Workplace Frustration: How to Reduce It and Manage Generation Y for An Increase in Company Profits
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Workplace Frustration: How to Reduce It and Manage Generation Y for An Increase in Company Profits

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Business owners and managers are frustrated by the difficulty of managing Generation Y and for retaining them for any reasonable length of time. If they will accept the reality of generational ...

Business owners and managers are frustrated by the difficulty of managing Generation Y and for retaining them for any reasonable length of time. If they will accept the reality of generational differences in the midst of a rapidly changing work environment, they can resolve workplace frustration, keep these young professionals around longer, and increase their profits.

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Workplace Frustration: How to Reduce It and Manage Generation Y for An Increase in Company Profits Workplace Frustration: How to Reduce It and Manage Generation Y for An Increase in Company Profits Document Transcript

  • WORKPLACE FRUSTRATION: HOW TO REDUCE IT AND MANAGE GENERATION Y FOR AN INCREASE IN COMPANY PROFITS This generation wants to be your best employee, to learn, and to stay on the job.Business owners and managers are frustrated by the difficulty ofmanaging Generation Y and for retaining them for any reasonable lengthof time. If they will accept the reality of generational differences in themidst of a rapidly changing work environment, they can resolve workplacefrustration, keep these young professionals around longer, and increasetheir profits.
  • Promoting Business Retention of People and ProfitsTable of ContentsIntroduction .................................................................................................................................................. 2Why I Am Writing This Paper ........................................................................................................................ 5Background ................................................................................................................................................... 6 The Concept of Generations ..................................................................................................................... 6 Generational Differences .......................................................................................................................... 6 What Happens if Businesses Ignore Generational Differences? .............................................................. 7Four Generations in the Workplace Today ................................................................................................... 8 Traditionalists............................................................................................................................................ 8 Baby Boomers ........................................................................................................................................... 9 Generation X ............................................................................................................................................. 9 Generation Y ........................................................................................................................................... 10Workplace Challenges................................................................................................................................. 11 Today’s #1 Challenge .............................................................................................................................. 11 Today’s #2 Challenge .............................................................................................................................. 11 Today’s #3 Challenge .............................................................................................................................. 12 What Happens if Businesses Hire Gen Yers But Do Not Accept Their Differences? ............................... 13The Solution ................................................................................................................................................ 13 The Solution to Frustration and Gen Y Turnover .................................................................................... 13 I. Understand Generational Differences ................................................................................................. 13 II. Appreciate Gen Yers and Adapt to Change......................................................................................... 13Opportunity.................................................................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.Closing ......................................................................................................................................................... 16©Generational Gap Coaching, 2011 Page 1
  • Promoting Business Retention of People and ProfitsIntroduction Most of the business leaders today are people ages 46 to 70s; they areTraditionalists (Trads) and Baby Boomers (Boomers). Many continue to build successfullives around thriving businesses. They are a presence at the office with increasedattention to health and meaning in their lives and the lives of their employees. Theywork hard and strive to achieve, just as they did through the ups and downs of the last40 or so years. They are excellent strategists; they are winners and are proud of howthey have supported family and community with their guts, drive and talent (GDT). Theyhave prospered and helped many others prosper. Many today are focused on savingwhat they have worked so hard for; improved quality of life and positive social change.However, all that business owners and managers have become and have done for theircommunities is being tainted with frustration. Traditionalists and Boomers put into place the systems of todays workenvironments, which are hierarchical, competitive, have established locations withspecified schedules, and supervised internet use. Successful workplaces of the past arefrustrating today and are disrupting this traditional Boomer “work-style”. Changes inworker demographics, global economy and technology are impacting the