‘Put vinegar or onion under your scarf for tear gas.’
I don’t think you'll lose your firm to a coup by “20 somethings,” but, then again, maybe you will...if you don’t pay attention to this group.
The printing industry we built is hanging on for dear life, while the industry they built—social media—is on the way to being the “next great frontier.” Recent speculation puts the valuation of Facebook at $50 billion, Twitter at $10 billion and Groupon at $6 billion. And all three of these companies were started and are privately held by this good for nothing, “video game generation.” Find me a printing group worth $10 billion, let alone 50.
Gen Y isn’t going to need to take over anything here; well, not anything but your clients. Because in a couple of years, if it isn’t happening already, most of the clients will be their peers. These will be people who they have as friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter. And what are you going to have...your Rolodex.
In the five short years since I quit recruiting, my database for the most part has become a ghost of what it once was. Most of my contacts retired or just got burnt out and left the industry. I’m sure a lot of yours have too.
If the Millennials want to, they’ll stay in the printing industry. They will, if they find it relevant. If not, they won’t. And with them will go their friends and followers—the new clients.
But you don’t have to go of the way of Mubarak and Egypt, or Ali and Tunisia. And all it takes is for you to listen to and respect this next wave. Don’t treat this generation like you do your teenage children. Your priorities are not theirs. The future of your firm will rely on how this group can identity with you and your company.