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Presentation on theme: "INTERGENERATIONAL COMMUNICATION"— Presentation transcript:


2 Learning Objectives Identify and describe key traits of four generations Describe how generational differences can shape professional behavior and interactions Identify ways to adapt communication styles to communicate more effectively across generations Make decisions on how to adapt workplace behaviors and practices to attract, develop, and retain different generations of employees

3 Norms Please make sure all cell phones and pagers are turned to “vibrate” mode! Be open Listen actively Participate fully at your own comfort level Share “talking” time Use “I” statements Use only hypothetical examples Ask questions Honor confidentiality Treat others with respect “Ouch” and educate Have fun

4 A Key Message from Phi Beta Sigma
The characteristics and attributes associated with individuals in the described generations represent generalizations determined by third-parties with expertise in this area. They do not represent the official views of Phi Beta Sigma or any of its executives, and should not be construed as such.

5 Generations Icebreaker Questions

6 Definition of Diversity
“The many identities that define each person as a unique individual including:” Age Education Socioeconomic class Race Ethnicity Gender Nationality Language Religion Sexual orientation Physical & mental abilities

7 Diversity Wheel Source: Adapted from Marilyn Loden, Workforce America, 1991

8 Why Focus on Generations ?

9 People resemble their times more than they resemble their parents….
Old Proverb People resemble their times more than they resemble their parents….

10 Stereotypes vs. Cultural Patterns
Generalizations that we make about a group of people based on a particular diversity dimension that they share Fixed and absolute Cultural Patterns Refers to the shared norms and values which make up a cultural group’s “programming” Flexible for individual differences

11 Which Generation do you most identify with?
NAME OF GENERATION AGES YEARS Traditionalists 60 Years Plus Born before 1946 Baby Boomers 43 – 61 Years of Age Born between Generation Xers 27 – 42 Years of Age Born between Millennials (Generation Y) 7 – 26 Years of Age Born between

12 Generations Icebreaker

13 Group Discussion How did you wear your hair in eighth grade? In High School? What television/radio shows did you watch/listen to after school or on Saturday mornings? Who were your heroes and heroines when you were growing up? What world events were going on when you were growing up?

14 Generation Heroes and Heroines
Traditionalists Born before 1946 Baby Boomers 1946–1964 Generation X 1965–1980 Millennials 1981–2000 Heroes and Heroines War Heroes, Political Figures and Parents Superman Franklin D. Roosevelt George Patton Jackie Robinson Joe DiMaggio Winston Churchill Political Figures Civil Rights Movement (Pro or Con) Martin Luther King, Jr. Rosa Parks The Kennedy’s Actors, Athletes, Musicians across Race/Gender lines Michael Jordan Bill Cosby Michael Jackson Selena Howard Stern People in Business, Singers, Musicians, Actors, and Parents Bill Gates Tiger Woods Allen Iverson Mom and Dad

15 Description of Generations

16 You might be a Traditionalist if you remember:

17 Traditionalists—Born before 1946
Upbringing As children, grew up in hard times Many lived in segregated communities and attended segregated schools Key Events Shaping their Lives Stock market crash 2000+ banks failed 9 million Americans lost life savings 1930s Great Depression 86,000 businesses closed their doors By 1932, 1 out of every 4 workers was unemployed World War II Values/Beliefs Place duty before pleasure Believe patience is its own reward; are willing to wait for delayed gratification Value honor and integrity

18 Traditionalists—In Professional Environments
Wants Want others to respect them and value their expertise, which was gained over time and through experience Preferences Hierarchy—respect authority, even sometimes when it frustrates them More formal communications Spelled out roles and responsibilities Clear directions Stability Workplace Behaviors Avoid challenging the system Maintain dedication to a job, once they take it Most are not technology savvy, and tend to avoid using it Engage in face to face communications

19 You might be a Baby Boomer if you remember:

20 Baby Boomers—Born 1946–1964 Upbringing Key Events Shaping Their Lives
Indulged by their parents Were told they would be the generation that would change the world Experienced integration in neighborhoods and schools Key Events Shaping Their Lives John F. Kennedy Assassination Vietnam War Civil Rights Movement Man landing on the moon Healthier/ Post War Era resulted in a baby born every 17 minutes for 19 years—resulting in 76 million baby boomers Values/ Beliefs Optimistic Personal Gratification—now versus later Personal Growth Involvement

21 Baby Boomers—In the Professional Environment
Wants Want to change the world and the workplace to suit their needs—including government policy and consumer products Want to please everyone Preferences Prefer the process of getting things done, sometimes to the detriment of achieving results Prefer convenience and immediate gratification versus delayed gratification Workplace Behaviors Live to work—put in long work hours Driven—willing to “go the extra mile” Good at Relationships Good Team Players Process Oriented Uncomfortable with Conflict Judgmental of those who see things differently