workenvironment and threaten feelings of loss for traditional owners and managers; loss ofconviction for choices that prolong accomplishment, loss of certainty for what worksbest, and loss of being leader and having the last word. These same broad changes are the formative events that create differences inthe values, attitudes and beliefs (VABs) among employed generations, particularlyGeneration Y (Gen Yers), ages 18 to 31. Because technology, communications andglobal economies have changed so quickly, young professionals today bring greaterdegrees of difference than ever before to workplaces lead by Traditionalists andBoomers. Conflict and a forced-change in work style are most often in areas of time,loyalty and technology, where the most change has occurred. There is no way ofresolving changes already in motion and deeply imbedded in the minds and psyche ofall workers; they must be accepted and managed. Each generation brings its own set ofVABs to the workplace, which clash as generational differences, create frustration at alllevels, and impact productivity as well as profits. Here are some examples of workplace frustration:  A Gen Y employee asks to come in late the next day because skiing is important to him and new snow is expected tomorrow.  Several employees call on Monday morning to say that they were in Denver overnight for a Bronco game and are on their way into work.  A new hire left a required training session because he decided he didn’t need it.  All younger employees are wired to technology, and the supervisor can’t tell what they are doing.©Generational Gap Coaching, 2011 Page 2
  • Promoting Business Retention of People and Profits  The manager has a fatherly talk with the newly hired Gen Y, offering to help her and the response is that she does not want to be parented, but wants a peer relationship and opportunities. These employee situations would not have happened ten years ago. Experiencehas not prepared managers for these employee issues. The person in charge feels aloss of control and lack of certainty and is ready to give up on Gen Yers. This ismanagement frustration. Coworkers believe Gen Yers are “getting away with murder”.The Gen Y employee believes he will not get the career experience he needs at this joband begins to think about leaving. This is workplace frustration that can be alleviatedwith personnel training in generational differences. Frustration is a strong entry point for opening minds to appreciating generationaldifferences and the will to adapt to broad change. Learning about generationaldifferences and how they form in groups of people has been shown to improverelationships among workers. Understanding and accepting the aspects of fourgenerations in the workplace is essential for owners and managers to preparethemselves and their companies to integrate Gen Yer employees. Even more, Gen YerVABs are a condensed, behavioral representation of the future of business; theirdifferences can be understood within the framework of rapid advances in technology,globalization and other broad social shifts. I propose that accepting their differences issynonymous with acceptance of broad changes that affect how business is done today. Martin and Tulgan argue that business owners and managers must update thework environment to adapt to, not the wants and needs of a new generation but, a“workplace revolution precipitated by globalization and technology“. Shaped by thesechanges, Gen Yers are the best fit for success in companies that will adapt. Whencompanies welcome Gen Yers, they stay ahead of the rest in the knowledge ofgenerational differences, in technological advances for doing business faster and better,and in reinventing management in ways that develop and inspire all employees.Business adaptations to Gen–fit organizational leadership and shift the workplaceculture will go a long way for resolving workplace frustration, keeping youngprofessionals around longer and increasing company profits. Companies have several choices for dealing with generational frustration andturnover; they can refuse to hire Gen Yers or let them go, they can hire them with theexpectation they will assimilate current methods, or they can adapt to changing timesand apply Gen Yer values to the workplace. If Gen Yers are not hired or are forced toadapt to outdated ways of doing business, many companies will remain out of touchwith how work can be done better, faster and in ways expected by today’s consumers.“Gen Yers will bring a new style and perspective to the workforce, but unlessorganizations are willing to adapt, they risk losing billions of dollars to unwantedturnover and lost productivity.” (Sujansky, 2010) Companies will get even further behindthe ever-changing curve and turnover costs will continue to cut into company profits.©Generational Gap Coaching, 2011 Page 3
  • Promoting Business Retention of People and Profits If businesses choose to maintain a status quo, they will encounter bothheightened levels of frustration and costly entry-level turnover that seriously affectscompany profits. One-third of people in their 20s go through an average of seven jobs,more job changes than in any other stretch (Henig, 2010). Penelope Trunk of BrazenCareerist writes of her talented Gen Yer brother who left a top investment-banking firmwhen he expressed interest in a promotion “doing something he had never done before”that would be “very good for [his] development”. Instead he was put on a six monthproject where he felt he “wouldn’t learn anything”. Further, the head of his teamexpressed that he was the one "who controls if [he] gets promoted". In this case,frustration led to turnover. For Gen Yers, turnover is caused by outdated technology and managementmethods that don’t support their careers and as a result, they are stereotyped as "jobhoppers". Robert Barnard, founding CEO of Decode’s, explains that most of them startwith the intention of finding and staying at a great workplace, but become job hoppersover time as employers with an impression they are disloyal, are unwilling to make a biginvestment in them. He believes this lack of investment in an early stage of employmentcauses Gen Yers to start looking as they gain some experience. There is urgency forbusinesses to become dynamic, agile, and “cognizant of the expectations of the nextgeneration” for managing change (Meister, 