Saw this post today on The People Pro blog and thought it was worth passing along. It's not centered on social media, per se, but social media does have a bearing on it.
The author (Barb Bartlein), who seems to be a Baby Boomer herself, talks about how the priorities of Gen X and Milennial workers differ from the Boomers. Where the Boomers were all about career and getting ahead, the other two groups look for more work/life balance. Where the Boomers tend to believe that dedication to the job is measured in hours spent at work, Gen X and Milennials are more about what they produce instead of where they produce it.
And that's where technology comes in. Barb refers to Boomers as technology immigrants. They (more accurately "we") didn't grow up with computers. We had to move onto them from typewriters and other, older tools. The other two generations have always had computers as a part of their lives. Therefore, it's much more natural for them to use computers to keep themselves connected to one another. She also says that these generations tend to be more loyal to each other than to the company they work for or the companies they purchase from.
Marketers and employers both need to understand these differences. For example, while Boomers may have relied more on product reviews from professionals, Gen X and Milennials likely tend to rely more on recommendations from their peers. As a result, companies going after those audiences should at least consider offering a way for their customers to review and/or comment on their products, and feature those reviews prominently on the Web sites. Even the poor ones. Prospects looking for validation on a purchase will find it in each other.
On the employer side, it's important to understand the priorities of the workforce. The current economy may have shifted the balance of power temporarily to the employer — no one wants to be out looking for a job right now –but eventually we will pull out of it. Those employers who have policies and mindsets in place that fit these generations will find themselves in a much better position to keep their best workers, and compete for the best and the brightest, in the future.