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Communicating with Twentysomethings

Here are five ways to successfully engage with Gen Y, whose members want to add meaning to their lives and to the world

Gen Y is gaining attention (, 1/9/08) for its participation in the 2008 Presidential primaries, voting in numbers not seen in decades. But the group's influence obviously isn't limited to politics. Some 30 million young people in their late teens to early 30s are expected to join the U.S. workforce by 2010. Effectively communicating with them will be crucial to your company's success.

Empowerment is what young people crave. I have spent the last two years interviewing dozens of business leaders who run companies that rely on employees in their teens and 20s. To a person, these leaders have learned that it's important to offer young people more than a paycheck and a free on-site massage. This group wants to know that its work is adding up to a great cause. They want to add meaning to their lives and to the world. The old command-and-control style of managing won't work with this generation. Lip service won't fly.