3 Strategic Moves in the Battle for Generation Y
Perhaps the greatest struggle the Credit Union movement faces today is how to shift its membership base to new, younger members. Membership demographics are a vital key point indicator. They illustrate the important balance between the generation I call the “old guard” and this new wave of young recruits (commonly referred to as Generation Y). Both groups are equally important and valuable in order for the movement to continue.
The old guard is talking on the battlefield, discussing how to reach these young people, Gen Y, with the Credit Union philosophy. It’s not an easy task, but it can and must be done. It’s time for the old guard to head to the war room and strategize.
Myths and Misconceptions
There are many rumors moving around the battlefield. Here are my top 3 myths and misconceptions about Gen Y:
- They don’t want to connect with to the old guard
- They don’t want to learn with a hands on approach
- They want to replace (ruin) our ideas and methods with their own
These myths and misconceptions hold the keys to winning this battle. Let’s break them down.
Gen Y vs. the Old Guard
Yes, it’s true. They come across as disinterested, unsure, and distracted at times. But don’t let that fool you. They want to connect with the generation of warrior leaders that came before them. Without that connection and guidance, they will fail.
If Gen Y’s willingness to connect is not an issue, then what is the real problem? The real issue here is that Gen Y is missing the opportunity to connect. There is a communication breakdown between these two generations.
Strategy: Forge intentional opportunities to connect with Gen Y
Online vs. Offline Learning
Online learning is the buzz in education. Sure, someone can learn a lot through an interactive process online. However, online learning only prepares you for a job in theory. Relational, interactive learning will stick for life, and increases in value over time. This generation doesn’t just want to know how to do something. They want to do it.
This generation is the most connected generation to date. Young people tweet, Facebook, IM, Text, and Chat on their smart phones, tablets and laptops. They are connected to their social networks 24/7. However, those things can’t replace authentic, face-to-face conversations and relationships.
Strategy: Foster face-to-face conversations and organize learning opportunities
Those Kids Have Crazy Ideas
Yes, they do. However, it’s not because they want to throw out the old regime. Instead, they want to buy into the Credit Union movement! They want to take ownership of the movement by providing valuable input and ideas. It is vital to cultivate those ideas and have a process to do so. If you want to capture Gen Y, you will have to take a bold approach to including them. It must be genuine, thought out, and obvious.
The old guard cares deeply for the Credit Union movement. They’ve taken ownership of its core values. That same ownership needs to be extended to a new, emerging generation of CU warriors. The Credit Union movement is too valuable to not give it away.
Strategy: Give rise to the new generation of ownership
A Plan of Action, a Call to Arms
I wish I could throw out some bullet (pun intended) points here about how to implement the principles in this article. The reality is that every Credit Union is different. The way this plays out for your Credit Union will be unique to your membership base. Beware of trying to mimic another institution’s implementation of this. A military strategy is dependent upon the circumstances you find yourself in. This is no different. Own the solution.
Create your plan of action with these 3 strategies:
- Forge intentional opportunities to connect with Gen Y
- Foster face-to-face conversations and organize learning opportunities
- Give rise to the new generation of ownership
How do you plan to meet the challenge of drafting these new recruits?