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Generations in the Workplace: Challenges and Opportunities Kelli D. Peck Parrott, Ph.D. Director and Assistant Clinical Professor, Student Affairs Administration.

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Presentation on theme: "Generations in the Workplace: Challenges and Opportunities Kelli D. Peck Parrott, Ph.D. Director and Assistant Clinical Professor, Student Affairs Administration."— Presentation transcript:

1 Generations in the Workplace: Challenges and Opportunities Kelli D. Peck Parrott, Ph.D. Director and Assistant Clinical Professor, Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education kpparrott@tamu.edu Texas A&M University

2 Theory to practice… What were the national events you remember as you were growing up? What were the national events you remember as you were growing up?

3 Generations: The History of Americas Future, 1584-2069 (Strauss & Howe, 1991) Generations : Length is approx. the phase of birth to adulthood, 22 years. Length is approx. the phase of birth to adulthood, 22 years. Boundaries are fixed by peer personality Boundaries are fixed by peer personality Four primary types of generations: Idealist, Reactive, Civic, and Adaptive Four primary types of generations: Idealist, Reactive, Civic, and Adaptive

4 Types of Generations Idealist -increasingly indulged youths after a secular crisis Idealist -increasingly indulged youths after a secular crisis Reactive - grow up under-protected and criticized youths during a spiritual awakening Reactive - grow up under-protected and criticized youths during a spiritual awakening Civic -Increasingly protected as children after a spiritual awakening Civic -Increasingly protected as children after a spiritual awakening Adaptive -Overprotected and suffocated youths during a secular crisis Adaptive -Overprotected and suffocated youths during a secular crisis

5 Generations… Lost Generation 1883-1900Reactive GI Generation 1901-1924Civic Silent1925-1942Adaptive Boom1943-1960Idealist 13 th / Gen X 1961-1981Reactive Millennial1982-2003Civic Homeland2004-2024?Adaptive

6 Our Upper Level Administrators & Co-workers – Silents or Traditionalists (1925-1942) Spent their youth in the great depression and WWII Spent their youth in the great depression and WWII The in-between generation The in-between generation No US president (If Mr. McCain wins, he will be the first) No US president (If Mr. McCain wins, he will be the first) Very protective parents, who were sacrificing for them Very protective parents, who were sacrificing for them

7 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. 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. Have seen so much change so quickly in the workplace.

8 Our coworkers & supervisors… Boomers (1943-1960) Looking for spiritualism, flocked to drugs and religion; most active era of church formation in the 20 th century Looking for spiritualism, flocked to drugs and religion; most active era of church formation in the 20 th century Redefined Gender roles Redefined Gender roles A generation that when young trusted nobody over 30 today trusts nobody under 30. 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. 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.

9 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. 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). 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.

10 Our coworkers and mid-managers… Xers (1961-1981) True children of the 1960s and 1970s 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 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 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 Knew that where the Boomer children had been worth the parental sacrifice of prolonging an unhappy marriage, they were not

11 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 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 believe they will have to work harder than other generations to enjoy the same standard of living Two-thirds believe they will 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. 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 FEAR

12 Millennials – The Next Great Generation (Howe & Strauss, 2000) Young Americans born 1982 or after Young Americans born 1982 or after Most numerous, affluent, and ethnically diverse generation in American history Most numerous, affluent, and ethnically diverse generation in American history Largely the children of Boomers, pre-teens are the children of Xers. Largely the children of Boomers, pre-teens are the children of Xers.

13 Millennials…our colleagues??? Conventional – turning back toward traditionalism, but with a modern twist – very rules oriented and highly moral Conventional – turning back toward traditionalism, but with a modern twist – very rules oriented and highly moral Confident – very optimistic about people and themselves Confident – very optimistic about people and themselves Special – have been perceived as special since birth Special – have been perceived as special since birth

14 Millennials…our colleagues??? Sheltered – sheltered and protected in ways that prior generations have not Sheltered – sheltered and protected in ways that prior generations have not Pressured – feel more stress than any other generation has Pressured – feel more stress than any other generation has Achieving – group is perceived as achieving so individuals feel pressure to keep up Achieving – group is perceived as achieving so individuals feel pressure to keep up Team Oriented – oriented toward teams rather than individuals Team Oriented – oriented toward teams rather than individuals

15 Millennials…our colleagues? Very close to their parents. You are not just getting an employee, but parents too. Very close to their parents. You are not just getting an employee, but parents too. Family oriented – 71.3% considered raising a family to be an essential or very important objective 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. 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.

