Bridging Generational Gaps in the Workplace


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Presented at Events by Design Small Staff Association Superheroes Workshop, October 16 2012

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Bridging Generational Gaps in the Workplace

  1. 1. Bridging Generational Gaps in the Workplace Shira Harrington Founder & President, Purposeful Hire
  3. 3. S OME F RIENDLY D ISCLAIMERS Create awareness not stereotypes People are individuals -- diverse characteristics Generational diversity affected by:  Parental upbringing and socialization  Socio-economic demographics
  4. 4. K IDS T HESE D AYS ! “Children today are tyrants.They contradict their parents,gobble their food and tyrannize their teachers.” Socrates (470-399 B.C.)
  5. 5. T RADITIONALISTS View of Work:  Work is an obligation, not career fulfillment  Adherence to rule / policies / structure  Knowledge is power / need-to-know basis  Command and control; military style
  6. 6. B ABY B OOMERS• View of Work:  Success = face time and “playing nice”  Work is my identity  Tend to be workaholics  Retirement or reinvention?• Personal Lives  “Sandwich Generation”, Financial crises, debt reduction, “Soccer Mom” stress
  7. 7. G ENERATION X View of Work:  Independent, project focused  Respect is earned  Don’t micromanage me!  Won’t sacrifice work-life balance for career  Waiting for Boomers to retire
  8. 8. M ILLENNIALS View of Work:  View supervisors like their parents  Want to be kept in the loop  Work hard / play hard  Demand options  Want latest technology  Demand immediate (hopefully positive) feedback
  9. 9. D ECLINE OF E MPLOYER L OYALTY Who are YOU loyal to? Older generations loyal to employer 1990s recession broke loyalty contract Millennials tuned to station WIIFM Employees are paid volunteers Focused on career advancement
  10. 10. S UCCESSION P LANNING / M ENTORINGWhere is the next generation of employees? Millions of Boomers eligible to retire Shortage of Gen-Xers to backfill leadership Mentoring is motivator for Millennials Recruit your Veterans / Older Boomers
  11. 11. D ESIRE FOR W ORK - LIFE B ALANCE Every generation needs it!  Veterans are transitioning out of the workforce  Baby Boomers are “sandwiched”  Gen-X “works to live”  Millennials don’t know any other way!  Helps with stress / burnout
  12. 12. TECHNOLOGYOlder workers: Forced to learn it Often resistant and less proficientYounger workers: Don’t know a world without Productivity tool, not a perk Receptive to reverse mentoring
  13. 13. C OMMUNICATIONOlder workers: face-to-face or phone More formal, deferential to authorityYounger workers: email, texting, FB Less formal, casual relationship to authority
  14. 14. E NGAGING THE G ENERATIONS Manage Using The “Platinum Rule” Foster a Culture of Innovation Be Fair…not necessarily Equal Offer Mentoring and Coaching Create Flexible Scheduling Options Keep Pace with Technology Be Open to Change
  15. 15. TOOLS OF E NGAGEMENT Hire for Career Motivators Manage Expectations…Early! Solicit Performance Conversations Keep Employees In the Loop Take Regular Pulse Checks Create Opportunities for Team Building Mentor for Career Advancement
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