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The Intergenerational Workforce - and the impact on your organization

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It's not only about managing the expectations of Generation Y or Millenials, it's also about managing the dominance of boomers.

It's not only about managing the expectations of Generation Y or Millenials, it's also about managing the dominance of boomers.

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  • The workforce today is composed of 4 generations of employees. By 2020, the workforce will be composed of 5 generations, each generation, potentially, in the workplace with significantly different views of work and lifestyle, different styles of work, different preferences as they relate to communication, and different expectations about how they want to be treated as members of the workforce. Since the start of the industrial revolution, we have not seen this number of generations in the workforce.This intergenerational workplace has significant implications for productivity and performance within our organizations and, most importantly, the continued growth and development of our leaders. “The Intergenerational Workplace…and its impact on the future of our organizations” looks at the effects of demographic changes in the workplace and intergenerational leadership practices required to tackle these challenges and use them to advance the performance of the current and future employee.We will refer to cohorts during this presentation. As the foundation for our theory about future employee performance requirements and how to take advantage of the demographic differences, we will use the term cohorts. Generational cohorts are people born roughly at the same time, who as a consequence tend to have rather similar attitudes and expectations. They are often brought up with the same child rearing practices and have similar experiences as teenagers and young adults. This is a particularly sensitive period for acquiring a moral and political orientation. These shared experiences are termed ‘generational markers.’ These are important since they provide clues about how these generations will behave as they move into positions of decision making at work and have increasing access to resources.
  • First of all, let’s find out about you.To which cohort do you belong?Direct cohorts to get up and move to an area of the room designated for each cohort group (have flipchart posted in 4 areas of room with name of cohort and years of birth).Facilitator does a quick count of numbers in each group and makes note of the largest and smallest groups in the room. Question:Have a look around. What do you see? Do you think our group’ s generational make-up tonight is representative of the overall workplace today?Direct them to return to their seats and we will share with you the answer to that question.
  • Let’s look at that – the workplace today.Today, boomers are the largest group and Traditionalists the smallest. Generation X is considerably smaller than the boomers and Generation Y – the youngest group is already larger than Generation X.In CanadaBoomers = 10.0 million (peaked in 1961)Generation X = 3.0 millionGeneration Y = 9.2 millionThe first boomer turned 65 in 2012. Facilitator refers to the BM2B Banner.And what are the impacts of this workplace composition?With 4 distinct generations in the workforce today, this reflects the first time a generational mix of this proportion has existed in Canadian organizations – and a significant shift is underway reaching its peak by the year 2020.Today, 40% of senior positions are held by the generation known as the baby boomers – they lead the companies and the country – they hold a significant amount of expertise.Recent studies with business owners representing the majority of employers in Canada – less than 11% have a succession plan in place – a means to pass on their business and expertise.Generation X and Y have entered the workforce and they have arrived with different preferences, working styles, and views of work, workplace environment and how they should be treated as employees. Generation Y, by 2020, will be the dominant group – one full generation removed from the boomers.Question:What is the dominant cohort in your organization today? Request hand raising as you call out the cohort names.
  • What will the workplace look like in less than 10 years?Traditionalists – some will still be around. Think about the people you know, or have heard about, that are in their 80’s and still working. So there will still be a few in the workforce when we hit 2020. Classic example is Warren Buffet. I had a client – when I first met him, he was 75 years old and starting his 14th new business.Question:Does anyone know an employee or business owner over 70 years of age?Boomers - in less than a decade, the youngest boomers will be 56 years old but the majority will be 59. As they start to retire, the number of boomers in the workforce will have decreased by 50%. The challenge for business leaders and HR experts is not just the increase in the number of positions that will be vacant, but the expertise that will go out the door with them. In the meantime, HR experts need to get up to speed on how to use these intergenerational differences and expectations to their advantage…to ensure the next generation of leaders is identified and developed to continue to drive organizational and business performance.By 2020, there will be an obvious shift from Boomers to Gen X to Gen Y. Gen X will be 41 years old and the youngest Generation Y will be 25 years old.However, since the size of Gen X is so small compared to the large groups of Boomers and Gen Y, the Gen Y group will grow at twice the rate of Gen X and take over the dominant place at work. And a few of the younger, Digital Natives, or Generation Z will enter.
