Nov 17, 2008

Corporate Tribes

Generation Y is inherently a generation of multiple, yet separated, communities – an interlinked set of ‘urban tribes’. They have always been grouped together in large numbers throughout school, and particularly at their universities. Generation Y now has in the region of 40% of its population enroll into higher education (Daily Mail[1]), which marks a significant increase from their parents generation, in which less than 10% of them went to university (Brunel University[2]).

This shift in expectation, combined with the increase in communications technology, and in particular social networking sites, such as Facebook (launched in 2004) and Twitter (launched in 2006) are having a huge impact on the expectations of ‘Community’ for Generation Y – and one which is worth considering for the big corporate giants.

In these online spaces Generation Y can ‘re-group’ their previously physical communities from school, university and even previous places of work. This is a trend and shows that this population exist simultaneously in multiple, and sometimes over-lapping communities, virtually and physically.

Why is this interesting to any big graduate recruiter? When these Generation Y enter business, for the first time in their lives they are separated from being in vast communities of like-minded and aged individuals. Not being in the majority off-line, they may seek solace in their communities online – to keep in touch with friends, share stories and gather opinions.

The Builder and Baby Boomer generations may not have strayed as far from home as the Generation Y entering the workplace today and so the ability to connect is an important daily/ weekly habit that employers would do well to allow. It is a social need. Furthermore, big ‘Blue Chips’ should encourage Generation Y to build new communities internally, physically, inside their companies, so that they ‘find a new home’ and become loyal.

Where their friends are, there their heart is also.



  1. Interesting point and I hope this is a wake-up call for companies that block all social networking/instant messaging at work.

    I can't count how many times I've asked for and received helpful advice from my network using these tools during working hours.

    Perhaps this relates beyond Generation Y? Have you read any of Seth Godin's blog or his new book (titled "Tribes")? Might be of interest.

    Also, maybe it's time for a nakedgenerations twitter :)

  2. Hi Mike,

    You make an interesting point. Pfizer are launching an internal community to link employees around the world, the point of which is to share information about work and build trust within the business.

    If only more employers recognised this!

    Thank you for the advice, we'll certainly look into both Seth Godin and Twitter.