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Leading Diverse Workplace Generations Effectively Ontario Council for University Lifelong Learning October 17, 2008 Stephen H. Smith 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Leading Diverse Workplace Generations Effectively Ontario Council for University Lifelong Learning October 17, 2008 Stephen H. Smith 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Leading Diverse Workplace Generations Effectively Ontario Council for University Lifelong Learning October 17, 2008 Stephen H. Smith 1

2 Goals of the Workshop Provide an updated view of workplace generations (Knowledge); Highlight some implications for leaders (Appreciation and Understanding); Opportunity to transfer the understanding into practical action planning (Application). 2

3 Agenda Concept of Generational Differences; Basic Premises of the Presentation/Workshop; Some Cautions on Studying Generations; Descriptions of Generational Differences; Overview of Generational Commonalities; Considerations for Managing Generational Diversity; Scenario Action Planning. 3

4 What’s the Big Deal? “ If the workplace feels like a battle zone and colleagues sometimes act like adversaries you are not alone. Today’s four generations glare at one another across the conference table and potential for conflict and confusion has never been greater.” (Lancaster & Stillman) 4

5 What’s the Big Deal? “There is a growing realization that the gulf of misunderstanding and resentment between older, not so old and younger employees in the workplace is growing and problematic.” Gensler Group – Kirkpatrick/Martin/Warneke 5

6 So What’s New? “Young people today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, they eat like slobs and tyrannize their teachers” Socrates (470-399 BC) 6

7 So What’s New? “ They’re rude. They’re slackers. They dress unprofessionally. They love loud music. They don’t respect people who are older. They’re… Generation Y?” 7 Wrong – they are you!

8 So What’s New? The term generation gap came into vogue in the 1960’s as way of describing the apparent wide gulf in values, beliefs and lifestyles between baby boomers and their parents. 8

9 So What’s New? “ The reason people blame things on previous generations is that there is no other choice” Doug Larson 9

10 Differences Really? “ Their l eadership behaviors, and what they want from work, from today’s generation compare with other generations and find that age doesn’t really make all that much difference.” Barry Posner 10

11 Differences Really? “There’s this “mythology” built up about relationships between the oldest and youngest generations, and for the most part it’s just not true.” Terry West 11

12 So Why Does this Really Matter? There really is a labour shortage; There really is a “War for Talent”; You really need to retain all the employees you can; Many baby boomers are not retiring; Workplace Diversity is really here to stay. 12

13 And Furthermore… “ Regardless of the emphasis the fact of the matter is that we have 3-4 different groups of different ages, at different stages in their careers, functioning in a very fast paced changing and increasing diverse world”. 13

14 So Why Am I Here? 14

15 So Why Am I Here? Major Careers Job & the Need to Survive – have been part of teams with diversity of generations; College Teaching – primarily Generation X and Y’s (Kate) 15

16 Some Basic Premises Generations have differences ; These differences often result in conflicts ; Most intergenerational conflicts have a common cause or issue; It is the issue of power – who has it and wants it. 16

17 Some Basic Premises-2 All generations share several commonalities: E.g. They all want the same basic things – but how they get them is different; E.g. They have the same basic core values - they just express the differently; 17

18 Some Good News “We as leaders can work with or manage people from all generations effectively without becoming magicians, selling our souls or more importantly losing our sanity” Jennifer Deal 18

19 Some Cautions Lots of sources & information about descriptions of the differences of generations is available, but there is a limited number of research studies or documented sources (Discernment). 19

20 Some Cautions-2 We need to guard against lumping individuals into a whole group – risk of stereotyping or psycho-analyzing whole generation of individuals. Some of the differences – well who really cares? 20

21 Some Cautions-3 All characteristics do not apply to all individuals within the group; Personalities, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and environment are also the causes of differences not just age; Exceptions to the rule do not invalidate the general rule description on generations; 21

22 Some Cautions-4 Do not key only on differences – also focus on commonalities. 22

23 Story to Illustrate Difference Key recruitment situation; Diverse cast of characters; Three sets of different needs & interests; One big potential problem; Sources of creativity and productivity. 23

24 What Happened? HR Recruitment Coordinator successfully persuaded the manager to flex and support the hire/leave; Six months later the manager was singing the praises of the HR Coordinator and how she save his “hide” HR was successful in its only mission – facilitating the line department to achieve their business goals. 24

25 So what should we do? Lots of situations are not generational in nature – but again lots are, so it is valuable to have “generational lenses” handy. Claire Raines 25

