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Part 2: What Echo-Boomers Mean for Employers

What does this mean to employers?

Why are some large corporations developing hiring practices and training programs to target this group rather than “re-tool” their current work force of Baby Boomers and Generation X?

Baby Boomers are staying the workplace longer.  Some because they love to work (the mantra of that generation) and because they have not nurtured non-work activities or hobbies to a great extent.  Some Boomers have been forced to delay retirement due to the recent economic debacle that left their savings decimated and their plans on indefinite hold.

Employers like the idea of keeping Boomers at their desks for another 5 years.  Where does that leave the Generation X?  It leaves them biding their time waiting for a “desk” to open up.  However, some companies have decided that Generation X doesn’t have the same work ethic and drive as Boomers.  Generation X doesn’t have the natural “plugged in” affinity as does the Echo-Boomer generation.

Echo-Boomers are a reflection of the changes in American over the last quarter century.  They are the first to grow up with computers in their homes, in a universe of 500 channels. They are natural multi-taskers with cells phones, IPods, Twitter, Facebook and Instant Messaging.

Employers also like the demographic data that tags this generation as an echo of the Baby Boomer group they value.  This generation tends to over-achieve and be over-managed and extremely pressured. Of this generation on the whole, 63% rated their parents in a positive, 29% were neutral and only 7% held a negative view. This statistic tells employers that Echo-Boomers are respectful in general and more easily assimilated into structure.

Volunteerism is very high in this group.  Where the Baby Boomers were going to change the world, the Echo Boomers seem to focus on things closer to home: family and community.  This desire to contribute works well in companies with strong community involvement.  Mentoring programs work better with that mind set.

A contrast from Gen X (the first latch key kid generation) Echo-Boomers have been scheduled from toddler hood and whisked off to organized group activities or structured play dates by parents who felt their children needed to learn time management and diversity skills.

This constant scheduling and herding has had as much to do with shaping this generation as technology.  They have been programmed by adults with a mission to keep them safe, keep them engaged in everything from martial arts, to music, to religious studies.

Because of this total adult supervision and involvement this is a generation that aims to please.  They wanted to please their parents, their friends, their teachers and now their bosses.

Information gathered from focus groups implies that Echo-Boomers have listened to what their Woodstock, Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll Baby Boomer parents said rather than followed their footsteps.  Rules for Echo-Boomers seem to have replaced rebellion.  Convention (group achievement) seems to be leading individualism.  Their values are more traditional than Gen X who on the demographic whole was told to “fend for itself”.

Stay tuned for Part 3: Benefits of Hiring Echo-Boomers Over Gen X