Managing multigenerations in the Barbadian workspace[1]
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Managing multigenerations in the Barbadian workspace[1]

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MANAGING MULTI-GENERATIONS IN THE BARBADIAN WORKPLACE –...

MANAGING MULTI-GENERATIONS IN THE BARBADIAN WORKPLACE –
The Silent Crisis & New Strategies of Human Relations Management
For the first time since World War II, we are experiencing in the Western World
the interesting phenomenon of having four generations in the workplace sitting
and working side by side. In some cases, the baby boomers are working next to
their children and grandchildren of generations X and Y.
This phenomenon has attracted a lot of attention on the part of HR practitioners
in the USA but little research has been done to date in the Caribbean. This paper
will therefore seek to address a similar phenomenon taking place in the
Caribbean through the writer's own experience while serving on the Management
Team of a local statutory corporation.
The findings, though preliminary, are oft times humorous but can serve as a
linchpin to help us better understand the root cause of many of today's personnel
issues within the workplace. The paper further suggests that identifying this
phenomenon is a first step to creating solutions that cut across the needs of
these four generations.

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Managing multigenerations in the Barbadian workspace[1] Managing multigenerations in the Barbadian workspace[1] Presentation Transcript

  • Managing Multigenerations in the Caribbean Workspace – A Barbados Case The Silent Crisis & New Strategies of Human Relations Management Ian W. Walcott
  • Abstract MANAGING MULTI-GENERATIONS IN THE BARBADIAN WORKPLACE – The Silent Crisis & New Strategies of Human Relations Management For the first time since World War II, we are experiencing in the Western World the interesting phenomenon of having four generations in the workplace sitting and working side by side. In some cases, the baby boomers are working next to their children and grandchildren of generations X and Y. This phenomenon has attracted a lot of attention on the part of HR practitioners in the USA but little research has been done to date in the Caribbean. This paper will therefore seek to address a similar phenomenon taking place in the Caribbean through the writer's own experience while serving on the Management Team of a local statutory corporation. The findings, though preliminary, are oft times humorous but can serve as a linchpin to help us better understand the root cause of many of today's personnel issues within the workplace. The paper further suggests that identifying this phenomenon is a first step to creating solutions that cut across the needs of these four generations.
  • Definition of Multigenerations
    • Typically 15 – 20 years apart
    • Generation is defined by experiences 5-15
    • Marked by major historical turning points:
      • Locally
      • Regionally
      • Globally
  • The Standard Categories Based on US Data 1981 or later Generation Y 1965-1980 Generation X 1946-1964 Baby Boomers 1945 or earlier Matures BORN GENERATION
  • Adapting the Standard to Barbados 1983-2000 Generation of Privilege (Millennial Generation) 1970-1983 Post-Independence Generation 1958-1970 Generation of Independence 1937-1958 Generation of Struggle BORN GENERATION
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  • Barbados’ Population Breakdown
    • 1937-1958: 50-70 years old
    • 1958-1970: 38-50 years old
    • 1970-1983: 24-38 years old
    • 1983-2000: 07-24 years old
  • Barbados’ Population Breakdown
    • Ages 40-64 = 69, 000 – 27.6%
    • Ages 25-39 = 60,000 – 24.0%
    • Ages 15-24 = 36,000 – 14.4%
  • What are the facts and implications?
    • Barbados definitely has an ageing population
    • 1950, all countries in subregion had young growing populations w/ less than 10% population 60 +
    • 1975, Barbados the first country with more than 10% of population elderly
    • 2025, Barbados & Cuba are projected as first Caribbean countries 25% of population 60 +
    • By 2050 1/3 of population of 4 countries will be
    • 60 +
      • Barbados, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.
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  • Policies for the Ageing
    • In 1997 National Housing Corporation and Urban and Rural Development Commissions were established to:
      • address poverty
      • programmes aimed at improving housing conditions for the poor of whom many are elderly.
    • 2001 - National Policy on Ageing
    • 2003 - overhaul of existing pension schemes
    • 2003 - Occupational Pensions Benefits Act provides for establishment, management and regulation of occupational pension plans
  • Generation Markers - Generation of Struggle 1937-1958
    • First 100 years after Emancipation of Slavery
    • Social Engineering through legislation
    • The 1930s Riots throughout the Caribbean
    • World War I and incumbent hardships
    • Rise of trade unions
    • The Rise and Fall of West Indian Federation
  • Generation Markers - Generation of Independence 1958-1970
    • From colonialism to Independence
    • Period of Nation-building
    • Introduction of Free Education
    • First Generation of UWI graduates
    • Early signs of new professional class:
      • Teachers, Lawyers, Doctors
    • Early signs of emerging middle class
  • Generation Markers – Post-Independence Generation 1970-1983
    • New era of UWI trained politicians
    • Impressive economic growth
    • Expanding middle class (ownership, travel)
    • Introduction of family planning & birth control
    • Greater regional integration
    • Consolidation period of government social policies – education, health, housing
  • Generation Markers – Generation of Privilege /Millennial Generation) 1983-2000
    • High Human development index ranking 26 th -31 st
    • Highest PCI in history – US$11,000.00 (ppp)
    • Widespread introduction of ICTs and other technology (ABMs, computers in workplace
    • Rapid digitization
    • Cable TV
    • Widespread use of credit cards
  • Generation Profile - Generation of Struggle 1937-1958