22 You might be a Gen Xer if you remember:

23 Generation X—Born 1965–1980 Upbringing Key Events Shaping their Lives
50% were latch key kids Learned to be autonomous and self-reliant 50% were affected by divorce Boomerang Kids—3 times more likely to move back home as young adults (in their 20s) Key Events Shaping their Lives Watergate Scandal Women’s Liberation Movement U.S. Corporations began massive layoffs Rodney King Incident Values/Beliefs Diversity Balance Informality Self Reliance

24 Generation X—In the Professional Environmet
Wants Want to be independent and self-reliant Preferences Prefer not to make long term commitments to companies Prefer full package of workplace benefits that allow for balance—not just more money Will speak up for themselves Comparison shop during interviews—looking for best salary, benefits, work/life balance, and raises Workplace Behaviors Work to Live, not live to work Adaptable Techno-literate Independent Not intimidated by Authority—don’t automatically give respect to authority in the workplace

25 You might be a Millennial if you remember:

26 Millennials—Born 1981–2000 Upbringing Values/Beliefs
Many are the children of Baby Boomers 1/3 born to single mothers More demographically diverse than any other generation—1 out of 3 is an ethnic minority Best educated generation in U.S. History Spend a great deal of time on internet and computers Values/Beliefs Belief in Collective Action and Optimistic Relationship with Parents Civic Duty Diversity Tenacity/“Stick- to- it”iveness Combines teamwork ethic of boomers, (can do attitude) of traditionalists, and “technologically savvy” like Gen X

27 Millennials—In the Professional Environment
Wants Want to live in the moment Preferences Prefer to be optimistic about life Prefer to earn money and consume it immediately Key Events Shaping their Lives Oklahoma City Bombing Schoolyard Shootings Clinton/Lewinsky Affair Columbine High School Massacre Workplace Behaviors Technologically Savvy Multitaskers Inexperienced with handling difficult people and issues Demonstrate respect only after they are treated with respect Rely on immediacy of technology Skeptical—question everything; that’s how they grew up Have a need for supervision and structure

28 Comparison of Generations

29 Comparison of Generations
Traditionalists Baby Boomers Generation X Millennials What Motivates Them At Work Hard Work Personal Fulfillment Outcomes Driven “What’s Next?” Philosophy Duty Optimism Personal Focus On My Terms Attitude Towards Life Sacrifice Crusading Others Live for Today Just Show Up Approach to Spending Thriftiness Buy Now/ Pay Later Save, Save, Save Earn to Spend Approach to Work Work Fast Work Efficiently Eliminate the Task Do Exactly What’s Asked

30 Intergenerational Conflicts

31 Newly recruited Millennial staff member…
“A hiring bonus! Still wet behind the ears, and he wants a hiring bonus! At his age, I was just grateful I had a job!” Who’s this Traditionalist referring to? Newly recruited Millennial staff member…

32 Who’s this Generation Xer referring to?
“So I told my boss, if you’re looking for loyalty, buy a dog...” Who’s this Generation Xer referring to? Baby Boomer boss

33 Traditionalist coworker
“If I hear, ‘We tried that in '87,’ one more time!” Who’s this Millennial referring to? Traditionalist coworker

34 “Where is he? Doesn’t anyone have respect for time anymore?”
Who’s this Baby Boomer referring to? The “late” Millennial


36 “In Good Company” Video Clip Part A1
What did you observe in the video? What were the dynamics between generations? How does this relate to what you’ve learned thus far about the generations?


38 “In Good Company” Video Clip Part A2
What did you observe in the video? What were the dynamics between generations? How does this relate to what you’ve learned thus far about the generations?

39 Communicating Across Generations
Adaptation Communicating Across Generations

40 Communicating with Traditionalists
Build trust through inclusive language (we, us) A leader’s word is his/her bond, so focus more on words, not body language Face-to-face or written communication is received best Use more formal language Don’t waste their time; they have a job to do Don’t expect them to share their innermost thoughts immediately

41 Communicating with Baby Boomers
Boomers are the “show me” generation, so use body language to communicate Speak in an open, direct style Answer questions thoroughly, and expect to be pressed for details Avoid controlling, manipulative language Present options to show flexibility in your thinking Use face to face or electronic communication to reach out to them

42 Communicating with Generation Xers
Learn their language and speak it Use as your primary communication tool Talk in short sound bytes to keep their attention Present the facts, use straight talk Ask them for their feedback Share information with them immediately and often Use an informal communication style Listen! You just might learn something

43 Communicating with Millennials
Let your language paint visual pictures Use action verbs to challenge them Show respect through your language, and they will respect you Use and voic as primary communication tools Use visual communication to motivate them and keep them focused Constantly seek their feedback Use humor—reassure them that you don’t take yourself too seriously Encourage them to explore new paths or options


45 “In Good Company” Video Clip Part B
What did you observe in the video? Why was Dan able to be more effective in this meeting than his coworker? How does this information relate to what you’ve learned thus far about the baby boomers? Millennials? Traditionalists?

46 Application

47 Acorn Application Model
Accommodate employee differences Create workplace choices Operate from a sophisticated management style Respect competence and initiative Nourish retention


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