  • So what does this mean for those of us in HR?We see two main challenges – that are continually surfaced in the business literature, in our research, and in the work with our client network.With the multiple cohort workplace, it’s a challenge to accommodate the differing views of the workplace and how each of these cohorts expect to be treated. This can result in conflict – how the cohorts participate in teams, how they behave towards one another, what they think about the other cohorts – all perceptions that can lead to conflict, or at the very least, non productive behaviour. Again, when we talk about cohorts we are referencing the formative events that determine how they make their decisions and how they utilize resources in the workplace. For example, the primary formative event for Traditionalists is WWII. Question:What do you think would be a formative event for boomers? For Generation X? For Generation Y? 2. Another challenge is the pending retirement of boomers – or at the very least, the reduction in the time they want to spend at the workplace, and predicting what skills and knowledge our organizations will need to continue to perform and grow – as the demographic shift occurs, and how we will close that expertise gap.
  • Let’s start by talking about the potential expertise gap.As Boomers exit from the workforce they will take their expertise with them unless we have in place a process to capture and transfer that expertise to the next generation of leaders. But further to the challenge of a potential expertise gap is the challenge of ensuring the boomer leaders take on the responsibility for transfer of their expertise. This not only takes effort, but it takes time and dollars. So we need to make sure we clearly identify which expertise, which knowledge needs to be retained and which knowledge will not be important in the future. This can force up training and development costs – formal and informal.We also have to ensure we clearly identify the capabilities and capacity for learning the our future leaders need to have to be successful. We need the right ‘receivers’ in place so we can put in place the process to transfer the required knowledge.
  • The impact of the change in demographic size – the boomers leaving the workforce - is that Generation Y will double in size and represent an even greater percentage of the workforce than boomers do today.What this workplace makeup says to us is:Today, boomers still dominate, not only the workforce in general, but also the senior positions in most organizations.Boomers have an accountability to mentor, coach, and develop the next generation of leaders. Most likely it will be Generation Y who replaces the boomer cohort.Key result of this shift will be the potential for a gap in expertise – skills and knowledge gaps that may be required by our organizations to continue to grow and prosper.Question:What do these demographic situations say to you about the future of your organization or your client organizations? Our position is that if you don’t know the makeup of your organization – particularly, the current leadership generation – you will miss a tremendous opportunity to grow the leadership competency of the future and the performance of your organization. Today, more than ever, Human Resources can take a leadership role in addressing the pending expertise gap that will exist when the Boomers exit the workforce in large numbers and leverage the differences between the generations for performance advantage.
  • Let’s look a little deeper into how the different cohorts view the workplace. Research, literature, and how we interact with one another create perceptions about each of the cohorts.Traditionalists – loyal to their companies and their bosses. They value job security and company success.Boomers – ideological, highly judgemental, focused totally on values, inordinately narcissistic – they are the ones who, in the workplace, created the notion of vision and values – every organization needs to have a vision and a mission statement and documented, highly visible values. They have a love-hate relationship with authority, perfectionists by nature (love to set goals and drive to results), and are somewhat community oriented. Consumed by work – they define themselves by their job. They are also totally interested in maintaining a youthful existence, seeking health and wellness. They tend to seek meaning through wealth accumulation.Generation X tends to be extraordinarily self-reliant, action-oriented and accountable to themselves. Unimpressed with authority, they have difficulty making long-term commitments, yet they are family-oriented, diversity aware, and like the Boomers, focused on results. Key differentiator is their desire for a balanced lifestyle.Generation Y confident, highly team-oriented, and conventional. They like their parents. They are highly sociable, moral and street smart and absolutely oblivious to authority. Their view of work is similar to Gen X – they want balance in their life but, the irony is they blur the lines between personal and business when it comes to their daily activities.Traditionalists and Boomers live to work, Generations X and Y work to live.