2010). If employers adapt to Gen Y valueswith innovative attraction, development and retention plans, they have a better chanceof maintaining inherent loyalty. Outdated practices and outmoded technology havealready widened the generational divide in almost every workplace and contribute tounnecessary turnover. Gen Yers have what Boomer businesses need, but businesses cannot recognizethis until they appreciate generational differences and how business methods andworkplaces are changing. Gen Y assets for improving company profits outweigh theirneed for guidance and mentoring. Considering the three options for reducing employeecosts, not hiring Gen Yers, requiring them to adapt to business-as-usual, orunderstanding and managing their unique values, the latter has the greatest potentialfor company survival and positive cash flow. Only then will Traditionalists and Boomersseize the opportunity for generational partnerships, find renewed GDT and reinvigoratewith a fresh and relevant “work-style”. This paper identifies the lack of knowledge of generational differences as areason businesses have increased frustration and are losing money on Gen Y turnover.It will teach businesses the value of … • understanding and appreciating generational differences • keeping up with new ways of doing business • attracting, developing, and retaining Gen Yers as employees…for improved company profits.©Generational Gap Coaching, 2011 Page 4
  • Promoting Business Retention of People and ProfitsWhy I Am Writing This Paper This paper is for the owners and managers of businesses and organizations inthe United States today and relevant for businesses, employees, young people andtheir parents. I empathize with businesses attempting to both recover their finances andto create people, planet, profit-oriented enterprises. I am concerned that Gen Yers arebecoming stereotyped as difficult and not worth the trouble and for an economy thatneeds young employees, yet is rejecting them. What is being experienced bybusinesses that hire Gen Yers and what is being written about them is stagnatingcompanies and spoiling opportunities for promising futures. My purpose is to introducean appreciation for generational differences and Gen Y potential that will reduceworkplace frustration and improve profits. I am devoted to work-readiness for young people and I have mentored andtaught them in young mom’s programs, church youth groups, Girls Scouts, ColoradoDivision of Corrections, Western Colorado Conservation Corps, and the YouthWorkforce Investment Act summer internships. I promise research-based conclusionsand an optimistic point of view for Gen Yers as a company resource for getting into thesteady flow of change. I came to the topic of generational differences in the 1980’s while asupervisor/manager in the U. S. Postal Service, watching Morris Massey tapes for helpto supervise Traditionalists and Boomer clerks and carriers. I know fully the pain andfrustration of leading groups of people that I could only vaguely identify with. Unlessthey have had workplace experience, Gen Yers have no idea of what to expect of seniorgenerations when they start their first job. I envision “generational partnerships” andmanagement innovation based on the knowledge of generational differences and broadchange that will fulfill employees and make many companies prosper.©Generational Gap Coaching, 2011 Page 5
  • Promoting Business Retention of People and ProfitsBackgroundThe Concept of Generations The term generations is used loosely as “discrete birth year groups”, those bornand living within the same time of history (Strauss and Howe, 1991). Generations havebeen around for as long as the topic has been studied and although few are scientific,most research agrees that there are clear similarities in cohorts of age groups (PEW,2010). Generations may be named in several ways with differing spans of years.Groups of people living in the same periods of time experience social and culturalevents (formative events) like war, economic shifts, birth rates and medical andtechnological breakthroughs, that similarly shape their VABs, many of which changelittle throughout their lives. The concept is also endorsed by educators, marketers, andbusinesses who want to know the characteristics of generations who will be learning,buying, leading and working. Although about age, I use generations in preference to“old” and “young” for referring to groups of people at work who have similar VABs andneeds.Generational Differences Generational differences are a hot topic today because of how they are affectingthe workplace. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2011 WorkplaceForecast indicates that companies will give priority to training managers to resolvedifferences related to generational divides. Yet, many don’t believe they exist, or believethat such issues are anything more than normal “young verses old”. My experience inpersonnel management, the multitude of reports on the internet from every industry, andconversations with people about working with Gen Yers satisfies my need for evidenceof the annoying reality of generations at odds in the workplace. Generational differences are a consequence of differing formative events andgroup experiences in the lives of young people. The economy, good and bad, is strongfor creating VABs that trend. For example, Traditionalists were youth during the greatdepression; which shaped them as compliant, loyal to employers and appreciative of allthings. A Gen Yer recently shared that his grandparents, “Don’t throw anything away”.Anyone can understand how The Great Depression would have this affect on younglives but, can they respect it as a reason for why the boss will not replace outdatedtechnology? After all, it’s not broken! Fast forward to 2010; Gen Yers have experiencedvolatile, social change and have no problem tossing out the old, yet they do believe thatbusinesses should finance beneficial solutions for handling waste. In the end, thistendency toward consumerism makes them understandably more confident with changeand more open to it than their early-generational peers; a generational difference.©Generational Gap Coaching, 2011 Page 6