26 Overview of Descriptions of Generation Differences Review Chart Comparison of Characteristics of Main Generations in the Workplace 26

27 Key Differences in Workplace Differences that can cause conflict: 27 BoomersGeneration X Generation Y Work Ethic DrivenBalancedDetermined View of Authority Love/HateUnimpressedPolite Leadership By ConsensusCompetenceWorking Together Relationships Personal Gratification Reluctant to Commit Inclusive Turnoffs Political Incorrectness Cliché, HypePromiscuity

28 Key Differences in the Workplace-2 Differences that can cause conflict: 28 Boomers Generation XGeneration Y Work-life Balance “I already have balance – it’s a 50 hour week” “ I want balance now not once I get settled” Work isn’t everything, I need flexibility to balance my other interests” Use of Technology If I have too, but don’t make it too complex” “ I must stay current, but lets slow down on advances” “Have you seen the latest…?” Job/Position Changing “Puts you behind – you need stability” “Is necessary to develop my career” “Thinking about it is part of my daily routine” Decision- making “I need a bit more info and time” I would like to meet to discuss” “ Lets get on with it”

29 Key Differences in the Workplace-3 Differences that can cause conflict; 29 Boomers Generation X Generation Y Rewards “Money, title, recognition, the corner office” “Freedom is the ultimate reward” “My work has to give me meaning in life” Feedback “Feedback with lots of documentation” “Sorry to interrupt, but how I am I doing” “Feedback when I want it, at the push of a button” Layout of Workplace See Next SlideSee Slide 30

30 Boomer Workplace 30

31 Generation X Workplace 31

32 Perceptions are Important How each generation sees the other is important to managing the diversity: 32 BoomersGeneration XGeneration Y Boomers On… “Live for today, don’t have the burning ambition to get ahead and always want exceptions.” “Not interested in the future, vision is limited, rude, and think they know it all.” Generation X On… “Dated and out of touch with change and new technology.” “Always changing their minds, another self-absorbed generation.” Generation Y On… “Need to let the cork out a bit and listen to other’ people’s viewpoints.” “9 to 5’ers who clutter their workstations with pictures of their kids… enough already.”

33 Differences on Technology: Generation Y 33

34 Generations Have Things in Common There are differences how they view their worlds because their worlds are different; How the generations articulate their values are different; But it appears that each generation’s core values are not much different. 34

35 Research by Center of Creative Leadership & Posner/Kouzes Center of Creative Leadership: (5,800 people participated in survey research) Posner/Kouzes- The Leadership Challenge (over 10,000 respondents) 35

36 Top Five Values, by Generation Source: Jennifer Deal – Center for Creative Leadership 36 Late BoomersLate Xers Yers Family 64%Family 67%Family 73% Integrity 46%Love 32%Love 49% Love 29%Integrity 24%Spirituality 28% Spirituality 23%Happiness 20%Happiness 25% Happiness 18%Spirituality 17%Friendship 25%

37 All Generations Want Respect Source: Center of Creative Leadership What people mean by respect is: Listen to me, pay attention to what I say; Give my opinions some weight in your decisions; Do what I tell you to do; 37

38 All Generations Want Respect-2 People in authority want their decisions to be respected; Boomers want their experiences and wisdom to be respected and deferred to: Generation X & Y would like their fresh ideas and suggestions to be respected; Questions or questioning does not necessarily demonstrate disrespect. 38

39 All Generations Want Leaders who Are Trustworthy & Credible People from every generation and at every level that employees, managers and leaders don’t trust each other as much any more; And most people are tired of covering their butts and want co-workers and leaders they can trust; 39

40 All Generations Want Leaders Who Are Trustworthy & Credible People of all generations and at all levels are more likely to trust people they work with directly (bosses, peers, and direct reports); People trust their organizations less than they do people they work with directly; People trust upper management less they trust their organization; 40

41 All Generations Want Leaders who Are Trustworthy & Credible What generation you are from or how old you are does not affect how much you trust other people or your organization; The less people trust, the more likely they are to leave, especially Xers and Yers. 41

42 Top Five Leadership Attributes, by Generation Source: Center of Creative Leadership, Posner/Kouzes 42 Late BoomersXersYers Credible 75%Credible 71%Listens Well 68% Trusted 60%Trusted 58%Dependable 66% Farsighted 59%Farsighted 54%Dedicated 63% Listens Well 53%Listens Well 51%Focused 59% Encouraging 53%Encouraging 46%Trusted 56%

