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Karen Dunlop RN BN LLB May 2007

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1 Karen Dunlop RN BN LLB May 2007
Understanding Each Other and Working Together, Multigenerational Health Teams Karen Dunlop RN BN LLB May 2007

2 The world is changing Pluto is no longer a planet!

3 And so are we…

4 Multigenerational Workforce
Today there are at least three and sometimes four generations working together in the workplace. Veterans, born before 1945 Baby Boomers, born Generation X, born Millennial, born after 1980 Boychuck Duchscher J.E., Cowin L., Multigenerational Nurses in the Workplace, JONA Vol. 34, No. 11, pp , 2004. Generational stereotypes: A guide to understanding members of the workforce, potential sources of conflict and opportunities to recruit and retain an effective multigenerational team. Never forget that each person is unique. Some may display traits from more than one generation.

5 School nurse

6 The Veterans, born before 1945
Born into conservative, overprotective, two parent, one income households; as children, were “seen and not heard”. Rules were clear, authority clearer. Heroes had clear unarguable and great purposes such as saving the world. Born into the Industrial age. Born during or to parents of the Depression

7 Veterans’ Work Ethic Aspired to and expected life long single employer career. Diversity was uncommon. Future was predictable. Roles were clear and traditional. Fiscally prudent or frugal. Value organizational loyalty, discipline, teamwork, pay your dues. Do not share personal information. Value photo with CEO, use formal titles.

8 Veterans’ Work Ethic Value history and experience.
Comfortable with chain of command. Believe in central command and control. Expect professional managers in a hierarchical structure, who communicate formally and officially in a proper manner. Want formal recognition, symbols of prestige and status. May not question “orders” or direction.

9 Coaching Veterans Acknowledge their knowledge and experience.
Use one-to-one face to face meetings; formal feedback, recognition and communication mechanisms. Acknowledge their long service. Teach them about evidence based practice, research, new models of care, shared leadership. Encourage them to express views, question decisions if they see a problem. May be confused or offended that younger nurses are expressing their views in what appears to be a confrontational manner to an authority figure. Formal recognition: hand written notes, plaques, photo with CEO, CNO


11 Baby Boomers Comprise at least 55% of the workforce. “Me” generation.
Raised in nuclear traditional families. Spirit of rebelliousness and idealism. Learned to challenge authority and value those who questioned the status quo. Equate work with self-worth, and personal fulfillment. Self indulgent, excessive consumerism Majority of workforce Many selected their career out of a desire to make the world a better place.

12 Baby Boomers Strong work ethic. Invented the word “workaholic”.
Competitive, strong willed. Desire but did not achieve work-life balance. Will work longer than traditional cohorts.

13 Baby Boomers’ Work Ethic
Want to work in organizations that are democratic, humane, caring and have a positive effect on the world. Value a manager who knows them personally and treats them as a peer. Expect their individual achievements and contributions to be acknowledged. Value a strong work ethic.

14 Coaching Baby Boomers Recognize their achievements with formal status symbols and titles. Peer to peer coaching situations. Recognize with perks. Understand they are a stressed “Sandwich generation”. Provide organizational supports, stress management resources and continuing education. Perks: paid time off, awards, titles, status. Struggle to balance life demands. Report highest levels of interpersonal and vocational strain.


16 Generation X Raised in dual income or single parent households of ethnically or culturally diverse parents, in an adult orientated society. Under protected, latchkey kids. Self-reliant, resourceful, technologically savvy. Born in the Information Age. Saw their workaholic parents get downsized. Workforce was occupied by Boomers. Job market downsized, restructured. Learned to depend on themselves. The “bust” generation

17 Generation X Described as alienated, skeptical, cynical, nonconformist and radically individualistic. Grew up with Sesame Street and computers in the classroom. Learned to be self-reliant and turned to friends to fill the gap from absent parents. Pragmatic, outcome focused, independent. No faith in institutions.