  • Promoting Business Retention of People and ProfitsWhat Happens if Businesses Ignore Generational Differences? If left unrecognized, generational differences can lead to high employee turnoverand workplace frustration. If left unchecked, they will hamper teamwork, productivity andcompany profits. In a recent Society for Human Resource Management survey, 40% ofhuman resource professionals observed conflict among employees as a result ofgenerational differences. In organizations of 500 or more employees, 58% of HRprofessionals reported conflict between younger and older workers, largely due todiffering perspectives on work ethic and work-life balance (Gravett, 2011). The issue isso important that a new survey of Human Resources professionals in Americanindustries found that 59% of them will train line managers in 2011 to resolve differencesrelated to generational divides (McCafferty, 2011). Conflict takes over as each generation believes the other needs to be like them.Each generation believes their paradigm is correct and views the actions of others asneeding to be changed. As an example, PEW research reveals that more Traditionalistsand Boomers believe that technology wastes time while more Generation X (Gen X)and Gen Yers believe that it saves time. Traditionalists observe Gen Yers on cellphones or in groups having fun and conclude they are not getting work done, that cellphones need to go. Gen Yers show impatience for Boomers’ who control internet useand want help with their new cell phone. This is the day-to-day friction behind highturnover of Gen Yers. The four generations in the workforce have differing degrees ofacceptance for change and hold vastly different sets of values, beliefs and expectations(Meister, 2010). Because change has come so rapidly, the entry of Gen Yers makes abigger gap in generational VABs than ever before.Table 1 Generations are Socialized with Core Messages That Create GenerationalDifferences Aspects of Traditionalists/Boomers Gen X/Gen Yers GenerationsTechnology Wastes company time and money Saves the company time, moneyTime Work is done at the office and until Work can be done anywhere, completed anytimeWork The most important thing Work is best when blended with friends, family and funFamily So important must work hard to More important than career provide for itReligion Organized and central to life and More spiritual and less religious family participationService to Necessary and outside of workplace Important enough to do with workOthers©Generational Gap Coaching, 2011 Page 7
  • Promoting Business Retention of People and ProfitsGenerations in the Workplace Today Four generations are at work together today. Although predicted to have beengone from the workforce by 2011, Traditionalists are six percent and Boomers 41percent of the workforce, some with no thoughts of retiring (Herrick, 2011). The currenteconomic recession has affected retirement for these two groups and many have lostjobs that were intended to fund long-planned, early exits. Yet, researchers warn theywill steadily retire within the next ten years. Presented in the following text is each of thefour generations by age-range, formative events, what they are best known for, and theattributes they bring to the workplace.Table 2 Generations Working Together Generation Born Age Range Population* In US WorkforceTraditionalists 1928-1945 66-83 46 6%Baby Boomers 1946-1964 47-65 78** 41%Generation X 1965-1980 31-46 50 29%Generation Y 1981-2000 11-31 80** 24% Gen Z, iGen 2001-2020 0-10 0 0% *In Millions ** Jennifer Clampet, USAG, April 2010Traditionalists: Veterans, Matures, Duty & Family Traditionalists experienced the aftermath of the Great Depression, WWII, and theKorean and Cold Wars; and have been named the Veterans for their dependability,sacrifice, and patriotism. They demonstrate a company loyalty that places duty beforepleasure. Many survived difficult times to get a post-war education and, throughteamwork and the help of Post-war Prosperity, built the modern infrastructures ofreligion, education, business and family that support the American economy today.They face the greatest amount of change with technology in their home and work lives. They are known for having the traditional family that many describe as all-members working together with grandparents as an integral part. Children learnedresponsibility and hard work from their elders with clearly designated roles and lines ofauthority based on respect for age. “Mothers who worked home production relegatedchild care to the older children or servants and maids; they didn’t suspend work to savora baby’s first steps or discuss with their husband how to facilitate a grade-schooler’s“self-esteem”. Such families emphasized formality, obedience to authority, and traditionin their childrearing (Coontz, 1992). They remain in the workforce today as leaders inbusinesses and organizations.©Generational Gap Coaching, 2011 Page 8
  • Promoting Business Retention of People and ProfitsBaby Boomers: Large group, Competitive, Growth, Work Ethic The birth of Boomers was a global event after WWII, comprised of Traditionalistparents living in a prosperous post-war economy. They are the largest generation fortheir time and only recently outnumbered in the United States by Gen Yers. Formativeevents include witnessing via television the Vietnam War, Watergate scandal, and theassassinations of John and Bobby Kennedy. These events formed their understandingof institutions as fragile and unworthy of their trust. They were shaped by two majortechnologies; the television and the computer. Unlike the computer, television was lovedby former generations and grew in households from 12 percent in 1950 to 83 percent in1958. It became the most powerful communication medium available at the time. Yet, itwas the computer that most impacted their work lives. (Meister & Willyerd, 2010).Boomers are remembered as activists for social reform, fighting in, dying in andprotesting the Vietnam War, marrying later in life than their parents, becoming self-indulgent workaholics, and being extraordinarily idealistic and optimistic. They still occupy the largest share of the workforce today. Educated andconfident, they believe that work is the most important thing and have ambitiouslypursued economic, financial, personal, and community growth, along with huge socialchanges. They expected that hard work would allow them to retire early to a life of theirdreams and yet, recent internet blogs blame them for taking jobs from younger