  • Earlier this year, we conducted a short survey with 100 Canadian business leaders regarding their take on whether or not they would be willing to transfer their expertise to the next generation of leaders. We had been told, in conferences and seminars like this one, that senior leaders were reticent to share their expertise because they would then make themselves redundant.Our short survey was to ‘test’ this hypothesis and here is what we found.As you can see by these results, either senior leaders do not enjoy performing coaching and mentoring tasks or many of them are, indeed, afraid of being made redundant…before they are ready to leave.
  • Our solution to the leadership gap created when boomers retire, we recommend each of you – in your organizaitons– build a Boomer Leader Legacy. This legacy has four principles:Boomer leaders in your organization need to be accountable for the legacy they leave. Building this legacy acknowledges their contribution and engages them in the process.Link back to Motivators on previous slide as key to making boomer leaders accountable for transferring their knowledge and skills to the future leaders within your organization.The legacy is all about the critical skills or roles that need to be retained and/or built to ensure ongoing business growth. It is not about merely replacing bodies or positions. This legacy is about strengthening the connection between management of human resources and business growth. Whether or not to build a boomer leader legacy depends upon the level of risk associated with retention and development of critical skills and roles. “Mission critical” situations demand more resources and change = more risk. Success of the legacy development and implementation will be determined by the measures of success. Strengthening the connection between management of Human Resources and business growth is dependent upon ROI – without ROI and ways to measure ROI – senior team will not engage.Table Exercise (questions listed on handout at table)Question 1:What are some of the critical skills in your organization that you will need to keep? Note on flipchart.Question 2: What do you feel would be the costs to your organization of not taking action i.e., what would be the cost to your organization of expertise being ‘lost’ due to the exit of boomer leaders?Debrief the exercise.What were some the critical skills you identify in your groups? (record on flipchart at front of room)What were some of the costs you identified of no longer having these skills and the knowledge associated with these skills within your organization?4. Build a process to transfer knowledge – the expertise we need to lead our organization to success.
  • When we are considering transferring the critical skills from boomers to generation Y, we need to consider the differences in learning styles. And there are fairly significant differences in learning styles. Since we are talking here about capturing boomer expertise and knowledge and transferring it successfully to the next generation of leaders, we need to understand that there exist differences in learning styles and find ways to leverage these differences.Digital Immigrants – boomersDid not grow up with technology, learned about technologyDigital Natives – Gen YBorn into technological world, learned with technologyRote learning for boomers – memorization based on repetitionAnalogical learning for Gen Y – process of recognition, application of solution from known problem to new problem.
  • We need to consider this difference in learning styles between the two cohorts when determining how best to develop and implement a knowledge transfer process.1 – what knowledge and expertise needs to be transferred?Reference the critical skills identified at your table during the previous exercise.2 & 3 - You then need to determine the best learning styles of the intended future leaders, and the which knowledge transfer methodologies would best be used for the situation.Table ExerciseAt your table, there is a list of knowledge transfer methods. We are going to ask each table to complete the list for each of the Boomer and Gen Y cohorts. Which methodology do you think would be best suited for each cohort?Debrief exerciseBriefly review with the tables. Any disconnects between the generations? Anyone had any particular success with one of these methods?
  • We all know when talking about, or researching, or working with the four cohorts in our organizations that the greatest effect and most potential for conflict is between the two largest groups – Boomers and Generation Y. To reduce the potential for conflict the key is to be able to align the needs of both senior and future leaders – close the gap between boomers and generation y. In other words, we need to change the perceptions the cohorts have of each other.For Boomers –They need both the time and resources to focus on skills transferYou need to have determined the critical skills they hold that the organization still needs, and will need into the futureTheir past and continuing contribution must be recognized – they need to be valued for their passion and the expertise they have brought to the organizationEncourage them to build a legacy. We all want to be recognized for our value and our contribution – remind them of their responsibility to the organization’s future by developing a legacy.Provide them with the tools to go into the future – retirement planning.For Generation Y –Help them learn about senior leaders, their contribution and their value. Educate them.Assess their current skills level versus the critical skills identified with senior leaders. What are the gaps and how will you help them to close these gaps?Match their skills needs to senior leaders’ expertise and help them to select the best methods for gaining these skills. Put in place social-technical mentoring – where both participants have plans in place to learn from one another. Continue to build the confidence and expertise of both parties.Be flexible – consider their learning styles and find ways to accommodate these styles. Make sure these future leaders have the information and tools they need to become future leaders.
