, teamwork, and innovation across these real and perceived boundaries.
Generation-C is a mindset. It refers to everything from collaboration to community to computerized and/or content. And they are not just consuming content; they are creating and curating it. The most fundamental component is “connectivity.” Holmes says they “move seamlessly from laptop to tablet to smartphone,” staying connected in all aspects.
These are people you want to be around. They are connecting and helping the rest of us learn the latest and best approaches to expanding our work. Do you know someone who is a Generation-C worker? You want to be around them, don’t you?!
Jamie Seger, Program Director, OSU Extension Education Technology (and self-confessed millennial), and her co-worker Danae Wolfe have been advocating this approach for years. They work to bridge our four Extension program areas by engaging people (of all generations) across technology platforms, processes, and networks. (In the photo to the left, Jamie is seen teaching “best online practices” at a recent conference on campus. She’s not targeting millennials. She’s connecting everyone!)
Perhaps adopting this mindset or approach to our work could unite and expand our efforts, reaching (and positively impacting) even more citizens across the state and nation. Give Generation-C a try. Anyone can join in. Don’t be left behind.
Move Over, Millennials: 5 Things You Need to Know About Generation C
Brian Raison is an Assistant Professor and Extension Field Specialist for Community & Organizational Leadership Development.