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You know them. You may have one or two in your family, a few on your staff, and possibly some as clients. After all, there are nearly 80 million of them. They’ve been reviled as spoiled, materialistic, attention-craving, slow to mature, unable to leave the nest, and possessed of a suspect work ethic.

Who are they? Generation Y, also known as Millennials. While there is not complete agreement on the exact years that bookend this group, we can say they are the babies born between the mid-1970s and 2000. Each generation has its own characteristics, but it’s generally acknowledged that Gen Y is unusually different from the rest of us. And they are your workers and clients today and in the near future.

Who They Are, What They Want

In Upstarts! author Donna Fenn lists eight Gen-Y–defining characteristics. Understanding how this generation is different can help you adapt your marketing, selling, and workplace environment. Here’s how Fenn defines the differences:

  • They’re Extreme Collaborators. They want to work with mentors, partners, and teams.
  • They’re Technology Mavens. This is the first generation born into the tech revolution. Gen-Yers are plugged in 24/7 and like to work through technology.
  • They’re Game Changers looking for ways to reinvent, disrupt, and revitalize “the way things have always been done.”
  • They’re Market Insiders to their own generation and often create products and services targeted at those like them.
  • They’re brand-conscious and are Brand Builders. They see brand-building as key to creating their unique niche.
  • They are Social Capitalists. They want to give back and tend to “blur the dividing line between for-profit and not-for-profit endeavors,” Fenn notes.
  • They’re Workplace Renegades. They want “flexible, mission-driven, employee-centric meritocracies.”
  • They want the potential for quick promotions and pay raises.
  • And they’re Morph Masters, “fabulous improvisers.” They’re not into business plans. If failure comes, they just jump to the next good idea.

Upstart Information

Each of these characteristics has an upside and a downside for today’s established remodeler. To take full advantage of what these 20- and 30-somethings can contribute to your company, you may need to learn more. We all better bone up because they’re here.

—Linda Case is founder of Remodelers Advantage, a national company that gives remodelers the tools to achieve profitability and success. 301.490.5620;

Read more Linda Case opinions here.