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Perspectives, Values and Issues Across the Generations Implications for the Workplace Breda Bova, Ph.D. University of New Mexico.

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Presentation on theme: "Perspectives, Values and Issues Across the Generations Implications for the Workplace Breda Bova, Ph.D. University of New Mexico."— Presentation transcript:

1 Perspectives, Values and Issues Across the Generations Implications for the Workplace Breda Bova, Ph.D. University of New Mexico

2 ----- Work underlies the very concept of who we are—changes in society, technology and life expectancy have influenced how, where and why we work. The workplace is now our most diverse national institution— and its diversity will only grow. A Nation at Work, 2003

3 Pigeonholing If this information is used to pigeonhole people, it will become a dangerous weapon. When we use it to ask ourselves, “How can I be more effective?” or “How can I better understand behavior?” it can be a valuable tool.

4 Key Demographics In 1900 there were 13 million people in the U.S. over the age of 45. Today there are nearly 100 million. Fastcompany, 2004

5 Key Demographics Between 2010 and 2020, 70 million Americans will retire, while only 40 million will enter the workforce. By 2020 the key age group of employees (ages 25 to 44) will shrink by 3%, while those aged 55 to 64 will grow by 73%, those aged 65 and older will grow by 54%. The aging workforce is a global issue—by 2050, China will have more people over age 65 than the rest of the world combined. 2010 Meltdown, 2005

6 Key Demographics According to estimates released in February 2005 by the United Nations, the fertility rate in the United States is projected to fall below ‘replacement’ level by 2015 to 2020, declining to 1.91 children per woman (lower than the 2.1 children per woman rate needed to replace the population).

7 Key Demographics One in three American workers are chronically overworked, with job-related stress varying significantly by age, employment situation, and demands at home. 70 percent of employees say that family is their most important priority. (Ranstad North America survey, 2002). This compares to 54% in 2000. In 70 percent of American families, all parents are already working—the reverse of 1960 when 70 percent of all families had at least one parent at home full-time. More than 1/3 of employees (36%) do not plan to use their full vacations. Source: Families and Work Institute, 2005

8 Key Demographics More than 20% of households indicate they are responsible for some or all of the care of elderly relatives. The number of professional women working part time—by choice—has risen 17 percent from 1994, to 2.9 million according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Bailyn, 2001

9 CIVIC ENGAGEMENT TRENDS Turnout among 18-29 year old voters increased by more than 2 million in the 2006 elections compared to 2002. Volunteerism by college students increased by 20% from 2002 to 2005. There is a large and growing civic divide between those with a college education and those without one. National Conference on Citizenship, September 2006

10 Educational Trends In the United States today, according to the U.S. Department of Education, we have over 90 million people whose literacy and numeracy skills are below the tenth-grade level. There is a tendency to equate convenience with quality in education. Recent research from the Center for Academic Integrity shows that 70% of post-secondary students admit to cheating on tests, and 84% admit to cheating on term papers. By 2016 women, are projected to earn 60% of bachelor’s, 63% of master’s and 54% of doctorate and professional degrees. Forty percent of students reported that the television was their primary source of obtaining news while 34 percent reported that websites were their primary source (newspapers were the primary source for 11 percent and radio for 8 percent). 90% of the fastest growing jobs require post-secondary education. Strategic Planning Trends, December 2003

11 Educational Trends Half of what students learn in their freshman year about the cutting edge of science and technology is obsolete, revised or taken for granted by their senior year. All signs indicate that corporate involvement in public schools will continue to increase over the next decade. In 2003 there were more women enrolled in Higher Education than men. Today’s college grads have spent less than 5,000 hours of their lives reading but over 10,000 hours playing video games and over 20,000 hours watching TV. Grade inflation. Expectations Gap. From The Futurist, 2003

12 A Generation Defined “Generation” is defined as a group of people who share the same formative experiences. These experiences bind people that are born in continuous years into “cohorts”--a group of individuals that have a demographic statistic in common.

13 Birth Year Most frequently, demographers use birth year as that common statistic.

14 Generations Are Shaped by Formative Events To a great extent, the personality of a generation is formed by the seminal events that take place from the early to middle years of its members.

15 Generational Traits, Characteristics and Values Are Not Universally Shared Not every member of a particular generation will share everything in common with other members of that generation.

16 The Generation Gap The Generation Gap is most apparent in the workplace. Other than the family, it is the place where we interact with our generations.

