Get the Inside Scoop on Generation Y with Our Summer Reading List

We’ve been talking for months now about what makes Generation Y tick. I think the topic is both fascinating and incredibly important to the future of apartment marketing. With summer approaching, I’d like to suggest a summer reading list to check out while you’re sitting by the pool and drinking iced tea (or maybe just squeezing in a quick break between meetings). All of these books are entertaining and will sharpen your understanding of Generation Y.

The 2020 WorkplaceThe 2020 Workplace

Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd’s The 2020 Workplace explores lightning-fast changes that will occur in the workplace over the next 10 years, including changes that have already begun. Meister and Willyerd have created a detailed roadmap explaining how you and your company can attract, develop, and keep tomorrow’s employees today.

The 2020 Workplace gave me a broader understanding of my own Gen Y children—17 and 20. By 2014, the Y generation will represent almost half of the workforce! It’s vital to understand them before they become the dominant force in our world.

Related article: The Future Renter…What’s Next?

Gen BuYGen BuY

Gen BuY, by Kit Yarrow, Ph.D, and Jayne O’Donnell, combines research, technology, and psychographics to explore what Gen Yers want, why they buy, and how to engage them. Reshaping the retail industry and influencing day-to-day business process is just the beginning—the members of Gen Y even influence their parents’ decisions! The book has practical suggestions on how to harness that incredible Gen Y buying power.

The authors get to the heart of why Gen Yers buy what they do. I found it eye-opening to read about all of their purchasing pet peeves. Their buying patterns are clearly very different from my generation’s. Understanding the “why” behind those differences has been invaluable to me both as a business owner and as a parent. Gen Y is a force to be reckoned with.

Related article: Three Ways to Grab the Attention of Generation Y

When Generations CollideWhen Generations Collide

When Generations Collide by Lynne C. Lancaster and David Stillman helps you see the world through the eyes of another generation. Conflicting perspectives among generations can lead to workplace conflict. The authors provide helpful tools for recruiting, training, retaining, inspiring, and leading each of the four generations in today’s workplace. This book will help you understand how to close the generational gap and leave you with many “aha” moments.

I think this book should be required reading for all managers. I thought I was pretty well read on generational differences, but the authors made me realize how much more there is to learn. And it’s packed with humorous examples of generational conflict. Those collisions are inevitable, but ultimately it’s how we manage them that counts.

Related article: Getting to Know Your Generation Y Coworkers

The New Rules of Green MarketingThe New Rules of Green Marketing

Jacquelyn A. Ottman’s The New Rules of Green Marketing introduces companies to the new rules of green marketing and explains how going green affects people, profits, and our planet. The author applies more than 20 years of green marketing lessons. Her data offers insight into how each generation is experiencing and practicing the green movement and how to prepare your marketing messages for each group.

I see this as a green marketing bible full of wisdom shared by almost every company that’s ever launched a green initiative. My understanding of why being green appeals to Generation Y changed after reading this book. It goes beyond saving the planet. It includes health, design, performance, style, cost-effectiveness, and even status. And of course “green” means different things to different people. I even learned a new term: “greenwashing.” Do you know what it means? “

Related article: How Does Generation Y Perceive Your Green Initiative?

Have you read any good books about Generation Y? What’s on your summer reading list? Have any suggestions for me? Sound off in the comments below.

The Monday Morning Meeting with Joanna Ellis is a monthly series examining the impact of Generation Y on the multifamily industry and discussing how to successfully do business with them.


Part 1: The Future Renter…What’s Next?
Part 2: Three Ways to Grab the Attention of Generation Y
Part 3: Getting to Know Your Generation Y Coworkers
Part 4: How Does Generation Y Perceive Your Green Initiative?


President and Owner, Ellis Partners in Mystery Shopping

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Joanna Ellis is CEO and Owner of Ellis Partners in Management Solutions (EPMS) and Co-owner of Renter’s Voice. Under her direction, Ellis has established itself as the premier apartment mystery shopping company in the nation, as well as a respected provider of multi-touch point resident surveys, as part of their retention-focused customer experience program. Current clients include most major apartment developers, management companies, and REITs. Through Renter’s Voice, Ellis helps clients promote and respond to authentic and objective apartment reviews. Having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business from Texas A&M, Ms. Ellis has spent more than 25 years in the multifamily industry, and she now holds both the Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) and Certified Apartment Property Supervisor (CAPS). She is also a licensed Texas Real Estate Agent. In honor of EPMS’ reputation for integrity, the Dallas Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals awarded Joanna, on behalf of the company, the 2008 Greater Dallas Business Ethics Award for mid-size companies.

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