Enhance understanding of the differences across generations Increase awareness of sources of generational conflict Improve effectiveness in advising / managing across generations Objectives
Veterans Born 1920 – 1945 –Ages 66 – 91 –a.k.a., Traditionalists, Matures, Silents, Greatest Baby Boomers Born 1946 – 1964 –Ages 47 – 65 –a.k.a., Hippies, Beats, Jones (mini-generation, 1954-65) Generation X Born 1965 – 1980 –Ages 31 – 46 –a.k.a., Busters, Invisibles, Slackers Generation Y Born 1981 – 2000 –Ages 11 – 30 –a.k.a., Millennials, Echo Boomers, Nexters * Edges can be squishy, as date ranges sometimes vary a bit from study to study Four Generations at a Glance*
How well do you know the generations? Circle answer you believe is correct. We will discuss answers at end of presentation. Generation Quiz
Old Proverb: –People resemble their times more than they resemble their parents Not a matter of Stereotyping people –Cohorts tend to share same qualities and life views –Why? Undergone similar experiences/events at same time First time ever – Four generations in the workplace –Multiple generations have worked together in the past, but in a more rigid, hierarchical structure –Flatter organizations of today lend themselves to more generational interaction…or collision To be effective…understand your own and others! Defining Generations
U.S. Population Today
Veterans Baby Boomers Generation X Generation Y Four Generations in the Workplace →10% and Decreasing Rapidly →45% and Decreasing Slowly →30% and Increasing Slowly →15% and Increasing Rapidly
Great Depression World War II Pearl Harbor D-Day Rationing Atomic Bomb FDR Administration New Deal Radio Defining Events: Veterans
Hard working Family focused Churchgoers Respectful Patriotic, national pride Believe in duty before pleasure Adhere to rules Patience Believe in dedication and sacrifice Tendencies: Veterans
Cold War Civil Rights Movement Space Program Assassinations: JFK & RFK, MLK Vietnam War Watergate Sexual Revolution Women’s Liberation Defining Events: Boomers
Educated Optimistic Believe debt is OK Personal growth-oriented (read self-help books) Question authority Independent Cause-oriented Workaholic / competitive Value youthfulness, health and wellness Tendencies: Boomers
Challenger explosion Fall of Berlin Wall Iran Hostage Crisis Collapse of Communism First Gulf War AIDS High divorce rate Latch-key kids Corporate downsizings Personal computers Video games Defining Events: Generation X
Live for today Skeptical/cynical Have a global perspective/value diversity Distrust corporations Entrepreneurial Strong belief in work/life balance Techno-savvy – Internet becomes standard Enjoy/need a challenge Tendencies: Generation X
Oklahoma Bombing School violence (Columbine) Clinton/Lewinsky 9/11 Internet availability Overscheduled High parental divorce rate Defining Events: Generation Y Two working parents Cell phones standard Exposure to sex, violence at early age Obesity epidemic Diabetes epidemic “Ritalin Generation”
Patriotic Introspective Skeptical Masters of technology Media-vores Open to diverse perspectives Acceptance of multi- culturalism Tendencies: Generation Y Innovative Dependent Self-confident Socially conscious Family is priority Sociable/Inclusive Image driven Overly medicated
And then there are the Cuspers… Born on cusp between two generations, the Cuspers: May firmly identify with one generation or the other, but more often Are naturals at mediating, translating and mentoring, so Can be extremely valuable in bridging generational gaps Source: When Generations Collide. Lynne C. Lancaster & David Stillman. Harper Collins. 2002.
What band or solo artist best defines your generation? What song best defines your generation? Group Discussion
What generation do you most closely identify with and why? What do you like about your generation? Do you believe your work-related talents and skills are used on the job? What challenges do you face at work that may be associated with your generation? Thought Questions
Each generation believes the following generations should pay their dues, in the same way, to earn success. Each generation assumes the following generations will want what they have and will share their definition of success. With a few exceptions, each generation believes the following generation has it much easier. Generational Repetition
The oldest, wealthiest and most visible members of a generation typically define the behavior and attitude for those that follow. (The same can be said for defining the behaviors and attitudes in the workplace.) Common Generational Theory
In other words… Boomers Rule in the workplace!...for now
Long hair Acid rock Rolling Stones Trying to look like Liz Taylor The Boomers Longing for hair Acid reflux Kidney stones Trying NOT to look like Liz Taylor 1970 2010
Growing up Boomer
Though Boomers may Rule… They must recognize that there will be no spoils for a winner to collect if they take a win-lose approach when managing generational differences. Those who choose to stick to their guns, and prove who is boss, might win the battle, but they will surely lose the war. Source: “Baby Boomers: Don’t Drink the Hater-ade” Ira S. Wolfe. Success Performance Solutions. September, 2009.
