The student conference started off in strong form with Aaron Kesher's "V+B+X+Y:Generations at Work," with V standing for veterans, B for Baby Boomers, X for Generation X, and Y for Generation Y/Millenials.
Kesher began by having each generation give their perspective on the other three generations by working backward, having the Millenials kick it off. Examples included Millenials thinking that Boomers "work harder, not smarter" and that Boomers use too much paper.
Kesher then detailed what exactly is a "generation." One important note cited was that the discussion is primarily U.S. driven, and we are only now started to look at generational differences internationally.
Kesher used the remaining time to look at each generation specifically, focusing on what "work is...,"their work ethic, their perspective on work/life balance, and how each group was impacted by technology. Finally, he look at how employers can address the motivation of each generation at work. Veterans, for example, would be served by recognizing their loyalty, providing a personal touch (such as a handwritten note), and giving them visible symbols of status.
To an audience that encompassed all four generations, Kesher provided a welcome overview of the topic for those somewhat versed in the topic, while engaging those for whom the material is new.