18 Generation X Work Ethic
Want to work independently on outcomes. Want opportunities for professional growth. Are committed to their profession, not their employer. Value “employability”, not long term employment. See work is a job. Have a “free agent” mentality

19 Generation X Work Ethic
Focused on information rather than personal experience. Want facts over emotion. Expect immediate feedback and success. Less willing to make sacrifices for the greater good (not part of it). Are not interested in process, committees that don’t accomplish anything. Uncertainty that makes Boomers and veterans anxious is comfortable for Gen X. Focus on “nursing jobs” has reinforced job mentality. Can manage with flexibility, ambiguity. Why won’t they come to our meetings????? Interest groups, volunteer organizations struggling to find members to participate in old structure. Commitment may not be the problem, the process and model is the problem.

20 Coaching Gen Xers Give them a task and leave them alone.
Provide opportunities to grow professionally. Provide technological resources e.g. internet Allow them to learn by doing e.g. role playing Listen to their input and feedback. Deemphasize bureaucratic obstacles. Respect their value for work life balance. Recognize them on the basis of merit. Want little supervision, to manage own time and complete work. Not overly impressed by hierarchy, position or authority. Avoid the “oh well nothing will happen” or “we must wait for the region to tell us”. Reward with paid time off, cutting edge projects.


22 Millennial The second largest demographic cohort, after their parents, the Baby Boomers. Born into multicultural, biracial parents, many in single parent households. Optimistic, goal orientated, educated, ambitious, confident, technologically sophisticated. Accept that the world is a global economy. Understand multiculturalism as a way of life. Technology has always been a part of their lives. Tolerant Nuclear families no longer the norm.

23 Millennial Respect authority, hard earned achievement, hierarchy and teams. Morally grounded. Similar to Veterans in sociopolitical attributes and work ethic. Share the Veterans traditional values, respect for heroes that accomplish great things e.g. 9/11 Considered generous, sociable, practical and morally convicted. Interested in public service and helping professions.

24 Millenials’s Work Ethic
Expect work-life balance. Expect mutual respect, support, commitment and trust. Like working in teams. Tolerant, loyal, motivated Have career plans and paths.

25 Millenials’s Work Ethic
Change is inherent in their lives. Multitask easily. Technologically confident. May have limited social and personal interaction skills. May have limited clinical or practical experience. Outspoken.

26 Coaching Millennial Want information, education, communication and lots of feedback. Want a leader who has a vision, can communicate, is honest, has integrity, can motivate others, is knowledgeable and supportive. Want lots and lots of coaching and mentoring. Expect structure, guidance and extensive orientation. Public recognition, traditional status symbols through titles, awards, photos with CEO are NOT. Will be demanding.

27 Coaching Millennial They want to be involved in decision making and implementation of new practices. They have little patience for a lack of resources, rigidity, or blind insistence on doing things “the way they have always been done”. They want to learn from experience but not be burdened by it.

28 Technology has flipped traditional hierarchy of knowledge
Younger generations know more about technology.

29 Stress in the workplace

30 The #1 issue in health care today:
Recruitment and retention (health human resources). Ours is an aging workforce. Boomers poised to retire. We are not educating, hiring or retaining enough nurses to replace us. 30% of new graduates leave nursing. Old ways, old ideas not healthy in a time of evidence based practice. Few opportunities to mentor, coach and develop future leaders. An inexperienced staff. Patient safety issues

31 Why do nurses leave? Not valued as a professional
Not respected as a person Loss of self Lack of recognition Workplace stress Lack of acceptance Lack of opportunities in nursing/other opportunities available.

32 Sources of Disrespect Other nurses Other staff
Patients and their families The organization

33 Conflict Inevitable in human interactions….
Unresolved conflict leads to error, staff turnover, decreased patient satisfaction.

34 Generational Conflict
Members of each generational cohort share common experiences that influence their attitudes and expectations toward authority, organizations, work expectations, career goals and private life. These perspectives can create stress, misunderstanding and conflict in the workplace. Generation Gap is nothing new. What is new: Four generations working together Delayed retirement Changes in life expectancy Under performing markets: pension and benefits Reentry of older nurses into the workforce

35 The generational divide
Disrespect Disconnect ↓ ↓ Peer conflict Poor working relationships =Burnout + Professional attrition Young and old, they leave. Nurses tend to actively avoid conflict out of Fear: Rejection, Escalating conflict, Sabotage, Shunning, Negative impact on patient care, Stress, Uncertainty,