    • Lifelong career oriented
    • Limited number of university graduates
    • Lots of on-the-job training & experience
    • Very loyal to organization
    • Dedicated and hardworking & process-driven
    • Likes hierarchy and protocol
    • Savers
  • Generation Profile - Generation of Independence 1958-1970
    • First generation of university graduates
    • Career oriented
    • Family oriented
    • Possess the middle class dream
    • Family planners & investors in property
    • Retirement planning
    • Still loyal to organizations – prefer lifelong careers
  • Generation Profile - Post-Independence Generation 1970-1983
    • Highly Educated
    • Independent thinkers & challenge authority
    • Loyal to self – will shift from job to job
    • Seeking balance between life and work
    • Must be challenged
    • Must have benefits
    • More negotiating power
  • Generation Profile - Generation of Privilege /Millennial Generation) 1983-2000
    • Very entrepreneurial
    • Highly digital and computer literate
    • Ability to multi-task
    • Perceived to have short attention spans
    • Have no problem with seismic organization change (M&As, downsizing, etc)
    • Better understanding of independent financial planning
    • Better prepared for global companies
    • More widely traveled
  • The ‘Cuspers’
    • Those who straddle two generations
    • Straddle by one or two years maximum
    • Tend to identify with the younger generation
    • Tend to have a mixed value system
  • Some cute things to look out for…
    • Names of the generation
      • Dorothy – Shaleeka
    • Managing the mobile phone
    • Handwriting
    • Tastes in music and other forms of pop culture
    • CCC = Credit cards, cable TV & contraceptives
  • In spite of privilege – Gen X & Y Show Higher Rates of Depression
    • In the West and Caribbean
      • Increased teen depression, suicide
      • Increased drug use
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  • Impact of multigenerations on Barbadian Workplace
    • First time in history we have four generations working together
    • Major source of tension
      • Older management vs. younger employee
      • Mutual misperceptions & misunderstandings
      • Territorial conflicts
      • Varying degrees of organizational loyalty
      • Inadequate HR policies to address this issue
  • Generational Perceptions
    • 1937 – 1970 view younger generation as:
      • Restless & flighty
      • Disrespectful & disruptive
      • Selfish & arrogant
      • Lazy
      • Too dependent on technology
    • 1970 – 1989 view older generation as:
      • More rigid
      • Less open minded
      • Risk averse
      • Focused on the past
      • Fearful of technology
      • Less effective
      • Incompetent
  • Challenges facing younger generation
    • Boards and Management still controlled by older generation
    • Needs are not catered to
    • Organizations are not adapting rapidly enough to changing technological environment
    • Organizations are viewed as too inflexible
  • Challenges facing older generation
    • Rapid pace of technological change
    • “ Too old to be hired too young to be fired”
    • Fear of returning to classroom
    • Insufficient resources for early retirement
    • Weakening negotiating position on job market:
      • Limited qualifications
      • Deemed health risks
      • Too expensive to train -> low return on investment
      • Resistant to change
      • Already reached salary plateaux
  • Older Workers Tend to Offer:
    • Wider skills
    • Broader experience
    • Wisdom
    • Good work ethic
    • Adaptability
    • Flexibility
    • Reliability
    • Dependability
    • Financial confidence
    • Fewer sick days
  • What do younger workers want?
    • Different experiences within the organization
    • Lateral moves
    • Be listened to
    • Ongoing development & training
    • Options of ownership
    • Flexible work arrangements
    • Balance of life & work
    • Express creativity
    • Purpose and passion
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  • Profiling the ABC Corporation
    • 47 staff members were profiled
      • 15 – Generation of Struggle
      • 24 – Independence Generation
      • 4 – Post independence
      • 4 – Millennials
  • How the generations can work together?
    • Special programmes must be put in place to support the needs of all generations
    • The older generations need to have better sense of security
    • The younger generations need better sense of purpose
    • Multigenerations need support and guidance to achieve success and corporate prosperity
    • Embrace creative employment strategies to retain and motivate workers of all ages
  • How the generations can work together?
    • Acknowledge, understand, and address changing demographics
    • Adopt new, dynamic approaches to engage and motivate aging workforce
    • Promote innovation and productivity in younger workers
    • Acknowledge, understand, and address changing demographics
    • Support work/life balance
  • Some immediate needs at the ABC Corporation
    • Older Generation
      • Job security till at least 65
      • Support with Health Care/Health Plan
      • Attention to housing needs and other social services
    • Younger Generation
      • Increased training and development
      • Sense of belonging
      • Challenges
    • Training programs
      • Workplace diversity/ageing in the workplace
  • Recommended Solutions for the ABC Corporation
    • A complete HR audit/survey should be conducted to determine:
      • True HR Generational Profile
      • HR Needs
      • Training & Development Needs
      • Issues affecting staff
      • Succession Planning
  • Practical HR Solutions for the ABC Corporation
    • Reinstallation of Employee of the Year Programme
    • Incentive Schemes (bonuses, trips, awards)
    • Enforce performance-based evaluations
    • Training (investment in degrees, overseas training, conferences, seminars)
    • Improved environment (modern interior office design, improved lunch room facilities, a gym, open spaces)
    • Health care plan
    • Onsite snack/lunch facilities
  • Q & A