Pink Hair in a Land of Bifocals Managing the Generations in the Workplace
Learning Objectives • Identify the generations in the workplace and define them by experience and events • Compare and contrast the values and the potential outcomes of generational interaction • Consider potential problems within the organization when people fail to communicate effectively • Offer strategies for cross generational communication including feedback styles
Why learn about the Generations • Changing demographics • Better understand it’s impact in the workplace • Increase personal competency in communication and management • Promote teamwork
Generations at work • Events and conditions during our formative years help define who we are and how we view the world • The generation we grow up in is just ONE influence on adult behavior Generational differences may INFLUENCE behavior but they don’t DETERMINE our Interactions.
Recent Generations • Born Between • Traditionals (1922-1943) • Baby Boomers (1943-1960) • Generation X (1960-1980) • Millenial (Gen Y) (1980-1990) • Contains iY (1990 - )
Grown up during the great depression Fought in WWII Radio Rise of Labor Unions Traditionals (Silent Generation) 1925-1944
Traditionals • Value duty, discipline and thrift • Expect to be called upon for personal sacrifice • Don’t expect life to be “fun” • Believe conformity is good and individuality is bad • Delayed reward • Believe in hard work
Assets Detail oriented Thorough Loyal Hard working Stable Liabilities Don’t like change or ambiguity Won’t buck the system Don’t like conflict Reticent when they disagree On the Job
Working with Traditionals • Direct leadership style • “We’ve always done it that way” • Like being respected for their experience • Status symbols are big
Baby Boomers (1943-1960) • Cold War • Korean Conflict • Civil Rights • May have served in Vietnam • Suburbs • Rock & Roll • TV
Baby Boomer traits • Vast majority of management and administration in organizations • “Cleaver” family • Optimistic • Relationship oriented • Spared harsh discipline and day care stresses • Pay with plastic
Boomer Core Values • Optimism • Team orientation • Personal gratification • Health and wellness • Personal growth • Youth • Work • Involvement • Identify themselves by jobs • Ladder oriented
Assets Service oriented Driven Willing to go the extra mile Good at relationship Good team players Liabilities Not naturally budget minded Uncomfortable with conflict Overly sensitive to feedback Self centered Judgmental of those who see things differently Boomers on the Job
Working with Boomers • Believe they are leading consensually but they may not be! • Show them where they can excel • Public recognition • Reward work ethic
Generation X (1960-1980) • Slacker or “Me” Generation • Challenger Tragedy • AIDS • Fall of the Berlin Wall • MTV • Apple Computers • Gulf War
The Gen X “Me Generation” • Mom began working outside home • More skeptical and less optimistic than Boomers • Tech savvy • Less relationship oriented than Boomers – resent close supervision
Gen X Core Values • Diversity • Thinking globally • Balance • Technoliteracy • Fun • Informality • Self-reliance • Pragmatism • Work to play
Assets Technoliterate Independent Adaptable Not intimidated by authority Creative Liabilities Impatient Poor people skills Inexperienced Cynical Xer’s in the Workplace
Working with Xer’s • Be willing to flex schedule • Hands off supervision • Make work fun • Offer professional development • Realize their need for variety at work • Out of the box rewards
Millennial Generation (Born in 1980’s and 1990’s ) • 9-11 • Cell Phones • MP3 players, downloading, Napster… • Information Super highway • Instant Messaging • Facebook, My Space • Reality TV • Iraq
Gen Y’s Core Values • Optimisim • Civic Duty • Confidence • Achievement • Sociability • Morality • Street Smarts • Diversity • Want to move up fast
Traits and Tendencies of Gen Y • Impatient • Adaptable • Innovative • Let them multi-task • Ask for their input • Harness their energy • Source of new ideas
Traits and Tendencies, cont; • Efficient • Desensitized • Projects with dead-lines • Move away from hourly pay • Connect through their hearts
Working with Millenials • Budget time for plenty of orientation • Dump idea of traditional gender roles • Continue professional development • Mentor programs
Traits and Tendencies, cont. • Disengaged • Skeptical • Resilient • Emphasize the good stuff • 100% truth • Let them in on the future
And more …… • Disrespectful • Blunt • Tolerant • Committed • Don’t demand • Structured forum • Don’t segregate them • Make them believe!
Generation iY • Overwhelmed – 94 % stressed out 44 % depressed 10% considered suicide • Stress is both external and internal
Over-connected • Respond to stress by getting lost in virtual world or by trying to over perform • Don’t take time for self discovery • Short on patience, listening skills and conflict resolution
Overprotected • Safety, safety, safety! • So sheltered by parents, teachers, counselors and government that they have trouble learning independent coping skills.
Overserved • Very high self esteem • 80% of high school students feel they are very important people • Where do they get this idea?
Tips for connecting with the iY generation. • EXPERIENTIAL • PARTICIPATORY • IMAGE RICH • CONNECTED
Generational Feedback • Feedback style and form can be impacted by generational differences
Feedback styles • Traditionalists – “No news is good news” • Boomers – “Feedback once a year and lots of documentation.” • Xers – “Sorry to interrupt but how am I doing?” • Millenials – “Feedback whenever I want it at the push of a button
Generational Meaning of Feedback • Traditionalists – seek no applause but appreciate subtle acknowledgement that they have made a difference • Boomers often give feedback to others but seldom receive feedback, especially positive • Xers need positive feedback to let them know they are on the right track • Millenials are used to praise and may mistake silence for disapproval – need to know what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong
Motivating the Generations • One size does not fit all!
Traditionals Use personalization Visual status symbols
Boomers • Public recognition • Perks • Chance to prove themselves • Get them quoted in journal or newsletter • Consensus • Reward work ethic
Gen X • Give multiple projects • Constructive and constant feedback • Freedom and fun • Technology • Watch out for the “good old boy’ network
Gen Y • Personal • Proportionate • Punctual • Public
Generational Work Performance Expectations • EVERY employee should be held to the same standard • No adaptation should be made that compromises the integrity of the job or compromises the effectiveness on your department to carry out its mission