36 “Every generation blames the one before”*
Believing one’s own perspective to be unique and universal. Different assumptions regarding roles. Participating vs. challenging Pay your dues Focus on differences not strengths. Expecting to teach not learn. *Mike and the Mechanics, In the Living Years. Roles: Seen and not heard Participating vs. challenging Paying your dues vs. developing credibility

37 Why do nurses stay?

38 The people

39 Workplace attributes Strong visible nurse leader. Autonomy
Respectful work relationships Control over work

40 R-E-S-P-E-C-T At the heart of every human interaction and relationship. Reflected in HOW we speak to each other as well as WHAT we SAY. Reflects ones own values. SX active listening, no eye rolling, sighing, negative body language.

41 Respect Requires valuing and understanding of each other.
As a team, group As an individual. Stereotypes and generalities are used only as guideposts. Generational Area or place of practice e.g. ER nurses

42 COMMUNICATION Different forms of communication appeal to different generations, different people. Universal: everyone wants more communication We are quite stingy with it…..

43 You’re so phat…

44 “Beam me up Scotty” Cone of silence

45 VALUING Work together, cooperate. Support each other Resolve conflict
Have fun

46 Valuing every member of the team
Veterans experience, knowledge, skill and judgment Baby Boomers clinical and organizational experience. Gen Xers innovative, independent, creative, new models. Millennial technologically sophisticated, connected, spirit of optimism. Veterans remember old ways when technology breaks down: disasters


48 Strategies for Leaders
Conduct a generational inventory. Hold every employee to the same expectations, organizational policies, code of conduct. Promote the concept of team. Set ground rules the reinforce an expectation of respect and tolerance. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Be a role model. New nurses want to be lead not micromanaged. Communicate using a variety of styles, methods. Self-awareness of own bias. Generationally sensitive reward and recognition; communication; leadership; mentor and coach

49 Strategies for Leaders
Explore new ways of doing things. New nurses are not interested in lengthy outdated policies and procedures, delayed communication, meetings. Develop a generation-sensitive coaching and mentoring style. Posters, memos, communication books Face to face meetings. Group/staff meetings. The internet,

50 Strategies for Leaders
Promote career management to manage turnover. Create, facilitate or promote continuing education and professional growth opportunities. Manage your turnover, turnover is to be expected. Encourage staff to certify each other, learn from each other and mentor each other.

51 Strategies for Leaders
Be prepared to flex your leadership style. New nurses want leaders who are honest, able to motivate others, have a positive outlook, good communication skills, an approachable demeanor, knowledgeable and supportive. Promote a culture of inquiry, respect and support. Do not micromanage the Gen Xers! Supervise and Guide the Millennial Fasten your seatbelt!

52 All staff Talk to each other.
Celebrate the strengths of every member of the team. Expect to learn from others. Cut others some slack. Remember…… Be open to learning about new ways. Respect that the old ways do not work for everyone. about differences and where you are coming from. Not a management responsibility. Cultures are created by those who participate them. Culture does not come from a corporate office. We are each responsible for our own behavior. A shared responsibility!!!! An ethical responsibility A professional responsibility.

53 Conflict Resolution Zero tolerance policy for bullying.
Commit to resolving conflict. Ethical responsibility Consistent with Nursing’s commitment to “caring” Conflict resolution tools, workshops Organizational values, policies that reflect respect for persons: patients, colleagues, self No rescue policy: resolve own conflicts Mediate if necessary, don’t dominate. Care enough to confront.

54 Choose to view diversity as a strength
Veterans: What tasks require close attention to detail? Where does the unit have a need for resource conservation? Boomers: Where is the need to “roll with the punches” most needed? Which tasks require independent thinking? A real choice. With choice comes responsibility. No victims here.

55 Choose to view diversity as a strength
Gen Xers: What requires a fresh look/new way of doing things? What project can best be accomplished independently? Millennials: Where are culturally sensitive views important? What processes require advanced technology? No victims here. Encourage each other. Every successful nurse had a mentor. Your encouragement is critically important in supporting others in taking on new roles, challenges.

56 Commit to each other To contribute to an environment of respect, understanding acceptance/tolerance. To value each other and work together (and work things out).

57 We’re all in this together…
There’s a role for everyone. Circle of work life.

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