workers.They have been the most studied generation for their economic and social impact. Martin & Tulgan (2006) divide the Boomers into two groups, Woodstockers born1946–1953, and Young Baby Boomers born 1954-1964. They argue that the two groupswere shaped similarly yet experienced different economic circumstances that causedthem to behave differently. Basically, the younger Boomers did not have the venue tolive-out their expectations and sought inner change, personal empowerment andapproached a work-life balance that showed up strongly in the generation that followed.Generation X: Self-reliant, Tech Savvy, the Me Generation The number of births declined dramatically between 1965 and 1980, creating thesmallest generation, Gen X. They were shaped in their young adult years by the GulfWar, the AIDS epidemic, and some of the most profound economic changes since theindustrial revolution; an emerging global economy, corporate downsizing, and the1980’s tech boom and bust. They are known best for their self-reliance, individualism,and skepticism. Dubbed the “Me Generation”, the U.S. Army recruited from thisgeneration with a direct call for Gen Xers to become an “Army of One” from 1980 to2001. They were Dot.com stars, strong in technology skills. They pioneered the free-agent workforce, “taking responsibility for the direction and evolution of their owncareers” in an uncertain job market (McDonald & Hite, 2009). Events like 9/11reinforced their free agency and self-reliant attitudes. In the workplace they are free-agents, self-reliant, skeptical of management and corporations, and entrepreneurial.©Generational Gap Coaching, 2011 Page 9
  • Promoting Business Retention of People and Profits Gen X was quite a shock to the Boomer workplace. They formed a new meaningfor career success and a decidedly different perspective on work ethic. They werelabeled the “slacker generation” in their first work encounters with Boomers. Lacking thesocial skills of their parents, they deeply value their personal contacts and learned earlyto lean on friends for companionship and support. Comprised of a large number of newimmigrants, they have an increasingly tolerant attitude toward racial diversity and adistinguished global perspective. As children of workaholic Boomers and domesticsocial change, they were called “latchkey kids” who cared for themselves after schooluntil their parents returned home. They responded with an intention for work-lifebalance, strong family connection, and flexible work hours and places. Gen X is caught between two much larger cohorts: Boomers, who arethreatening to work later in life than other generations did, and Generation Y, thenewest employees who seem to have a natural kinship with the Boomers, their parentsand friends. Although some expected them to replace company leaders, the economyhas slowed progression plans and bypassed this generation that is less willing to makea Boomer-work-style sacrifice for leadership positions. Similar to Gen Yers in thisregard, it is their revised meaning of career success that creates frustration for businessowners and managers today.Generation Y: Achieve Now! “Digital Natives”, the We Generation Although Gen X set the stage for future trends in generational values, Gen Yershave their own unusual set of economic and socially impacted traits. At 80 million theywill soon outnumber Boomers in the workplace. Shaped by 9-11 and the Iraq war,rapidly changing technology and corporate greed, exposure to Ponzi schemes, andindustry bailouts that signaled a worldwide economic crisis, they anticipate change andfollow Gen X as free-agents for developing their own careers. One in four has at leastone college-educated parent supporting them to be the most educated for their time.(Raines, Arnsbarger, 2010). They are the first generation with early childhood, digitalmedia success and sufficient organized social capital to collectively impact the 2008presidential election. In the workplace they are socially connected, technologicallyadvanced, ethnically diverse, and ready to achieve. They have high expectations, cleargoals and are willing to work hard. While these qualities are considered good for gettingwork done, Gen Yers are thought of by some to have an unprecedented sense ofentitlement and self-worth (Boseman & Herbison, 2009). They have older parents, werebrought up in smaller families, and are accustomed to being the center of attention; theyexpect to have the support they need to achieve and can be impatient for it. Rainesexplains that they tend to be less satisfied than Gen Xers with their jobs and employers.While Gen Y VABs are like Gen X, they are stronger in ways that frustrate even Gen X.Johns warns that “technically able, highly informed and confident, but lacking direction,Gen Yers are most likely to “rock the boat” than any prior generation (as cited in Eisner,2005).©Generational Gap Coaching, 2011 Page 10
  • Promoting Business Retention of People and ProfitsWorkplace Challenges There are three major workplace challenges today. They include owner andmanager frustration with generational differences around time, loyalty, technology, thehiring of much needed Gen Yers thwarted by generational differences, and high Gen Yturnover that increases company costs.Today’s #1 ChallengeWorkplace Frustration with Differences in the Meaning of Time, Loyalty andTechnology It is reported today that Gen Yers are causing an upset in the workplace. Nearly60% of human resource professionals in large companies report conflict betweenyounger and older workers (Eisner, 2005). Meister and Willyerd point out that Boomershad set the norm for the workplace not long ago when they were 50% of the workforcebut are only 30% now. They project that Gen Yers will set the new norm for theworkplace in 2014 when they become 50% of the workforce. They will be put into keyleadership positions 50% faster at this point, and have less time to get ready thanBoomers did. This perhaps explains their urgency. In the meantime, Traditionalists andBaby Boomers are most of the leaders, business owners and bosses today. They arelooking for their GDT in young professionals and believe Gen Yers will in time, change.As they don’t see this happening, frustration levels rise. Workplace frustration comesfrom lack of understanding and simply not knowing what to do. The highest potential forworkplace