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Managing Intergenerational Conflict in the Workplace Susan Haywood, MA, CHRP Human Resource Blueprints Ltd shaywood@hrblueprints.ca (613) 867-2554. What is this all about?. First time ever that we have 4 different generations in our workforce working together side-by-side

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Managing Intergenerational Conflict in the Workplace

Susan Haywood, MA, CHRP

Human Resource Blueprints Ltd

shaywood@hrblueprints.ca

(613) 867-2554

what is this all about
What is this all about?
  • First time ever that we have 4 different generations in our workforce working together side-by-side
    • Traditionalists, Boomers, Xers, and Millennials (Y’s)
  • Each of these generations were impacted by various events that shape who they are and how they work
  • We need to understand what motivates the various generations and how to work together
workplace conflicts
Workplace Conflicts
  • Conflicts frequently have generational issues as their cause
    • “He is not committed to his job”
    • “He has a poor work ethic”
    • “He does not follow direction”
    • “I can’t believe the way he/she dresses”
    • “What do you mean I can’t work from home on Friday’s”
the challenge
The Challenge

"Managing multigenerational workforces is an art in itself. Young workers want to make a quick impact, the middle generation needs to believe in the mission, and older employees don't like ambivalence. Your move."

Harvard Business School "Working Knowledge“ newsletter, April 2006: "Can you manage different generations?"

a new generation gap
A New Generation Gap

“The term Generation Gap was used mostly to describe conflicts between parents and children. Today, the “Gap” has more of a presence in the workplace, where employees from different generations are finding it difficult to work side by side because their experiences, goals and expectations are different”.

GOVEXEC.com

what shaped you
What Shaped You?
  • National Events
  • Music
  • Technology
  • Values
  • Relationships
  • Parental Expectations
  • Other?
traditionalists generation
Traditionalists Generation
  • Majority (95%) of them have retired
  • Possess intellectual capital and institutional knowledge
  • Have strong work values and ethic
  • See themselves as vigorous, contributing members of the workforce
  • Silent stoicism (not much feedback given or expected)
managing the traditionalists generation
Managing the Traditionalists Generation
  • Offer opportunities for them to mentor
  • Offer opportunities to continue working
  • Allow them to volunteer if they do not want to continue working
  • Show them that you value their expertise and contributions
baby boomers
Baby Boomers
  • The “Me” generation
  • More hours equals better performance; now regret
  • They are the managers that are running our organizations today
  • Career oriented
  • “Love the good life”
  • Love job performance feedback
managing the baby boomers
Managing the Baby Boomers
  • Help them explore their next set of workplace options, and demonstrate how your organization can continue to use their talents.
  • Walk the talk on work-life balance by redesigning their jobs to accommodate multiple life demands.
  • Encourage them to enrich their present job and grow in place if they need to slow their career pace.
generation x
Generation X
  • The next generation of leaders
  • The most well educated generation
  • Goal-oriented
  • Free Agents vs. Company Loyalist
  • Thrive on independence
  • Want to be challenged
  • Led dot.com boom
managing the generation x
Managing the Generation X
  • Talk to them about their reputation, not just job tasks; they want your candid perspective and feedback
  • Acknowledge their ability to work independently and encourage them to leverage their entrepreneurial abilities.
  • Help them get the most out of every job position by discussing what the job can do for them and what they can learn from it.
millenniums
Millenniums
  • Value independence but need supervision
  • Look for new challenges
  • Challenge the status quo
  • We’re all in this together
  • Want the opportunity to make an impact
  • Fear boredom more than anything else
managing the millenniums
Managing the Millenniums
  • Demonstrate the stability and long-term value of your organization, and also show how your organization is flexible and filled with learning opportunities for them.
  • Provide work schedules that help them build careers and families at the same time.
  • Make groups and teams part of their job.
generational factoids
Generational Factoids
  • Only 14% of survey respondents choose Generation X as the generation most comfortable managing and this included Xers themselves
  • One-third indicated that they were often offended by someone from another generation at work
  • 45% of Xers come from families that have experienced divorce

BridgeWorks' 2001 Generations Survey

generational factoids1
Generational Factoids
  • When asked who they are most loyal to at work, Xers put co-workers first, their boss or project next, and the organization last
  • 40% of Xers said having a mentor directly influenced their decision to stay at their current job.
  • Millenniums ranked “personalsafety” as their #1workplace issue.

BridgeWorks' 2001 Generations Survey

generational factoids2
Generational Factoids
  • 29% of the Traditionalists agreed that a person should build their career with one employer, compared to 14% for Boomers and 11% of Xers
  • When asked “Which generation is the best at finding work-life balance?”, all generations picked Generation X
  • Millenniums indicated that flexible workplace and opportunity for promotion was more important than salary

BridgeWorks' 2001 Generations Survey

3 strategies to manage by
3 strategies to manage by:
  • Communication
  • Delegation
  • The Gift of Feedback
communication
Communication
  • What do your employees want from a work environment?
    • Forget exit surveys; why do people stay?
    • What do you want from your work environment?
  • Talk about people’s differences amongst your team
  • Develop an action plan specific to your team
  • Talk about conflict – do not let it fester
delegation
Delegation
  • Boomers want teamwork, Xer’s want independence, Y’s want more responsibility
  • Delegation can be the answer to everyone’s needs
  • Prepare Xer’s for the next role, challenge Y’s, give Boomers some much needed balance
  • Requires accountability and feedback
  • P.S. Forget how long it took you to reach the point where things were delegated to you…those days are gone!!
the gift of feedback
The Gift of Feedback

Keys to providing effective feedback:

  • Immediatefeedback – to recognize good performance, and address performance issues as they arise
  • Positive and constructive feedback – direct, non-judgmental, ethical and based on values governing the policy
  • Specific feedback – the feedback should pinpoint targeted strengths and areas for improvement
  • Give feedback OFTEN – keeps employee on course, prevents work from going “off the rails” for long periods of time, and reduces the stigma of giving feedback.
keys to providing effective feedback
Keys to providing effective feedback:
  • Spend time with your employees to discuss the work and see how they are doing
  • Explain how the employee’s work contributes to the big picture
  • Delegate based on employee workload and capabilities
  • Show your commitment to their objectives by providing needed support and direction.
star model for giving feedback
STAR Model for Giving Feedback
  • S Situation - describe the SITUATION where the behaviour occured
  • T Task – describe the TASK the employee performed
  • AAction – describe the ACTION the employee chose in this situation
  • R Result - describe the outcome that occurred as a RESULT of the action

If it is constructive feedback add an additional AR:

  • A Alternative Action- suggest an ALTERNATIVE ACTION the employee could have chosen in this situation
  • R Aleternative Result - describe the likely outcome that would have occurred as an ALETERNATE RESULT of the alternate action