Research from over 200 global PR agencies by the University of Oregon shows interesting conclusions that Middle East agencies should take heed of. The Millennials (or Gen Y, Generation Me, The Net Generation, or Echo Boomers) can broadly be defined as those between the ages of 12 and 28 years – in short the younger members of our agency teams.

Gen Y is the most wanted & coddled generation in history. Howe & Strauss (authors known for their theories about a recurrent cycle of generations) summed Gen Y’s up neatly, “they are more numerous, more affluent, better educated, and more ethnically diverse. More important, they are beginning to manifest a wide array of positive social habits that older Americans no longer associate with youth, including a new focus on teamwork, achievement, modesty, and good conduct”.

Why are they like this? Most commonly brought up by helicopter parents (remaining closely overhead, rarely out of reach, whether their children need them or not) with both parents working and more disposable income than previous generations, Gen Y has often been branded as having attention spans less than a goldfish and only being able to absorb information in very short chunks.

Having grown up with the Internet, it's also the first generation that's completely comfortable with technology. And their childhood passion for computer games means they like clear objectives, with a start and an accomplishable goal (games end), knowing exactly where they are at all times (i.e. how many points they have scored).

This is important as there are a lot of Gen Y – 70 million - almost three times the number of Generation X. So what does this mean for the managers in Middle East agencies? Well, if we understand what Millennials want, we can make our agencies run more efficiently. So here’s the top 10 ways to cultivate relationships with Millennials:

10 - Less politics & favouritism. Add more team building events - especially if you also have Baby Boomers in your team.
9 - Keep your promises as a manager. Gen Y has been brought up being given what they expected. If you disappoint they’ll walk.
8 - Understand mistakes. Gen Y sees no harm in making them so have realistic expectations and don’t view mistakes as failures (their parents didn’t).
7 – Give more autonomy & responsibility. But paradoxically don’t expect accountability.
6 - Allow & encourage innovation. Gen Y live for innovation.
5 - Listen, solicit opinions and recognise their influence. Gen Y like to give it and just as their parents did, they’ll expect you to listen to them.
4 - Provide training & opportunities for growth. Gen Y loves to learn.
3 - Prioritise employees’ needs and work out how to provide a work-life balance with home commute options.
2 - Provide fair compensation: based on achievement, workload, level of responsibility, market norms.
1 - Communicate! More regular, recognition, openness, honesty, instructions, feedback & defined roles.

Gen Y like to communicate, so speak to them… you could also email, Tweet, blog, connect over FaceBook and get LinkedIn… but whatever you do communicate.

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