frustration is in the areas of greatest generational difference: the meaning oftime, loyalty and technology (Marston, 2007).Today’s #2 ChallengeBusinesses Need Gen Yers Yet, Are Not Hiring Them Because of GenerationalDifferences Businesses will need to hire Gen Yers in the near future. An aging workforce,declining birthrates, the need for technology skills, and loss of leadership due to retiringBoomers indicate that competition for workers will increase. Companies have littlechoice but to consider young new hires. But will Gen Yers be willing to work with thecompanies that want them? Businesses need Gen Y employees but don’t hire them because of Generationaldifferences. One reason Gen Yers leave jobs for other companies is to manage theircareers. As free agents in a volatile corporate economy, they are less able to focus onjob security. Young professionals today need up-to-date technology, competent andsupportive coworkers, and engaged and innovative management for guidance andaccess to thought-leaders. They must be in workplaces that provide these. This new©Generational Gap Coaching, 2011 Page 11
  • Promoting Business Retention of People and Profitsconcept of free-agency in career development is often misunderstood as selfish, lackingloyalty and a bad fit for the company. Unfortunately, companies are not hiring Gen Yers because of what they haveexperienced in their workplace when in fact they are not prepared for the unique waysthis generation contributes their value. In my conversations with business owners andmanagers, I hear that young workers don’t want to work, expect too much and are tooself-focused. I ran into a friend who told me that she was letting her Gen Y employee gobecause she was selfish. She had a good education, did quality work, but asked forschedule changes too often and was on her cell phone too much. This manager wasproud to say she was done with the young ones and hired a 40 year old to replace theGen Yer. On the upside, a local business owner shared that his company wasacknowledged nationally in his business sector in 2010 for having the highestpercentage of employees under age 30, which was only eight out of 52. It is amazingthat he stands out nationally for hiring a small percentage of Gen Yers. Generationaldifferences are a hurdle for business owners and managers.Today’s #3 ChallengeBusinesses Need Gen Yers Yet, Lose Them Because of Generational Differences Gen Yers are often let go from jobs or they leave because bosses do not knowabout generational differences. They are unable to manage or help them develop theircareers. Understanding for each generation and a good look at how these developedhas been shown to relieve frustration and give managers a direction for engaging eachgenerational type. Most companies today are led by Boomers and some Traditionalists, who arereluctant to both accept broad social changes and to recognize how Gen Yers are aproduct of them. They are not convinced that rapid changes in technology, new ways ofusing time for work, and vague loyalty will make the company money. At the end of theday, if workplaces have not kept up, they have a tough time over generationaldifferences and trouble managing Gen Yers. From my studies thus far and relationships with Gen Yers, I believe their value inperception and comprehension of social trends (i.e. teamwork, collaboration,technology, diversity, meaning for task, social consciousness, and ambition forachievement) far outweighs their teachable behavioral and skills deficiencies. Theyneed more training and experience with interpersonal communication,planning/organizing, dedication/tenacity, reliability, loyalty, and self-motivation. In waysexplainable through a sociological lens, Gen Yers have been nurtured and can work in aculture which innovative markets require, and Traditionalists and Boomers often loathe.©Generational Gap Coaching, 2011 Page 12
  • Promoting Business Retention of People and ProfitsWhat Happens if Businesses Hire Gen Yers But Do Not Accept Their Differences? If businesses can not accept the unique aspects of Gen Yers at work, they will beforever frustrated. Managers and coworkers will be at a loss for how to work with them,assuming Gen Y will assimilate established methods procedures for time, loyalty andtechnology. One generation will blame another and teamwork will suffer. As frustrationgrows, it will be difficult to retain any generation of employee. Many will not want to workthere yet some will stay because they need a job. Employees will become unwilling totry anything new, even if required. Cash flow will suffer as productivity and turn-arounddrag. The business brand will convey a message that its products and services are old-fashioned, and for old-fashioned people because that is what the business will be.Customers will find it unpleasant to do business there and to get the quality and latestversion of product or service they shop for. They will tell their Social media contacts oftheir disappointment. The number of customers will drop off, and the rest of the story isa common one. Generational differences get in the way of quality business and if leftunchecked; will hamper teamwork, workplace productivity and company profits.The SolutionThe Solution to Frustration and Gen Y Turnover The solution to workplace frustration and high Gen Yer turnover is for businessowners and managers to understand generational differences, appreciate Gen Yers andthe change they represent, give up resistance to change, adapt for managinggenerational differences, and Gen-fit themselves and the company leadership.I. Understand Generational Differences Recognizing and accepting four varying sets of generational VABs is a necessarystart for reducing frustration and high turnover as well as making plans for the future. Ifyou’ve read this far you already know a lot about generations. Deloitte researcher W.Stanton Smith identifies generational differences as dilemmas that offer “multiple viableoptions” yet, none that can provide lasting solution; they can only be managed or elsedealt with over and over again.II. Appreciate Gen Yers and Adapt to ChangeAppreciate Gen Yers Gen Yers are skilled in technology, have social capital, are educated, open todiversity, and socially responsible; qualities that reflect broad change for how businessis done today. When engaged and achieving, work is fun for them and coworkers arefriends. They like to learn and most plan to continue their education for higher degrees©Generational Gap Coaching, 2011 Page 13