16 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. 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. Numbers of companies are involving parents in the recruiting process with welcome packets and including them on informational sessions. Downing, K. (July/August 2006). Next generation: What leaders need to know about Millennials. Leadership in Action, 26, 3.

17 Millennials…our colleagues? Very technologically savvy, though there are socio-economic differences. Very technologically savvy, though there are socio-economic differences. Often form initial opinions of companies based on their websites. Often form initial opinions of companies based on their websites. Downing, K. (July/August 2006). Next generation: What leaders need to know about Millennials. Leadership in Action, 26, 3.

18 Our work and workplaces… By 2010 will see an exodus of Boomers – 2 leaving for every 1 new hire (Gerdes, 2006) By 2010 will see an exodus of Boomers – 2 leaving for every 1 new hire (Gerdes, 2006) 2005 Bureau of Labor Statistics 2005 Bureau of Labor Statistics –23 million workers ages 55+ –69 million workers ages 35-54 –32 million workers ages 25-34 –22 million workers ages 16-24

19 Issues and areas of conflict… ISSUE: Silents and Boomers have sacrificed all for the company, Millennials appear to have no loyalty to the company. ISSUE: Silents and Boomers have sacrificed all for the company, Millennials appear to have no loyalty to the company. Common Ground: They do 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. Common Ground: They do 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.

20 Issues and Areas of Conflict Issue – The generations share a similar language with totally different meanings. Ex. Broken record technique, OMG, BFF 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, check for understanding Common ground – Find means for keeping up, Facebook, check for understanding

21 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. 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, and while they want to be respected they are also looking for mentors. Several companies are giving new employees senior level mentors. Common Ground: Millennials are impatient to make an impact. But they are eager for feedback, and while they want to be respected they are also looking for mentors. Several companies are giving new employees senior level mentors. Gerdes, L. (September, 2006). The best places to launch a career. Business Week, 4001.

22 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! 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. They also have a great deal to contribute, especially in regard to technology and optimism. Common Ground: The biggest complaint about Xers was their inability to work with others. Millennials do this well and can teach us all. They also have a great deal to contribute, especially in regard to technology and optimism.

23 Issues and Areas of Conflict Issue: Authority – Silents respect it, Boomers have a love-hate relationship with it, but now they are the authority. Xers are unimpressed with authority and Millennials do not see a need for it. Common Ground: Xers and Millennials are highly self-accountable, and therefore do not see a need for authority. A little trust goes a long way.

24 Tips for working with Millennials… Dont assume you share the same meanings for words, seek clarification constantly Dont assume you share the same meanings for words, seek clarification constantly 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 goals and timelines. Time is a 24/7 resource. Tell them when its due, not when to do it. 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 goals and timelines. Time is a 24/7 resource. Tell them when its due, not when to do it. Have a high level of social interaction – collaboration and work teams are their strength Have a high level of social interaction – collaboration and work teams are their strength Have the work be meaningful – help them see meaning – KEY Have the work be meaningful – help them see meaning – KEY Shepard, S. (2004). Managing the Millennials. Retrieved April 28, 2008. www.shepardcomm.com/managing-millennials-wp.pdf

25 Tips for working with Millennials… Provide continuous feedback, but be as positive as possible Provide continuous feedback, but be as positive as possible Experiential learning is preferred; technological experiences are even better Experiential learning is preferred; technological experiences are even better Play to their strengths, let their creativity, technological skills and brainpower loose and they will do amazing things. 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. Remember we were all young too…they are in the process of becoming. Phillips, C. (February, 2008). Get the best out of Millennials by tweaking habits. Advertising Age, 79, 6.

26 Questions? Comments? Thank you!

27 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. Howe, N. & Strauss, W. (2000). Millenials 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. Shepard, S. (2004). Managing the Millennials. Retrieved April 28, 2008. www.shepardcomm.com/managing-millennials-wp.pdf www.shepardcomm.com/managing-millennials-wp.pdf Generations: The History of Americas Future, 1584- 2069 Strauss, W., & Howe, N. (1991). Generations: The History of Americas Future, 1584- 2069. New York: Morrow.


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