Though Boomers may Rule… Managers/Advisors must learn to: See the world through the lens of younger workers/students o Similarly, Gen X and Gen Y must be willing to see a world that was and learn from it!!! Make peace with all 4 generations Leverage each generation’s unique strengths to create a win-win solution Source: “Baby Boomers: Don’t Drink the Hater-ade” Ira S. Wolfe. Success Performance Solutions. September, 2009.
Conformity, blending, unity – We first Team players Strong commitment to work See work as an obligation Dependable Hard workers Age = Seniority Work Style: Veterans
Service-oriented Driven Good team players Willing to go extra mile Want to please Good at relationships Uncomfortable with conflict Not budget minded Work Style: Boomers
Baby Boomers: Regard work as an anchor in their often turbulent lives Value being true to oneself, feeling in control, making enough money to ensure comfort, maintaining health and vitality, and doing work that provides personal satisfaction As they approach retirement, they are looking for more meaning in their work and ways to ‘give back’ to others ‘Sandwich’ generation juggling responsibilities for children, grandchildren, aging parents, and preparation for retirement Attitudes/Expectations of Professionals Source: “Long-term global demographic trends: reshaping the geopolitical landscape.” Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 2001. http://www.eldis.org/static/DOC9390.htm
Want to know why Know there are no guarantees See multiple perspectives Results-oriented Independent Want flexibility Multi-taskers Creative Work Style: Generation X
Generation X: Individualistic, assertive, independent, shape their own work environment, take responsibility for development of skills/employability Ambitious, want advancement and good salaries, but follow their hearts and quality of life concerns Enjoy work but consider work/life balance important View each job as a chance to learn; less hesitant to change jobs/companies or to become entrepreneurs Likely to seek new career opportunities and ventures as they grow older Attitudes/Expectations of Professionals Source: “Long-term global demographic trends: reshaping the geopolitical landscape.” Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 2001. http://www.eldis.org/static/DOC9390.htm
Looking to make a difference Cause-oriented Focus on the present (future uncertain) Tend to multi-task Fast-thinking skills (honed on Playstation / Gameboy) Expect immediate gratification Value other’s perspectives Work Style: Generation Y Ask why Thirst for knowledge Networkers Team players Strive for work / life balance Hard workers / multitasking ability Tenacious Optimistic Need for supervision and structure Less developed coping skills
Generation Y: Adaptable and flexible, but less homogenous and more conservative Assume a ‘free agent’ mindset and are realistic about their expectations Listen, respond, wait and see, and build trust one day at a time More relaxed about diversity and far more prepared to participate in teamwork Internet generation, dependent on technology, too often at the expense of basic reading, writing, and math skills No secrets; more willing to share pay/workplace info Attitudes/Expectations of Professionals Source: “Long-term global demographic trends: reshaping the geopolitical landscape.” Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 2001. http://www.eldis.org/static/DOC9390.htm
Gen Y’s are ambitious, energetic, hungry for stimuli – and possess the overwhelming desire to stay put in one company for as long as possible. Striking contrast to late ’90s when young people moved from company to company in search of new skills, contacts and experiences Majority expect to hold more jobs over course of career than they would prefer Would like to be loyal if employer was loyal to them, but know business is no longer set up that way Noticeable gap exists between what skills students and employers believe are needed to succeed at work Students gave lowest marks to mathematics, speaking foreign language, public speaking, selling things or ideas, writing and editing…skills needed in increasingly global business world Students ranked highly habits such as working patiently/diligently, working independently, multi-tasking, and developing personal connections. Attitudes of Gen Y Source: “Work Place Flexibility – The Next Frontier.” Billy E. Johnson. Deloitte Services LP. May 11, 2005.
What is your preference for communication style? What is your motivation for work? What type and amount of feedback do you prefer? What rewards do you prefer? What do you want others to understand about your generation? What statements about your generation do you never want to hear again? Thought Questions
Don’t Advise Them, Guide Them Younger generations do want to be mentored…they don’t want to be lectured Rather than advising them, try guiding them instead Source: “Don’t Advise Them, Guide Them” Mary Jo Asmus. March 7, 2011.
Don’t Advise Them, Guide Them Guiding requires you to help students / employees develop their own solutions Possible guiding questions: What has worked for you in the past? What have you seen others do that you would like to try? Of all the ideas you’ve put on the table, what do you think you would like to begin with? Source: “Don’t Advise Them, Guide Them” Mary Jo Asmus. March 7, 2011.