  • Promoting Business Retention of People and Profits(Eisner, 2005). They want to learn from all generations and want to be leaders, so Iheard from my Gen Y Advisors (Gen Y, 2011). They expect to learn more all of the timefinding knowledge “if and when I need it” with technology. Along with tech savvy they have “social capital”, a killer-combination for ourtimes. In her book, The Facebook Era, Clara Shih describes social capital as ”thecollective value of all social networks and the inclinations that arise from these networksto do things for each other” and is useful for adapting to a diverse and rapidly changingworkplace.Adapt to Change Frustration is reinforced by rapid change in the people components ofmanagement: demographics, available skills, will to work, and level of comfort withtechnology. “It is time to make a transformational leap in organizational practices” if yourbusiness is going to be “relevant to a rapidly changing world around us” (Meister, 2010).Businesses that are adapting to changes in todays workplace, particularly aroundtechnology and use of time, are much more able to adjust to changes that are justaround the corner.©Generational Gap Coaching, 2011 Page 14
  • Promoting Business Retention of People and ProfitsOpportunity Generational Gap Coaching helps owners and managers resolve the pressingproblem of frustration with Gen Y employees. We remove the pain of consistentdisappointment with new hires and mitigate the constant trickle of increasing costs. Weget company leaders back in control of their workplaces and leading with GDT. We helpcreate work environments where employees want to be because there is no doubt theyare a part of a relevant, enthusiastic team. Access to our services is fast, easy andcompletely confidential. Even better, it’s free. Go to our Website at www.GenerationalDivideCoaching.com where you will finda Business Assessment tab at the top of the Home page. Click on that and completethe 10 question Business Assessment. Then, I will call you to schedule a free 30 minuteStrategy Session. This will give us the chance to talk about how we can help you reducegenerational frustration and employee turnover. Your company or organization mayqualify for a 2-hour Generational Differences presentation for your employees. Thepresentation is offered only to businesses in the Grand Junction area and at this price(free) for a limited time. Honestly, we want success stories as quickly as possible. Thereis no risk and lots of reward for taking early action. If this sounds like the workplace you want and are ready to have it for yourself,go to www.GenerationalDivideCoaching.com (or, call Tinker at 970-589-0020) now andcomplete the Business Assessment. I would give you a guarantee if there was somerisk on your part but in truth, you have everything to gain by getting in touch with us assoon as possible.©Generational Gap Coaching, 2011 Page 15
  • Promoting Business Retention of People and ProfitsClosing Today, business owners and managers face growing frustration with changes inbusiness leadership and the increasing cost of keeping good employees. SHRM reportsthat companies will face radical workplace reconstruction for aging populations withincreased health care and retraining costs, a shortage of skilled workers and retirementof Boomers (Miller, 2011, SHRM, 2010). For example, SHRM expects a loss of laborrelations expertise within the HR profession due to retirement of Boomers and Gen X/Gen Y purposefully avoiding the area (SHRM, 2010). In addition to health benefits, training, retraining, and ramping-up interpersonalcommunications, turnover rates are a big expense. The June 2011, Bureau of LaborStatistics news indicates that overall national turnover for all industries and regions islevel at 2.9%. However, nearly half occur in three industries: retail trade, professionaland business services and accommodation and food services. It is in these areas thatGrand Junction is hoping to expand economic development. In local Listening toBusiness research, businesses report that “lack of workforce has potential to impedegrowth”. Mesa County shows a continuing “downward trend in the size of the workforceas people move out to find employment elsewhere” just as jobs are hard to fill in“growing sectors”(Castle, 2011). Many say that the number one issue facing businessesis finding and keeping good employees, and Gen Yers are the most difficult to keep.Problems with replacement planning and high turnover are present in many businessesand across all industries throughout the country. Gen Yers are prioritizing job security inmore recent years yet, 30% are anticipated to have seven jobs during their twenties(Henig, 2010). Today Gen Yers are looking for companies where they can develop their careersand stay at one job longer. It is often lack of opportunity to build their careers and lowlevels of interaction with owners and managers that contribute to high turnover. PollyLaBarre argues that “it is time to radically rethink how we mobilize people and organizeresources to productive ends”. She writes that although the aspects of standardization,specialization, hierarchy, and obedience of century-old modern managementcontributed to immense prosperity, they are fundamentally at odds with those of thisage. Familiar work-styles that honor Traditionalist and Boomer GDT are less acceptedand don’t get the same results in business as they did in years past. The focus of generational conflict must move to the greater issue of owners andmanagers becoming knowledgeable about changes in the way work is being done andto identifying how a work-style shift will benefit their company. For broad and lastingprotection against workplace frustration and high turnover, businesses must understandgenerational differences and Gen-fit the GDT of Traditionalist and Boomer leadership toboth adapt to change and hire and keep professional Gen Yers. Companies that don’tdo this will trail or lag behind companies that do.©Generational Gap Coaching, 2011 Page 16
