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Four Generations and What to Do About Them. Kelli D. Peck Parrott, Ph.D. Director and Associate Clinical Professor, Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education kpparrott@tamu.edu Texas A&M University. Theory to practice….

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four generations and what to do about them

Four Generations and What to Do About Them

Kelli D. Peck Parrott, Ph.D.

Director and Associate Clinical Professor, Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education

kpparrott@tamu.edu

Texas A&M University

theory to practice
Theory to practice…
  • What were the national events you remember as you were growing up?
generations the history of america s future 1584 2069 strauss howe 1991
Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584-2069(Strauss & Howe, 1991)

Generations:

  • Length is approx. the phase of birth to adulthood, 22 years.
  • Boundaries are fixed by peer personality
  • Four primary types of generations: Idealist, Reactive, Civic, and Adaptive
two important social moments
Two Important Social Moments
  • Secular Crisis

Focus on reordering the world of institutions and public behavior

  • Spiritual Awakening

Focus on changing the inner world of values and private behavior

types of generations
Types of Generations
  • Idealist - increasingly indulged youths after a secular crisis
  • Reactive - grow up under-protected and criticized youths during a spiritual awakening
  • Civic - Increasingly protected as children after a spiritual awakening
  • Adaptive - Overprotected and suffocated youths during a secular crisis
our upper level administrators co workers silents or traditionalists 1925 1942
Our Upper Level Administrators & Co-workers – Silents or Traditionalists (1925-1942)
  • Spent their youth in the great depression and WWII
  • The “in-between” generation
  • No US president (If Mr. McCain had won, he would have been the first)
  • Very protective parents, who were sacrificing for them
our upper level administrators co workers silents or traditionalists 1925 19428
Our Upper Level Administrators & Co-workers – Silents or Traditionalists (1925-1942)
  • After all their parents sacrificed and went through and having experienced the Depression, they still feel somewhat lucky to have jobs.
  • Have seen so much change so quickly in the workplace.
our coworkers supervisors boomers 1943 1960
Our coworkers & supervisors…Boomers (1943-1960)
  • Looking for spiritualism, flocked to drugs and religion; most active era of church formation in the 20th century
  • Redefined Gender roles – gender was their issue
  • “A generation that when young trusted nobody over 30 today trusts nobody under 30.”
  • Issues – remember when…; seen a great deal of change, especially in the workplace; raised with the work ethic of parents who survived the depression and WWII.
our coworkers supervisors boomers 1943 196010
Our coworkers & supervisors…Boomers (1943-1960)
  • Work is a dominant force in their lives; they often sacrifice far too much for the good of the employer.
  • One Benchmarks leadership study was full of largely Boomer execs lamenting over sacrificing time with family, spouses, and personal interests for the sake of work (Downing, 2006).

Downing, K. (July/August 2006). Next generation: What leaders need to know

about Millennials. Leadership in Action, 26, 3.

our coworkers and mid managers xers 1961 1981
Our coworkers and mid-managers…Xers (1961-1981)
  • True children of the 1960s and 1970s
  • Awakening period to their parents for them was a nightmare of self-immersed parents, disintegrating homes, AIDS, and a “Me” economy
  • Find a world of more punishing consequences than anything the Silent or Boom generations ever knew
  • Knew that where the Boomer children had been worth the parental sacrifice of prolonging an unhappy marriage, they were not
our coworkers and mid managers xers 1961 198112
Our coworkers and mid-managers… …Xers (1961-1981)
  • Not shielded, so adult life held no secrets…believe they need to keep their eyes open, expect the worst and handle it on their own
  • Two-thirds have found they have to work harder than other generations to enjoy the same standard of living
  • Try to call as little attention to themselves as possible, really have not come together as a generation. You can find anything in this group.
  • FEAR
  • Race was their issue
millennials the next great generation howe strauss 2000
Millennials – The Next Great Generation(Howe & Strauss, 2000)
  • Young Americans born 1982 or after
  • Most numerous, affluent, and ethnically diverse generation in American history
  • Largely the children of Boomers, pre-teens are the children of Xers.
millennials our colleagues
Millennials…our colleagues???
  • Conventional – turning back toward traditionalism, but with a modern twist –very rules oriented and highly moral
  • Confident – very optimistic about people and themselves
  • Special – have been perceived as special since birth
millennials our colleagues15
Millennials…our colleagues???
  • Sheltered – sheltered and protected in ways that prior generations have not
  • Pressured – feel more stress than any other generation has
  • Achieving – group is perceived as achieving so individuals feel pressure to keep up
  • Team Oriented – oriented toward teams rather than individuals
slide16

Millennials…our colleagues?

  • Very close to their parents. You are not just getting an employee, but parents too.
  • Helicopter parents
  • Family oriented – 71.3% considered raising a family to be an “essential or very important objective”
  • These parents provide a great deal of support, but also intrusion and annoyance as well.

ACE & UCLA Higher Education Research Institute, The American freshman: National norms for Fall 1999.

slide17

Millennials…

  • “Candidates are stalling on job offers to consult with their parents. Parents are calling hiring managers to protest pay packages and trying to renegotiate.”
  • Numbers of companies are involving parents in the recruiting process with welcome packets and including them on informational sessions, but not beyond.

Downing, K. (July/August 2006). Next generation: What leaders need to know

about Millennials. Leadership in Action, 26, 3.

millennials our colleagues18
Millennials…our colleagues?
  • Very technologically savvy, though there are socio-economic differences.
  • Often form initial opinions of organizations based on their websites.