17 The Challenge May Come from Interactions with Your supervisor Instructor of students An employee Co-worker Client or even a vendor As with other diversity issues such as age, gender, ethnicity and race, examining and understanding generations has become an increasingly important part of maximizing organizational effectiveness.

18 A Few Specific Differences Between Generations Include: Communication styles and expectations Work styles Attitudes about work/life balance Comfort with technology Views regarding loyalty and authority Acceptance of change

19 The Four Generations The Silent Generation (1925-1942) Approximately 63 million The Boom Generation (1943-1961) Approximately 77 million Generation X (1962-1981) Approximately 44 million Generation Y (1982-1998) Approximately 70 million Generation Z (2001-Present) The Four Generations that remain in the workplace today are:

20 Generations SilentBaby BoomerGen XGen Y Outlook Practical________________________ Work Ethic ________ Driven______________ View of Authority __________________ Unimpressed ______ Leadership by ________Pay your dues______________ Relationships __________________Reluctant to commit ______ Work/Life Balance

21 Generations Silent Baby Boomer Gen X Gen Y Outlook Work Ethic View of Authority Communications Relationships Work/Life Balance Practical Dedicated Respectful Formal Memo Self-sacrifice “Don’t get it” Optimistic Driven Pay your dues In Person Personal gratification Responsible balancing for everyone else Skeptical Free Agent Competence E-Mail or Voicemail Reluctance to commit Want it now Cautious ? Text/ Skype/ IM Inclusive Flexibility and options

22 Approach to Change Silents Ready-Ready-Ready-Aim-Fire! Boomers Ready-Aim-Fire! Xers Ready-Fire-Aim! (Learn – Experiment – Adapt) Ys Fire-Fire-Fire-Aim-Fire!

23 Silent Generation aka Veteran Generation WWII Generation Seniors Geezers Radio Babies

24 Seminal Events World War II The Great Depression The New Deal Korean War Rise of Labor Unions

25 Characteristics of Silents Postpone Gratification Risk Aversive Loyal Family Country Job Respectful Communication Adherence to Rules

26 Paying Your Dues They were prepared to endure situations or master a body of knowledge. They were willing to demonstrate respect for those who came before them. Age and experience counted.

27 Baby Boomer Update 30% of the Baby Boomer generation are grandparents. 28% who are grandparents have divorced, remarried and have second or third sets of children. In some cases our children are playing with our grandchildren. Baby boomers are on the brink of retiring in droves leaving behind the largest labor shortage in history. 80% indicate they plan to work past age 65. Will control the workplace until about 2015

28 Baby Boomer Characteristics Largest Generation: 77 Million Optimistic Redefined Roles Management by Buzz Word Skewed Work/Life Balance Brought Up in a Competitive Environment Will Revolutionize Retirement “Work Ethic” and “Worth Ethic” Are Synonymous

29 The Baby Boomers Seminal Events 1954 McCarthy HCUAA hearings begin 1955 Salk Vaccine tested on the public and Rosa Parks refuses to move to the back of the bus in Montgomery, AL 1957 First nuclear Power Plant and Congress passes the Civil Rights Act 1958 National Defense Education Act 1960 Birth control pills introduced and John Kennedy elected

30 The Baby Boomers 1961 Kennedy establishes Peace Corps 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and John Glenn circles the earth 1963 Martin Luther King leads march on Washington, D.C. and President John Kennedy assassinated 1965 United States sends ground combat troops to Vietnam 1965 Higher Education Act 1965 National Organization for Women founded

31 The Baby Boomers (continued): 1966 Cultural Revolution in China 1967 American Indian Movement founded 1968 Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy Assassinated 1969 First Lunar landing and Woodstock 1970 Kent State University shootings

32 What the Other Generations Think About the Baby Boomers Silents say… “They talk about things they ought to keep private… like the intimate details of their personal lives.” “They are self-absorbed.”

33 What the Other Generations Think About the Baby Boomers Gen Xers say… “They’re clueless about the future.” “They’re workaholics.” “They’re too political, always trying to figure out just what to say…to whom…and when.” “Get outta my face.” “They do a great job of talking the talk. But they don’t walk the walk.” “Lighten up; it’s only a job.” “What’s the management fad this week?” “Can’t make a decision without forming a committee.”

34 What the Other Generations Think About the Baby Boomers Gen Y say… “They’re cool. They’re up to date on the music we like.” “They work too much.”