  • Promoting Business Retention of People and Profits ReferencesAssociated Press, The. (2011). Jobless rate falls to 2-yer low; companies say they’ll hire. Daily Sentinel, April 2, 2011.Associated Press, The. (2011). Hiring burst marks possible turning point for workforce. Daily Sentinel, April, 2011Barnard, Robert. GenY Employees: restless job hoppers or under-invested potential? Retrieved from http://www.decode.net/index.php/geny-employees-restless-job-hoppers-or underinvested-potential/Bernstein, L. (2006). Generational differences in key workplace dimensions. Generations Working Together.Bureau of Labor Statistics Economic News Release, June 7, 2011. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htmBoseman, G., & Herbison, G.ls. (2009). Here They Come-Generation Y. Are You Ready? Journal of Financial Service Professionals, (2009), 33-34.Brown, A. (2011). Crossing the Generational Divide. Financial Post, 2011. Retrieved from http://www.financialpost.com/executive/Crossing+generational+divide/4615659/story.htmlCastle, P. (2011) Labor juxtaposition Mesa County jobless rate moves higher, but jobs getting harder to fill. Business Times, July 28, 2011, 23.Clampet, J. (2010). Understanding a multigenerational workforce. Retrieved from http://www.army.mil/article/37476/Understanding_a_multigenerational_workforce/Coontz, S. (1992). The way we never were; American families and the nostalgia trap. New York, NY. Basic Books.Covey, Stephan M.R. (2006). The Speed of Trust: the one thing the changes everything. New York, NY. Free Press.D. S. McMillen, personal communication, June 14, 2011.Eisner, S.P. (2005). Managing generation y. Society for the Advancement of Management Advanced Management Journal, 4-15.Fenn, D. (2010). Upstarts: How Gen Y are rocking the world of business and 8 ways you can profit form their success. McGraw Hill.Gen Y Advisors, (2011), personal communication, March 30, 2011.Gravett, L. (2011). Managing conflict across generations.Retrieved at http://training-modules.com/contributions/managing_conflict.aspGross, J. (2009). Compensation today: the costs of employee turnover. Retrieved from http://blogs.payscale.com/compensation/2009/12/costs-of-employee-turnover.htmlHenig, R. (2010). What is it about 20-somethings?: Why are so many people in their 20s taking so long to grow up?” Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/magazine/22Adulthood-t.html?.Jouflas, G. (2009). Listening to Business L2B3-2009. Executive Summary. Grand Junction, Colorado.LaBarre, P. (2011). Is your company fit for the future (and for human beings)? Retrieved from http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/06/is_your_company_fit.html.Malone, T. (2010). “The future of work”. Retrieved from http://mitworld.mit.video/229/ .Marston, C. (2007). Motivating the “what’s in it for me?” workforce: manage across the generational divide and increase profits. John Whiley & Sons, Inc.Martin, Tulgan. (2006). Managing the generation mix: From urgency to opportunity. Amherst, Mass: HRD Press, Inc.McDonald, K. S., & Hite, L.M. (2008). The next generation of career success: Implications for HRD. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 10(1), 87-103.McCafferty,D. ( 2011) 10 trends that will change your workplace. Retrieved fromhttp://www.baselinemag.com/c/a/Intelligence/10- Trends-That-Will-Change-Your-Workplace-580123/McElhaney, K. (2010) personal communication, October 2010.Enlightened Business Summit, global teleseminar.©Generational Gap Coaching, 2011 Page 17
  • Promoting Business Retention of People and ProfitsMcMahon, M. & Patton, W. (2006). Career development and systems theory: Connecting theory and practice, 2nd ed. Rotterdam/Taipei: Spense Publishers.Meister, J. (2011). M-learning: From anticipation to reality. Retrieved from http://2020workplace.com/blog/Meister J. & Willyerd, K. (2010). The 2020 workplace: How innovative companies attract, develop, and keep tomorrow’s employees today. www.harpercollins.com. Harper Business, Harper Collins.Meister, J. Teleseminar, 10/19/2010Miller, S. (2011). Declining health of U.S. workers is driving up employer costs: Obesity has largest impact on employers’ health care expenditures. Retrieved from http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/benefits/Articles/Pages/DecliningHealth.aspxMiner, Casey. (2011). This is your brain on change. Ode Magazine, June 2011.PewResearchCenter. (2010). Millennials: a portrait of generation next; confident. connected. open to change.Pinkovitz, William H., Moskal, J. and Green, G. (2006). How much does your employee turnover cost? Retrieved from http://www.uwex.edu/ces/cced/economies/turn.cfm..Raines, C. & Arnsparger, A. (2010) Generations at work. Retrieved from http://www.generationsatwork.com/articles_millennials_at_work.phpReh, J. (2011). New employee training - is it worth the investment. Retrieved from http://management.about.com/cs/people/a/NEO112597.htmShih, C. (2011). The facebook era. San Francisco:Prentice Hall.Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). (2010). Workplace forecast, future insights report 2010.Smith, Gregory P. (2011) The Perfect storm: The impending workforce crisis. Retrieved from http://www.businessknowhow.com/manage/workforce-crisis.htmSmith,W. S. (2008). Decoding generational differences: Fact, fiction …or should we just get back to work? Deloitte LLP.State of Colorado Annual Workforce Demographics Report Fiscal Year 2007-2008 Retrieved from http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite?bfrom lobcol=urldata&blobheader=application%2Fpdf&blobkey=id&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobwhere=1235627227175&ssbina ry=trueStrauss W. & Howe, N. (2000). Millennials rising: The next great generation. New York: Vintage Books.Sujansky, J & Ferri-Reed, J. (2009). Keeping the Millennials: why companies are losing billions in turnover to this generation – and what to do about it. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.Trunk, P.(2006). Managing generation y (How to manage my brother). Retrieved from http://www.BrazenCareerist.comTulgan, B. (2000). Managing generation x: How to bring out the best in young talent. New York: WW Norton & Company.Tulgan, B. (2009). Not everyone gets a trophy: How to manage Generation Y. www.josseybass.com, Jossey-Bass.Vuleta, Christina. (2011). 20-Somethings: what you risk by switching jobs too often. Retrieved fromhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/christina-vuleta/career-change_b_836473.html©Generational Gap Coaching, 2011 Page 18