Downing, K. (July/August 2006). Next generation: What leaders need to know

about Millennials. Leadership in Action, 26, 3.

our work and workplaces
Our work and workplaces…
  • By 2010 will see an exodus of Boomers – 2 leaving for every one new hire (Gerdes, 2006)
  • 85 million Baby Boomers, 51 million Xers, 75 million Millennials

Theilfoldt, D. & Schief, D. (August 2004). Generation X and the Millennials: What you need to know about mentoring the new generations. Law Practice Today.

issues and areas of conflict
Issues and areas of conflict…
  • Issue: Silents and Boomers have sacrificed all for the company/organization, Millennials appear to have no loyalty to the organization.
  • Common Ground: This is not new. Xers were not loyal either. Millennials and Xers seem to form more loyalty to the project, their co-workers, and perhaps the values of the company. Are looking for companies that value social responsibility, diversity, and the environment.

Gerdes, L. (September, 2006). The best places to launch a career. Business Week, 4001.

issues and areas of conflict21
Issues and Areas of Conflict

Issue – The generations share a similar language with totally different meanings. Ex. Broken record technique, OMG, BFF

Common ground – Find means for keeping up, Facebook, MySpace, blogs

issues and areas of conflict22
Issues and areas of conflict…

Issue: Silents and Boomers feel devalued, as if their experience and contributions are no longer important. Millennials are not willing to pay their dues.

Common Ground: Millennials are impatient to make an impact, but they are eager for feedback. While they want to be respected, they are also looking for leadership. Several orgs are giving new employees senior level mentors.

Gerdes, L. (September, 2006). The best places to launch a career. Business Week,

4001.

issues and areas of conflict23
Issues and areas of conflict…

Issue: Silents, Boomers, and especially Xers are highly independent. The Millennials’ involvement of parents and need to work on teams is seen as childish. “They just need to grow up!”

Common Ground: The biggest complaint about Xers was their inability to work with others. Millennials do this well and can teach us all. The truth is teams do accomplish more than individuals.

issues and areas of conflict24
Issues and Areas of Conflict

Issue: Authority – Silents respect it, Boomers have a love-hate relationship with it, but now are the authority. Xers are unimpressed with it and Millennials do not see the need for it.

Common Ground: They are used to instant answers and the internet, the great equalizer. They will seek out the most knowledgeable and influential person regardless of rank. Training and information are key.

Robinette, K. (July 24, 2009). Millennials in the workplace challenge managers. Daily Journal of Commerce.

tips for working with millennials
Tips for working with Millennials…
  • State desired outcomes clearly and specifically, then get out of the way. Allow freedom to do it how, where, and when they prefer if possible, but with clear quality/volume expectations and timelines. Time is a 24/7 resource. Tell them when it’s due, not when to do it.
  • Put it in writing – they are rules oriented.

Heathfield, S. (n.d.). Managing the Millennials: 11 tips for managing the Millennials. Retrieved

November 1, 2009. http://humanresources.about.com/od/managementtips/a/millenials.htm

Shepard, S. (2004). Managing the Millennials. Retrieved April 28, 2008.

www.shepardcomm.com/managing-millennials-wp.pdf

tips for working with millennials26
Tips for working with Millennials…
  • Have the work be meaningful – help them see meaning and impact – KEY
  • Provide continuous feedback, but be as positive as possible – Oreo or sandwich method
  • Experiential learning is preferred; use different learning techniques, multimedia, activities, etc.

Phillips, C. (February, 2008). Get the best out of Millennials by tweaking

habits. Advertising Age, 79, 6.

tips for working with millennials27
Tips for working with Millennials
  • Be prepared to train them about EVERYTHING – assume nothing about behavioral norms
  • Cross-train – keeps them engaged, challenged, and helps them to form attachments to the work and colleagues (train them to get a job somewhere else)
  • Provide work-life balance – important to them and all of us.

Heathfield, S. (n.d.). Managing the Millennials: 11 tips for managing the Millennials. Retrieved

November 1, 2009. http://humanresources.about.com/od/managementtips/a/millenials.htm

tips for working with millennials28
Tips for working with Millennials
  • Provide leadership and guidance – they want to look up at you, be connected, and learn – mentor and coach.
  • Play to their strengths, let their creativity, technological skills, and brainpower loose and they will do amazing things.
  • Remember we were all young too…they are in the process of becoming.
the most important tip for working with millennials
The Most Important Tip for working with Millennials

People are like onions, they have lots of layers. Generation is only one layer and this information may or may not apply. There is criticism of these generational images.

Treat everyone as the INDIVIDUAL they are.

generational views
Generational Views

“Children nowadays are tyrants, they contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers.”

attributed to Socrates

references
References

ACE & UCLA Higher Education Research Institute, The American freshman: National norms for Fall 1999.

Downing, K. (July/August 2006). Next generation: What leaders need to know about Millennials. Leadership in Action, 26, 3.

Gerdes, L. (September, 2006). The best places to launch a career. Business Week, 4001.

Hallon, J. (March, 2008). Millennials at the gate. Workforce Management, 87, 4.

Heathfield, S. (n.d.). Managing the Millennials: 11 tips for managing the Millennials. Retrieved November 1, 2009. http://humanresources.about.com/od/managementtips/a/millenials.htm

Howe, N. & Strauss, W. (2000). Millennials rising: The next great generation. New York: Vintage Books.

Phillips, C. (February, 2008). Get the best out of Millennials by tweaking habits. Advertising Age, 79, 6.

Robinette, K. (July 24, 2009). Millennials in the workplace challenge managers. Daily Journal of Commerce.

Shepard, S. (2004). Managing the Millennials. Retrieved April 28, 2008. www.shepardcomm.com/managing-millennials-wp.pdf

Strauss, W., & Howe, N. (1991). Generations: The history of America’s future, 1584-2069. New York: Morrow.

Theilfoldt, D. & Schief, D. (August 2004). Generation X and the Millennials: What you need to know about mentoring the new generations. Law Practice Today.