35 Managing Baby Boomers Recognize their experience as a valuable asset Use them as mentors Recognize role overload and conflicting demands Assist with time demands Recognize Technology Challenges

36 GENERATION X “Twentysomethings” “Baby Busters” “The Thirteenth Generation”

37 Gen X Update Generation X is moving into its peak family raising years. Census data shows an increase in stay-at- home Gen X moms. The increase is most pronounced among college graduates. Many indicate they are looking for a less “frazzled” lifestyle. 40% indicate they have too much debt to consider saving. Thirty percent have college degrees.

38 Gen X Seminal Events 1971 Intel’s first chip developed 1972 First e-mail management program 1975 Personal computer introduced on the consumer market 1981 Centers for Disease Control’s first published report on AIDS 1981 Reagan assassination attempt 1984 Extensive corporate downsizing begins 1986 Challenger explosion

39 Generation X Characteristics Dedicated to people, projects, ideas and tasks, not to longevity and lifetime employment They are parallel thinkers They are independent and resourceful They are accepting of change They “Want it now!” They are comfortable with diversity They have expectations of balanced lifestyles They view mentoring as a right not a privilege They have a free agent approach to careers

40 What Xers Want in the Workplace They want flexibility They want to be developed They want to be engaged They want affiliation They want us to “lighten up” They want to be appreciated They want balance

41 M anaging Gen Xers Frequent Feedback Limit the Bureaucracy Give them plenty of “elbow room” Understand your overall employee motivation package Give them work they can “juggle”

42 GENERATION Y Also known as: “Net Generation” “Echo Boomers” “Digital Generation” “Generation Next” “.com Generation” “Point and Click Generation” Generation Stress” “Digital Natives”

43 Gen Y Update: 72 million, second in size to the Baby Boom Generation. 90% say they are close to their parents. Most ethnically diverse group in U.S. history. 78% believe spirituality is important. Nature Deficit Disorder. More conservative than their parents. Kiddie Migraines. Many have been raised by “Helicopter” parents. They’ve been over parented, overindulged and overprotected. U.S. News and World Report, November 2003

44 GENERATION Y CORE VALUES INCLUDE: Optimism Volunteerism; i.e., 700 chapters of Habitat for Humanity in high schools Inclusiveness Collective Action Speed

45 The oldest Millennials were born in 1980, the year: John Lennon is assassinated by Mark David Chapman. The U.S. Supreme Court allows patents on living organisms. Mount Saint Helens erupts, killing 60 people. CNN is launched as the first all news network. Japan passes the U.S. as the largest automaker. Bill Gates licenses MS-DOS to IBM, makes next to nothing on the deal.

46 Mindlist to assist managers in thinking about what their new employees have experienced and what they have never experienced: The Kennedy tragedy was a plane crash, not an assassination. A “45” is a gun, not a record with a large hole in the center. They have no clue what the Beach Boys were talking about when they sang about a 409, and the Little Deuce Coupe. They have probably never lost anything in shag carpeting. M*A*S*H and The Muppet Show have always been in reruns. There have always been automated teller machines. Watergate is as relevant to their lives as the Teapot Dome scandal.

47 Mindlist to assist managers in thinking about what their new employees have experienced and what they have never experienced (continued): There has always been a national holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. Bear Bryant has never coached at Alabama. Elton John has only been heard on easy-listening stations. Most have never seen a black and white T.V. They have never used a bottle of White Out. “Google” has always been a verb. They grew up in mini-vans and have no clue as to what a station wagon is.

48 Generation Y Characteristics Using computers since Pre-Kindergarten E-Learners In a state of continuous partial attention Used to instant communication Accustom to giving feedback Many are into “Extreme Sports” Expect frequent and/or constant feedback Optimistic Speed is valued more than attention to nagging detail Oriented toward collective action

49 Career Development Trends Young adults entering the workforce will change jobs approximately every 2-4 years. More people will be free agents. A hop-scotch approach will replace linear career pathing. In the future, employees will look to work for 8-10 years, then take time off, like a sabbatical.

50 Career Development Trends Flexible Employment Will Gain Popularity As more people work flexible hours, work from home and use technology to work for employers in distant locations, the traditional workday and workweek will further erode. Part of this movement will be driven by parents who want to spend more time with their children.

51 Career Development Trends We see the apparent downtrend in career ambition as the real revolution, where very sizeable numbers of women and men are working hard, but not wanting the trade-offs they would have to make by advancing into jobs with more responsibility.

52 Building Bridges Across Generations Wishing people were more like you is not a strategy. Respect Work Life Balance Building communities Discuss definitions of ‘professionalism’ Leverage Connections in the workplace Professional development of managers Conduct a demographic audit of the workplace


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