My Gen-Y GM doesn’t like business cards or name tags. Help!

Dear Aunty B,


I recently appointed a young general manager as I have predominantly Gen-Y staff and he seems to understand them. One of the first things he did was dump performance reviews. He says he has regular reviews in coffee shops with staff, which are far more effective.

He is disdainful of business cards, and now he is insisting that we don’t have name tags at a Christmas function! Should I put my foot down?

Sarah M,




Dear Sarah,

I am stumped for once. What on earth is wrong with name tags? You can address a person by name and get information you can use to initiate conversations.


Forget their name? Take a sneak look at the name tag.


Surely the name tag is just an innocent little helper in the age of information-overload. Why pick on it? Why must everything be so hard?


I went to a function a few weeks ago and asked an interesting young man for his business card. He told me he didn’t have one.


He was Gen-Y and managed Gen-Y staff. He said they all shunned business cards because it hampered, not helped, communications.


I was stunned. How on earth can I contact you, I asked?


He looked a bit sheepish and asked for my business card. “I will contact you,” he promised. I arrived back at the office highly annoyed because I had no means to contact him. But then, sure enough, I got an email from him that afternoon, following up. That was great, I thought. Maybe Gen-Ys were right. It did improve communications.


The other day I needed to contact him again and I could not remember his name to call up his email.


Now bloggist Brendan Lewis would have an email storage solution for sure. But how I wished I had his business card!


I think that is the point that Gen-Ys need to take on board.


Things that work for their generation don’t necessarily work for the Gen-Xs and the boomers. And after all, we need to coexist together – and know each other’s names at the Christmas function.


Maybe you can compromise – get the guests to write their own name tags and have a prize for the most inventive.


Your Aunty B.


Brendan Lewis at The Churchill Club writes: You know I enter all business cards imemdiately into a CRM system then rip them up (I don’t tell people this as it tends to piss them off).


Neil Bolton from Recruitment Systems writes: Sarah: You did it! Aunty B says: “I am stumped for once.” That’s probably the last time, though. Re name tags: Some people’s brains aren’t wired to remember names – or the regular cocktail functions has wiped out those synapses. I’m one of them. Please, please have name tags!!! And if you have them dangling on a ribbon then please print them on both sides. And no, ladies, we aren’t looking at your breasts. It’s just that I’m trying to read the name tag . . .



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