By Bob Andelman
Corporate Meetings & Incentives Magazine
Sep 1, 2007 12:00 PM

We asked Mr. Twentysomething himself, David Morrison, what gets the youngest generation of employees pumped

David Morrison knows about people in their twenties. When a reporter from The New York Times needs an authority on Generation XY, the author of Marketing to the Campus Crowd: Everything You Need to Know to Capture the $200 Billion College Market is their go-to guy. When Fortune 500 corporations such as General Motors, Apple, Coca-Cola, and Sony want to know what the average twentysomething thinks of their consumer products and services, they call Morrison. He’s even a consultant to the Navy.

It helps that his 16-year-old Philadelphia-based company, Twentysomething Inc., is aptly named. And that he has an MBA in market strategy and consumer behavior from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

So when Corporate Meetings & Incentives wanted expert advice on how to drive the youngest generation’s performance with incentives, we turned to Morrison as the guy who gets inside their heads.

CORPORATE MEETINGS & INCENTIVES: What characteristics of the twentysomething age group might affect what motivates them?

DAVID MORRISON: First, they are highly independent. Money, while important, is not the end-all. It’s getting the experience out of life and building their résumé to have job security down the road. It’s a chance to see the world and experience its cultures.

This group is extremely diverse. It’s a mistake to assume that all individuals in their twenties are the same and think the same. Everything from socioeconomics to ethnicity and politics, this part of Generation XY is one of the most diverse generations in American history.

CMI: Is this group different from previous twentysomething generations?

MORRISON: Without question. This group, you’ve got to remember, came of age during 9/11. They grew up in the world of Columbine, AIDS, Hurricane Katrina. This is a very tough, gritty generation, one that is very much in survivor mode all the time.

CMI: Are they driven by competition that, for the purpose of what we’re talking about, is the foundation of a company’s incentive program? Do they compete to sell the most or the fastest? Does that interest them?

MORRISON: Competition definitely plays a role, but over the past 17 years, we’ve seen that sense of competition shift from being externally driven to being more internally driven. If they have a goal, they force themselves to work harder to accomplish it for themselves as opposed to keeping score against their colleagues to get the corner office or some other perk.

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