  • Interestingly, our communication styles are not really all that different.Boomers represent 22% of social media and blog users and 20% of smartphone & tablet users.Generation X represents 28% of social networking and blog sites and 30% of smartphone & tablet usersGeneration Y represents 27% of social networking and blog sites and 39% of smartphone and tablet users.Members of all generations are engaging with, and contributing to, social media sites. Contribution rates are similar across Traditionalists, Boomers and Generation X at approximately 30 – 35%. Where differences in participation occur is in “publishing new content”. The range is from 15 – 45 percent, increasing across the cohorts from Traditionalists at 15% to GenY at 45%.Question:What do you see as similarities? What conclusions would you draw from this information?
  • Whether or not your focus is on transferring knowledge from the boomers to the generation Y, the two largest cohorts in the workplace need to learn how to work together in the workplace. And more specifically, the Generation Y need to learn how to attract the attention of the Boomer manager to ensure they are considered for hire and/or promotion – they are, and want to be, the next generation of leaders.So what can Generation Y do to attract interest of the Boomer Managers – in order to grow their expertise and secure their preferred future roles.The first step is to educate yourself to learn and understand each cohort.ResearchGeneration Y employees or recruitment candidates should invest time and effort in not only raising their awareness of the organization but also, awareness of those who lead and manage the organization. Developing awareness for the skills, knowledge and experience acquired by Boomers over their many years of service, will provide Generation Y with the information they need to determine who, in the organization, is best positioned to help them learn and grow. Generation Y are interested in organizations that encourage growth and development of their employees, so they should be seeking out those types of organizations and determining how best to mine the expertise of the Boomer managers in those organizations.Research the hiring manager as you would research the company. 
  • NetworkUse your networking skills to research the hiring manager – whether you are seeking movement throughout the organization, have your sites on a particular role or are seeking a position in another company. Obvious first steps are to locate them on LinkedIn and Facebook as this will give you their professional profile. Think about this as you network with your contacts.  Contact friends and family, former colleagues, current associates, members of the associations to which you belong (like this one) to find out as much as you can about the interviewers and hiring managers. Perform investigative interviews with people within the organization that you are targeting. Learn as much as you can about the company, its challenges, needs, and objectives. Figure out the corporate culture, personality, and style – especially those of the executive team, hiring manager, and recruiters. If you know the generational cohort to which they belong, this will help you to assess their areas of interest, how they view the workplace and, quite possibly, their working, communication and interviewing styles.
  • Etiquette There can be a considerable amount of frustration in job seekers, particularly given the economic climate and the current trend for employers to offer contract and part-time work over full-time, fully compensation positions. Add to this the perceptions of generational cohorts about the other cohorts and the frustration level increases. But this frustration should not be shared through social media. Nothing is private on social media including the Groups on LinkedIn. Much has been said about potential candidates being dismissed from consideration because they have posted personal photos or comments considered inappropriate by the hiring manager. Making negative comments about an entire cohort is also not appropriate and may be viewed by a future hiring manager who is a member of this cohort. As with every other relationship that matters to you, initially you had to find common ground on which to build the foundation. Consider spending time and effort getting to know and understand the preferences and styles of the generational cohorts. As we all know, this will not guarantee you the job but it may be the extra information you need to differentiate your experience and improve your profile with the next hiring manager.
