Intergenerational Communication in the Workplace T H E R E A L V O YA G E O F D I S C O V E R Y CONSISTS NOT IN SEEKING NEW L A N D S C A P E S B U T I N H AV I N G N E W E Y E S . MARCEL PROUST Workshop Goals Increase knowledge and understanding of the four generations Enhance comprehension of how generational differences affect you Promote skills for effective intergenerational communication Expand capacity to manage diverse
working styles across the generations Is the Generation Gap Back? Generational differences represent a critical new aspect to workplace diversity. How you view generational differences is based on your generational perspective. The Four Generations The Traditionalists The Boomers 19221943/46 19431960/1946-1964
Generation Xers 1960-1980/1964-1980 Millennials 1980-2000 The Traditionalists Born between 1922-1943/1946 are now 57 - 81 years old
Represent 25% of the work population Also known as the:veterans, seniors, traditionalists, silent generation The Baby Boomers Born between 1943-1960/1946-1964* Now between the ages of 39 and 60 72 million strong Also known as: Boomers
The Generation Xers Born between 1960-1980/1964-1980 Currently 23 43 years of age 17 Million Also known as: Xers, Baby Busters, Post-Boomers The Generation Ys or Millennials Born between 1980 and 2000 Under 23 years of age 68 Million Strong Also known as the: Nexters, Nintendo Generation, Internet Generation
How Their Times Shaped Them Traditionalists: Defining Events The Great Depression & Dust Bowl The New Deal Social Security Established Golden Age of Radio Pearl Harbor Attacked WW II and Korean War Patriotism Rise of Labor Unions Traditionalists: Heroes Superman MacArthur, Patton, Halsey,
Montgomery, Eisenhower FDR Winston Churchill Audie Murphy Babe Ruth Joe DiMaggio Boomers: Defining Events Economic Prosperity Expansion of Suburbia Focus on Children Television Vietnam Assassinations Civil Rights Movement Cold War/McCarthy Hearings
Space Race/Moon Landing Baby Boomers: Heroes Ghandi Martin Luther King Jr. John and Jacqueline Kennedy John Glenn Feminist Movement Gen Xers: Defining Events Watergate, Nixon resigns Challenger Disaster Computers Single-parent homes Latchkey Kids MTV
AIDS Harsh economic conditions Glasnost, Perestroika Persian Gulf Gen Xers: Heroes ? Oprah Winfrey Bill Gates & Steve Jobs Michael Jackson Michael Jordan Things, animation Millenials: Defining Events Technology TV Talk Shows Multiculturalism
Desert Storm Clinton Scandals Schoolyard Violence Oklahoma City Bombing 9/11 Columbia tragedy Millenials: Heroes ? Michael Jordan Princess Diana Mother Teresa Tiger Woods Lance Armstrong Comparing the Generations Traditionalist 1901-1942
Chain of command Change of command Self-command View of hierarchy Prefer topdown; military Comfortable with top-down Prefer flat
What theyre building A legacy A stellar, upward career A portable career Job changing Carries a stigma Puts you behind Is necessary Motivator
A job well done Money, title, promotion Self fulfillment, freedom, fun Workplace flexibility Who will do the work? The nerve of those Xers! Ill go for the right
lifestyle Comparing the Generations Traditionalists 1901-1942 Baby Boomers 1943-1960 Generation Xers 1961-1981 Working long hours Required, prudent Will get you ahead,
money, bonus Get a life! Productivity Inputs and outputs matter Input matters most Output is all that matters Give me more Essentials
Money Time Performance reviews If Im not yelling at you, all is fine. Once a year; welldocumented. Sorry to interrupt again, how am I doing? Work-Family
Work matters most; wife at home Work matters most; dual career or divorced Family matters; dual career Career paths Slow and steady Ladder Lattice
Career pace Prove yourself with loyalty; pay dues Prove yourself with I want to know all my long hours; pay dues options now. Generational Clash in the Workplace Worldwide economy Rapid change in the workplace Downsizing of companies Mergers, acquisitions, consolidations Elimination of middle management
Less union activity in companies Seniority only one element of promotion Technology The Result: No job is safe, and no career assured. Causes employees to identify more with their generation and blame other generations for workplace problems and issues. The real generational workplace conflict is based on differences in values, ambitions, views, mindsets, and demographics.
Traditionalist Values Dedication/ Patience sacrifice Law and order Strong work ethic Risk averse Respect for authority Delayed reward Duty, honor,
country Loyalty to the organization Traditionalists at Work Assets Stable Detail oriented Thorough Loyal Hard working Liabilities Inept w/ambiguity and change
Reluctant to buck the system Uncomfortable with conflict Reticent when they disagree Traditionalists: Training & Development Training Take plenty of time Give them the big picture Emphasize long-
term goals Let them share their experience Developing Technology Dont stereotype as technophobes Use formality and order Dont rush it
Messages that Motivate Traditionalists Your experience is respected here. Its important for the rest of us to hear what has, and hasnt, worked in the past. Your perseverance is valued and will be rewarded. Boomer Values Optimism Promotion and
Team work Personal recognition Youth Work Volunteerism gratification Health and wellness Boomers at Work Assets Service oriented Driven
Willing to go the extra mile Good at relationships Want to please Good team players Liabilities Not naturally budget minded Uncomfortable with conflict Reluctant to go against peers Put process ahead of results
Sensitive to feedback Judgmental of those who see things differently Boomers: Training & Development Training Focus on the near future Development Meetings and team team building
Focus on challenges Focus on their Provide develop- mental experiences role Use business books and Messages that Motivate Boomers
You are important to our success. We recognize your unique and important contribution to our team. What is your vision for this project? You are valued. Gen X Values Diversity Fun Thinking globally Balance in life
Informality Computer literacy Personal Initiative development Independence Gen Xers at Work Assets Adaptable Techno-literate Independent
Not intimidated by authority Creative Liabilities Impatient Poor people skills Inexperienced Cynical Gen Xers: Training & Development Training Development Focus on balance
Electronic support Offer them access Keep materials to many different kinds of information Provide resource lists brief bullets/checklists
Help them train for another job Messages that Motivate Gen Xers Do it your way. Weve got the latest computer technology. There arent a lot of rules here. Were not very corporate. Millennial Values Optimism
Education Civic duty Confidence Idealism Ambition/ Diversity achievement Tradition Fun Millennials at Work
Assets Loyalty Optimism Tolerant Multi-tasking Fast-thinking Technological savvy Liabilities Need for supervision and structure Inexperience, particularly with handling different
people issues Service levels are low Millennials: Training & Development Training Take plenty of time Let them know what they do matters Communicate expectations Development Focus on customer
service and interpersonal skills Model the behavior you want to see Large teams with Messages that Motivate Millennials We provide equal opportunities here. Your mentor is in his/her sixties. You are making a positive difference to our company.
You handled that situation well. Using the ACORN Approach Accommodate employee differences. Create workplace choices. Operate from a flexible management style. Respect competence and initiative. Nourish retention. Source: Generations At Work, Ron Zemke, Claire Raines, and Bob Filipczak It is axiomatic that we should all think of ourselves as being more sensitive than other people because, when
we are insensitive in our dealings with others, we cannot be aware of it at the time: Conscious insensitivity is a self- contradiction. - W.H. Auden
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