43 Top Five Leadership Attributes, by Organizational Level Source : Center for Creative Leadership, Posner/Kouzes 43 Top/ExecutiveUpper ManagementManagementProfessional Credible 68%Credible 74%Credible 75%Credible 77% Farsighted 66%Farsighted 58%Trusted 61%Listens Well 58% Trusted 58%Trusted 55%Listens Well 51%Trusted 57% Listens Well 53%Listens Well 48%Encouraging 51%Farsighted 57% Focused 51%Encouraging 48%Dependable 51%Encouraging 48%

44 All Generations Want Leaders who Are Trustworthy & Credible People of all generations and at all levels want their leaders to be credible, trustworthy, dependable, farsighted, encouraging and good listeners; People would rather leaders say that they cannot talk about something than for them to mislead intentionally. 44

45 All Generations Can Be Loyal: But It Depends on Context Different generations have about the same levels of loyalty; The objects of their loyalty is different: –Boomer – Loyal to the organization – Gen X – Loyal to the team – Gen Y – Loyal to themselves, then team 45

46 All Generations Can Be Loyal: But It Depends on Context Younger generations are not more likely to job-hop than older generations were at the same age; People who are closer to retirement are more likely to want to stay with the same organization for the rest of their working life; People higher in an organization work more hours than do people lower in the organization; working more hours isn’t a matter of what generation an employee is from. 46

47 All Generations Can be Recruited & Retained If You Do It Differently First, more and more - if you cannot articulate vision, and values to a Gen X or Y you won’t get them in your door, the good ones anyway; Employees of all generations are more likely to remain with an organization if they receive: »Good compensation »Learning & development »Opportunities for advancement »Respect & recognition »Good quality of life outside work 47

48 All Generations Can be Recruited & Retained If You Do It Differently However, employers must realize that each individual wants a different combination; Just about everyone feels underpaid, overworked and under appreciated – including you and me. 48

49 All Generations Want to Learn the Same Things Employees in all generations identified the same things they want to learn in their workplaces; Employees in different levels in the organization wanted to learn the same things; What employees want to learn is related to what they need for their job, not their generation; 49

50 Top Five Developmental Areas, by Generation Source: Center for Creative Leadership 50 Late BoomersXersYrs Leadership Skills training in my field of expertise Problem solving, decision making Team building Skills training in my field of expertise Problem solving, decision making Communication skills Strategic planning Self-awareness

51 Top Five Developmental Areas, by Organizational Level 51 Top and Executive Upper Management ManagementProfessionalFirst Level Leadership Skills training in my field of expertise Strategic planning Team buildingSkills training in my field of expertise LeadershipComputer training Team buildingSkills training in my field of expertise Team buildingProblem solving, decision making Managing change Strategic planning Problem solving, decision making Computer training Communication skills Vision Strategic planning Team buildingLeadership

52 All Generations Want to Learn the Same Things The ways/modalities employees learn may differ; Everyone wants to learn on the job; Everyone thinks coaching is a good idea; People are savvy about what they need to learn, what they want to learn and how they want to learn. Listen to them! 52

53 So What is a Leader to Do? Some General Considerations Minimize the emphasis on differences – informally educate team members on understanding of the diversity in workplaces (ethnicity, age, etc); Learn to accommodate employees (there are very slippery slopes (Tsunami LOA); Create workplace choices, allow the workplace to shape itself around the work being done as long as customers needs are met (flex hours, dress code etc.); 53

54 So What is a Leader to Do? Some General Considerations-2 Do not put your supervisory style on a fixed spot – control & autonomy are on a continuum; Make your leadership style based on the situation and people involved; Depend less on positional power and more on personal influence; Take your time when matching individuals to a team or a team or individual to an assignment; 54

55 So What is a Leader to Do? Some General Considerations-3 Tailor your recruitment messages to the generation, but always tell the truth; Place emphasis on retention, it is your best recruitment tool; Take the time to communicate with your employees about their workplace (surveys, focus groups). Remember you pay now or later, but you will pay. 55

56 So What is a Leader to Do? Some General Considerations-4 Give your leaders diversity training and not just on generation diversity (cultural, religious etc.); Above all give your employees what they want!! Honesty, fairness, respect, genuine recognition & appreciation; Invitation to give meaningful input, some risky assignments, customer service, undivided attention, collaboration & a vision to attain. 56

57 That’s all Folks! Thank your for the opportunity to serve you today! stephen@shsmithassociates.com 57


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