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The newest form of workplace diversity. For the first time in history, 4 generations are working together in the same job market – often in the same work place. Economy. Events. Each generation is shaped by specific external events…. Culture.

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For the first time in history, 4 generations are

working together in the same job market –

often in the same work place.


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Economy

Events

Each generation is shaped by specific external events…

Culture


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When considering generational differences, certain

generalizations are utilized.

Not everyone in a specific generation will exhibit all of these characteristics, but most will exhibit some of these traits.



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TRADITIONALISTS

Who Are They?

Born pre-1946

52 Million

5-7% of the workplace

Hold close to 2/3 of nation’s financial assets Matures/veterans/The Silents

Critical Historical Influences

Depression

New Deal

World War II

Korean War

Strengths

Disciplined

Experienced

Committed

Cultural Factors

American Age

Economic deprivation to wealth

Family values

Role of Federal government

Role of Hierarchy/Authority

Challenges

Change

Meritocracy

Technology


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WORKING WITH TRADITIONALISTS

Appreciate and respect their experience.

Provide structure and organization.

Use them as mentors.

Provide flexible work options to retain them.

Structure technology training carefully.

Human interface.

Tokens that reward their experience and indicate their status.


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BABY-BOOMERS

Who Are They?

Born 1946-1960/1964

75 million

15-55% of the workforce

A new 50-year-old every 7 seconds

Critical Historical Influences

Civil Rights/Women’s movements

Space race

Vietnam

Assassinations

Woodstock

Earth Day

Strengths

Residual idealism

“Can Do” attitude

Seek to please

Cultural Factors

Self awareness

Post-war prosperity

Indulgence/expectations

Television and marketing

Activism

Challenges

Judgmental

Self-centered

Control/competition


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WORKING WITH BABY-BOOMERS

Recognition/reward/credit

Opportunity to work in teams.

Work to build consensus; gather their input.

Opportunities for professional and personal development.

Capture their experience.

Provide “soft” benefits


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GENERATION X

Who Are They?

Born 1960/64-1979

45 million

35-45% of the workforce

Critical Historical Influences

Watergate

American hostages in Iran

Stock Market crash of 1987

Challenger disaster

Fall of Berlin Wall

Desert Storm

Cultural Factors

Economic recession

Rise of personal computers

Divorce & two-income families

Latch-key kids

AIDS

Strengths

Independent

Results-oriented

Creative/adaptable

Challenges

People/political savvy

Impatient

Cynical


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WORKING WITH GENERATION X

Allow autonomy

FAST feedback

Opportunities for continued learning and development.

Notion of non-linear retention.

Open communication, information flow.

Flexible benefits.

Access to decision-makers.

Challenge, fun, excitement.


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MILLENNIALS

Who Are They?

Born 1980 – 2000

70 million

2-5% of the workforce

Critical Historical Influences

Dot Com boom

Roaring Nineties

Oklahoma City bombing

Clinton/Lewinsky

Columbine

Election 2000

September 11, 2001

Strengths

Multi-taskers

Globalized

Commitment to mission

Collaboration/teamwork

Tolerance of differences

Cultural Factors

Peace

Prosperity/opportunity

Globalization

Information revolution

Diversity

Challenges

Lofty expectations

Supervision curve

Technology demanding

Work-Life balance


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WORKING WITH MILLENNIALS

Provide structure and guidance.

Provide feedback often.

Provide positive reinforcement often.

Ask for their input.

Team orientation/collaborative work projects.

Updated technology.

Emphasize projects, not time.

Challenge and increasing responsibility.

Clear mission, policies, and values.


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A Word to the Wise….

Each generation assumes that the succeeding generations

will experience the same desires, have the same values and appreciate

and cherish the same things, in a unchanging continuum.

Cam Marston, Motivating the Workforce: What’s in it for Me?


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GENERATIONAL CLASH POINTS

Friction points come from many

directions when all four generations

share the same work space.

Expectations

Policies/procedures

Work style

Work ethic

Motivation

Rewards

Balance

Language/culture


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From the Top Down

Traditonalists are disciplined conformists

who work well in a structured, hierarchical

environment.

They are in the distinct minority in the workplace,

but often hold much of the authority.

They are likely to mistrust the Boomers and the

Xers because their basic values are not in sync.

They could be excellent mentors to the Millennials

because they share many of the same values.

They do not understand their lack of work ethic,

however, or their innate dependence on

technology.


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Baby Boomers

Distrust Traditionalists as too conforming.

Stress individuality and independence.

Want to achieve success on their own.

Don’t understand the skepticism of the Xers.

See Xer’s as opportunists, disloyal “job-jumpers.”

Do not place as much emphasis on technology as Xers and Millennials.

View Millennials as spoiled.


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Generation Xers

View Traditionalists as out of touch and Boomers as naïve.

See themselves as strong, survivors.

Money is their guiding principle.

Do not prefer to work in collaboration with others; do not share Millennial preference for team-work.

Not afraid to buck tradition in the name of progress.

What’s in it for me?

Do not understand Millennial need for

structure and feedback.


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Millennials

Entitled; don’t understand “paying dues.”

Technologically savvy.

Seek work-life balance.

Often lack social/political skills.

Want to collaborate.

Lack self-confidence, but have high self-esteem.

Require clear guidelines, policies, feedback.

Often “manage up.”


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Don’t Forget the CUSPERS!

One leg in the generation before and one

leg in the generation after.


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What Does This Mean for Employers?

This is the most recent – and perhaps the most complex-

form of Diversity in the workplace

.

Generational Diversity.

The form of diversity that

affects every human being

on a daily basis – generational

differences.

Lancaster & Stillman


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What does this mean for Career Professionals?

There are two main questions to address:

How can we help students become better interns/employees from the first day on the job?

How can we help employers understand/train their newest workers?


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Our New Role in Employer Relations

Building bridges between academia and the workplace.


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Building Bridges in the Workplace

Reduce the stereotypes, which arise from resentment.

Find common ground and common values.

Enlist the “Cuspers.”

Identify the key organizational functions where understanding generational differences can make an impact on the bottom line:

Recruiting

Retaining

Managing


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What Does This Mean for Internship/Co-op Advisors?

We are the front line of the new workplace!

What we do with our students as interns will determine in large part

the kind of workers they will become.

How we work with on-site supervisors is critical to intern success and

Could assist employers in learning how to manage Millennials.

It will also determine whether or not we continue to provide internships to particular employers.

There is no time

to waste!


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A Final Word

Rather than working toward corporate cultures where everyone is becoming more similar, it’s time to search out the corners of the office for people who bring different generational perspectives to the table. Lancaster & Stillman


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Recommended Reading

2007 Volunteer IMPACT Survey, Deloitte & Touche.

The Wounded Healer, Generation Gaps in the Workplace, Michael E. Rock, Ph.D., 1999.

MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures Encore Career Survey, 2005 and 2008.

Success for Hire, Alexandra Levit, 2008.

http://www.beloit.edu/mindset/2012.php.

Managing the Generation Mix, Carolyn A. Martin, Ph.D. and Bruce Tulgan, 2002.

Managing Generation Y, Carolyn A. Martin, Ph.D. and Bruce Tulgan, 2001.

When Generations Collide, Lynne C. Lancaster and David Stillman, 2002.

Generations at Work, Ron Zemke, Clair Raines, and Bob Filipczak, 1999.

From Boomers to Bloggers, Misti Burmeister, 2008.


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