  • Think about your audienceYour CV should be in the style Boomers will identify with and want to read.I have been told by Boomer hiring managers that Generation Y cohort do not demonstrate respect for the years of experience or the high level of expertise achieved by Boomers. Complaints about Generation Y by these hiring managers include; being late for the interview, not spending time researching their company, their industry or the job, itself, not being prepared for the interview, and not having the life experience to understand what the Boomer’s experience translates into in practical terms.  When drafting or redrafting your resume, think about your audience. Consider their style and interests, particularly how these cohorts prefer to communicate.  Consider reaching out to your network to view Boomer resumes. What style do they use and can you adjust your resume to this style? Perhaps a Professional Profile or Personal/Professional Brand resume will be more interesting and provide the ‘Reader’s Digest’ view necessary to attract their interest. Your interview style may need to be adjusted as well. Consider leading the interview in conversational style helping the interviewer to interview you and get the information they need to make an informed decision. Remember a Boomer’s work history began before you were born. They may have experience with companies that no longer exist, in positions with titles you do not recognize, producing results that may not interest you. Focus on the past few years and your passion ensuring both relate to them.Sell YourselfThe hookThe pitchThe call to actionWhat is your specific ability, capability, strength? How are you different from everyone else? Narrow your options down.What do you love to do? What are your ideas?New grads - Why did you take the program you did? What has it done for you that will benefit them? What are the results you want to achieve?Target marketing– lots of talk about personal branding. Consider delivering your resume personally. Make sure you send a professional thank you letter or note after the interview. Generation Y may be new to the concept of networking, as implemented by Boomers, but they certainly know how to network online and build a community of like-minded people. The line between their personal and professional communities is blurred so they don't tend to differentiate between who is in their specific community. They are also pack-oriented, preferring to play and work within a team or group. So relationships, to them, are also key. The difference may only be in the manner in which they build these relationships. By getting to know one another and how they like to work, most likely these two cohorts will find they are both good at building relationships and share their best practices.
  • Build your professional profile LinkedIN profile – professional, lots of places to help you (give examples of good profiles)Slide share, group participation – demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, build a blog, write articles – how much to build a blog? Wordpress, etc. Build a website about you. Build a slideshare presentation about you.What is it you want to do? What are you good at? What are your ideas?What differentiates you? How do you demonstrate that you understand and appreciate their needs? Think of them as potential customers as opposed to someone who may give you a job.What networks – connections – do you bring to the job, to the company?What are your learning and development plans? What do you do now to keep yourself up to date and learning new skills continuously?Build the CV that speaks to them – what they need not what you have done. CV should be customized and speak to their needs.
  • We talked about two challenges associated with the intergenerational workplace:Multiple cohorts with different views of the workplace and how they expect to be treated within this workplace. They come with different wants, needs, experiences and learning styles. Because of these differences, oftentimes, we experience conflict between, and around the cohorts – primarily due to the perceptions we hold about each of the cohorts; what we need to do is learn about the other cohorts and how best to leverage those differencesThe boomers have already started leaving the workplace and this will only increase, significantly, as we move closer to 2020 – potentially leaving significant gaps in required expertise. We need to put in place a process to identify current skills and roles and then attempt to predict which of these roles and skills we need to keep in place and which ones we need to develop. This process will help us to close potential expertise gaps. This is the boomer leader legacy process.
  • Thanks for your interest and participation. Mention the Clash of the Cohorts brochure and the digi cloth for their smartphones and cell phones. Have copies available of Boomer Leader Legacy and Demographic Clues.