Don’t Advise Them, Guide Them Help them sketch out small steps to get started Guide them when things go wrong…guide them again to get them back on their feet Catch them doing things right, and let them know they are on the right track Watch them grow/develop so that they will be prepared to take your place Source: “Don’t Advise Them, Guide Them” Mary Jo Asmus. March 7, 2011.
Narrowing the Generation Gaps Unity, not uniformity, must be our aim. We attain unity only through variety. Differences must be integrated, Not annihilated, not absorbed. ~ Mary Parker Follett Fact: Working effectively across generational groups, results in a more satisfying and productive workplace What can you do to narrow the generation gaps? L. E. Bernstein suggests 5 “A list” strategies: Source: Generations Working Together. Laura E. Bernstein. Vision Point Productions & WALK THE TALK. 2006.
Narrowing the Generation Gaps 1.Accept your “mutual rightness.” With few exceptions, each of us is RIGHT 2.Acknowledge your interdependency. We need coworkers who think/act differently 3.Appreciate what you have in common Focus on what binds you, not what divides you 4.Assume responsibility for making your relationships better. We rarely choose who we work with, always choose how we deal with them 5.Adopt “The Platinum Rule”… Source: Generations Working Together. Laura E. Bernstein. Vision Point Productions & WALK THE TALK. 2006.
The Platinum Rule We’re all familiar with the ‘Golden Rule’ “Treat others as you would like to be treated” However, some folks may not want to be treated in the exact same manner as you Consider treating folks the way they want to be treated We refer to this as “The Platinum Rule” Source: Generations Working Together. Laura E. Bernstein. Vision Point Productions & WALK THE TALK. 2006.
Ensure that training/on-the-job experience increase transferable and marketable skills Provide rationale for work you are asking employees to do and explain value added Provide task variety Build teams with great care Provide work environment that rewards extra effort and excellence Pay attention to blurring of work, life and family issues Taking Action Source: “Work Place Flexibility – The Next Frontier.” Billy E. Johnson. Deloitte Services LP. May 11, 2005.
…we wouldn’t have the sage wisdom that only comes with age. Nor the history to learn from as we enter each new stage. We wouldn’t see the loyalty so needed for success. Nor the common sense we count on to avoid each pending mess. Sure, their need to follow protocol may seem a bit too much, But we nonetheless can count on them for a warm and human touch. Thank goodness for these special folks who rarely search for fame. If it weren’t for our VETERANS, we just wouldn’t be the same. If it were not for VETERANS… Source: Generations Working Together. Laura E. Bernstein. Vision Point Productions & WALK THE TALK. 2006.
…we wouldn’t have hard-working folks who don’t go by the clock. Nor the chance to pick the brains of those who’ve “been around the block.” We wouldn’t have the leaders who have made us what we are. Nor their “can do” optimism that has taken us so far. Perhaps it seems they have no lives and are often labeled fools, yet the teamwork that they bring to us is the best of all our tools. Thank goodness for these special folks who help us win the game. If it weren’t for our BOOMERS, we just wouldn’t be the same. If it were not for BOOMERS… Source: Generations Working Together. Laura E. Bernstein. Vision Point Productions & WALK THE TALK. 2006.
…we wouldn’t have so many perspectives that are new. Nor the challenge to examine everything that we all do. Without them, only “nine to five” would be our way to go, because we’d have much less incentive to step away from status quo. While it seems their only interest is in doing things their way, this group’s focus on results has very often saved the day. Thank goodness for these special folks who at times are hard to tame. If it weren’t for our GEN X-ers, we just wouldn’t be the same. If it were not for GEN X-ers… Source: Generations Working Together. Laura E. Bernstein. Vision Point Productions & WALK THE TALK. 2006.
…we wouldn’t have the growing push for workplace fun. Nor the ability to quickly knock out work when under the proverbial gun. There would be no fellow workers pushing all of us to see, that everything can be improved with advanced technology. Though we may not like that work for them is often just a ‘gig,’ the future that they represent is unquestionably big. Thank goodness for these special folks who see older ways as lame. If it weren’t for our GEN Y-ers, we just wouldn’t be the same. If it were not for GEN Y-ers… Source: Generations Working Together. Laura E. Bernstein. Vision Point Productions & WALK THE TALK. 2006.
So, how well do you know your generations?
How will this information impact the way that you approach your role as an advisor and/or manager, beginning tomorrow? Wrapping it Up!