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A New Generation Demands Your Attention

As described in the book Generations Inc. by Meagan Johnson and Larry Johnson (AMACOM, 2010), the Linkster Generation is the one just entering the workforce now. Like any other generation, it brings its own mindset into the workforce.

Who are Linksters?

As the authors explain, “Linksters primarily work part-time while attending school. They are called Linksters because no other generation has ever been so linked to each other and to the world through technology.” Their struggles in the work environment are tied to their youth and inexperience.

Among the goals for managing Linksters are the following:
  • Get them into a routine that they can master.
  •  Provide them with fun and engagement to hold their attention.
  • Reward them often and correct them immediately when they need it.

Among the Johnsons’ tips for managing Linksters:

1. Ride herd on them. The authors remind Baby Boomers that “Linksters are currently at an age where they may seem like rambunctious calves on a cross-country cattle drive. They may have short attention spans and will lose interest, especially if they find the work boring.”

2. Provide them with job descriptions. Like any new employees, Linksters need clear direction about what you expect from them. The job description will clarify expectations and give the job a greater sense of importance.

3. Treat them like valued coworkers. Being part-time means Linksters have less time to connect and feel a part of the group than full-timers. This can lead to a second-class syndrome. Counter this with a steady diet of feedback and an inviting work environment. Also, communicate with your full-time employees the importance of including part-time employees in office chitchat, meetings, and social events. Remind everyone that part-time employees add value by completing the tasks that full-time employees don’t have time to complete.

4. Orient them to the obvious. Be specific about expectations that may seem obvious to you but may not be to them.

5. Create microcareer paths. Linksters may not be with you for long but give them career goals—even if it is simply working the cash register—while they are with you. A goal to strive for can be a terrific motivation.

Excerpted, with permission of the publisher, from Generations, Inc., by Meagan Johnson and Larry Johnson. Copyright 2010, Meagan Johnson and Larry Johnson. Published by AMACOM. For more information: www.amacombooks.org