Transcript

  • 1. BM2B - Matching Talent to Need The Intergenerational Workplace - and its’ impact on the future of our organizations 1
  • 2. Which generational cohort do you belong to? Boomers - 1947 to 1966 Generation X - 1966 to 1979 BM2B - Matching Talent to Need Traditionalists - pre 1947 Generation Y - 1980 to 1995 2
  • 3. Today 30 25 30 20 10 5 0 Traditionalists Boomers Gen X BM2B - Matching Talent to Need 40 40 Gen Y 3
  • 4. 50 40 30 20 10 0 22 20 1 7 BM2B - Matching Talent to Need Tomorrow 50 4
  • 5. Multiple cohorts with differing views of the workplace – creates conflict Dominant boomer cohort on the way out - creates an expertise gap BM2B - Matching Talent to Need The challenges 5
  • 6. Boomer exodus = Expertise Gap  vacancies rise  forces up training & development costs  Creates skills and knowledge gaps BM2B - Matching Talent to Need Boomers leaving 6
  • 7. Gen Y @ 2x Boomers @ 1/2 BM2B - Matching Talent to Need The impact 7
  • 8. What we want Generation Y Loyalty, respect for authority Company loyalty, competition Self reliance, independence Community loyalty, equity Company goals Team and personal goals Career goals Learning and growth Company performance Personal and company performance Personal results and fun Speed of career movement For doing the job Reward for results, recognition for contribution Reward for outcomes Reward for learning and knowledge acquisition Job security, company success, live to work Work defines self worth, live to work Work/life balance, work to live Lines between personal and work blurred. Pack orientation BM2B - Matching Talent to Need Boomer Generation X Traditionalist 8
  • 9. “This is the 21st century, old man,” he said. “We don’t waste money on newspapers. Here, you can borrow my iPad.” I can tell you, that fly never knew what hit it… BM2B - Matching Talent to Need I was visiting my son-in-law and daughter last night when I asked them if I could borrow a newspaper. 9
  • 10. What current leaders want Concerns Motivators % Do not enjoy mentoring or coaching 53 Afraid of redundancy 56 No one needs their knowledge 35 Not interested in giving their knowledge away 30 Reason % Organization views skills transfer as a priority 73 Will receive reward/recognition for doing it 20 Skills transfer part of retirement planning 38 Get satisfaction from teaching others 64 Reverse mentoring in place 18 BM2B - Matching Talent to Need Reason 10
  • 11. The solution • Boomer Leaders are accountable Boomer • Risk assessment is completed (ROI) Leader • Knowledge transfer process is developed Legacy Process BM2B - Matching Talent to Need • Critical roles and skills are identified 11
  • 12. Learning styles Digital Immigrants Digital Natives Nonlinear (hyperlinked) logic of learning Focused mainly on facts and knowledge acquisition Focused more on learning how to learn Guided learning Autonomous learning Learning in specified time periods Learning 24/7 Face-to-face learning Interactive virtual learning Learning as duty Learning as fun Rote learning Analogical learning *Conference Board of Canada, Bridging the Gaps. BM2B - Matching Talent to Need Linear acquisition of information 12
  • 13. Knowledge Transfer Process transferred? 2. What process is best suited to learning styles of intended future leaders? 3. Which knowledge transfer methodologies should BM2B - Matching Talent to Need 1. What knowledge and expertise needs to be be applied? 13
  • 14. BM2B - Matching Talent to Need Aligning Boomers and GenY 14
  • 15. How we communicate Gen X Gen Y Boomer – 22% Gen X – 28% Gen Y – 27% Boomers = 20% GenX = 30% GenY = 39% BM2B - Matching Talent to Need Boomer 15 – 45% 15
  • 16. BM2B - Matching Talent to Need Attracting interest Research 16
  • 17. Attracting interest BM2B - Matching Talent to Need Research Network 17
  • 18. Research Network Mind your and ‘s BM2B - Matching Talent to Need Attracting interest 18
  • 19. Research Network Mind your and ‘s Think about your audience BM2B - Matching Talent to Need Attracting interest 19
  • 20. Research Network Mind your and ‘s Think about your audience Build a professional profile BM2B - Matching Talent to Need Attracting interest 20
  • 21. Multiple cohorts with differing views of the workplace – working together Dominant boomer cohort on the way out; effectively closing the pending expertise gap BM2B - Matching Talent to Need The challenges 21
  • 22. BM2B - Matching Talent to Need The Intergenerational Workplace - and its’ impact on the future of our organizations 22