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Boomers, Gen-X, and Gen-Y Working Together: Conflict or Opportunity

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Boomers, Gen-X, and Gen-Y Working Together: Conflict or Opportunity

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  1. Boomers, Gen-X, and Gen-Y Working Together: Conflict or Opportunity Managing Multiple Generations Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  2. Picture it: the elevator doors open and out walks John, 69, Bri-Ann, 20, Margaret, 47, Sam, 55, and Derrek, 32, as they are about to start their day as analysts at ABCA. Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  3. Today, I’m going to talk to you about the fact that for the first time at least three generations are working together – actually it is more like 5 generations in the workplace at the same time!! Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  4. 5 Generations Working Together 1. Which generations are working together and why are they in the work place at the same time? 2. What characteristics, values and attitudes do they bring to the work place and what’s the impact on managers and the work place? 3. Could you be dealing with a conflict as a result of generational differences? 4. Knowing the source of the conflict leads to resolution. 5. How have large organizations, even the military dealt with the situation? Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  5. There are currently five different generations working together in the work place. • Who are they? • Which Generations are working together? • Where do you fit? Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  6. Definition Generations are based on birth year and the major and life-changing events of that period. • “generation members are born, start school, enter the workforce, have children, and retire at about the same time and age. [They] “are the same age when wars are waged, technological advances are made, and other social changes occur.” Journal of Business Psychology • Their “shared experiences at key developmental points contribute to the unique characteristics (e.g., values, attitudes, personality) that define and differentiate one generation from another.” (Mannheim 1952; Ryder 1965). Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  7. 5 Generations Working Together • Generational Snapshot Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  8. Why are these generations working together? • Demographics! Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  9. 5 Generations Working Together Older workers, such as Veterans and Boomers are staying longer in the work place for several reasons: • Elimination of mandatory retirement age leads Boomers to stay longer; • the expertise and corporate knowledge of older workers are needed, so some retirees came back to fulfil this requirement; • others simply stay because they enjoyed working at their jobs; and • others stay for monetary reasons. Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  10. Canadian Population •  As of 2011, Canada’s total population was 34,482,779 • The breakdown of the Canadian population by generation is: • Mature/WWII Generation: 4,973,438 • Baby Boomers: 9,811,335 • Generation X: 7,035,208 • Generation Y/Millennials: 8,917,612 Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  11. Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  12. Demographics – Graphic Representation Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  13. Labour Force • In March 2012, there were 17,148,200 people in the Canadian Labour Force (ages 15 and older) • Total labour force participation by generation: • Mature/WWII Generation: 1,140,100 • Baby Boomers: 6,858,500 • Generation X: 5,609,700 • Generation Y/Millennials: 4,113,100 Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  14. What does this mean? • For the first time in history five generations are in the workplace at the same time!! • What’s the impact on the workplace? Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  15. Generational differences! Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  16. The Psychology Foundation of Canada Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  17. WORKPLACE CHARACTERISTICS Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  18. Stereotypical Attitudes • Comments about them Note: These critical and stereotypical comments are examples of generational conflict • “They have no work ethic,” • “He wants feedback, what the heck is that?” • “It’s five, I’m out of here!” • “The kid wants a promotion after six months on the job!” • “I have shoes older than you.” • “They don’t even know what HTML is!” Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  19. Generational Differences • Values and attitudes collide: Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  20. Characteristics, Values, and Attitudes • How do characteristics, values, and attitudes develop in the first place? Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  21. Values • principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile or desirable. • the beliefs of a person or social group in which they have an emotional investment (either for or against something). [Free Dictionary] Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  22. Two kinds of values: • First, those that involve “end states” such as world peace, happiness and friendship. • Second, those that deal with how people behave, e.g. honesty, kindness and sharing.” Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  23. Where do our values come from? Two Sources: • Initially, our values come from parents, teachers, relatives and religious leaders. • Then, they are influenced by friends during the adolescent years when we start to question them, accepting some and rejecting others. Ultimately, we decide which ones to make a part of our lives. Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  24. Generational humourist Meagan Johnson (Clip) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLAQW5yxA6o start clip (7:40 – 10:40) Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  25. Characteristics, Values, and Attitudes Major Events • Veterans: the world Wars, in particular WWII, • Baby Boomers: assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy • Gen-Y: Shuttle Blast (1986) Waco, Texas (1993), the Oklahoma City Bombing (1995), the Olympics Bombing in Atlanta (1996) Columbine Shootings (1999), the World Trade Center Attack and the Pentagon Attacks (Sept. 11, 2001), Hurricane Katrina (2005). Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  26. Major Events (in Canada) • Canadian tragedies: • Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique - 1989 • Dawson College Shooting in Montreal – 2006 Because we live in a world that is so connected due to technology, it really doesn’t matter where events happen, in an instant they go global. Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  27. Review: Workplace Characteristics • As you have seen major life experiences shape behaviours that can be seen in the workplace. • So, how do we deal with generational differences in the workplace? Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  28. Let’s look at some workplace scenarios: Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  29. Generational Conflict - Scenario 1 • Marvin, a “Veteran”, recently returned to work. With the recent economic downturn, retirement didn’t quite work out as planned, but he was able to get a job working for his previous employer. Senior management valued Marvin’s knowledge and work experience, but this time, he was reporting to Sophie – a “Gen –Yer”. • Sophie – a “Gen –Yer”, spent two days per week working “virtually” outside the office. Marvin knew there were many different ways to get a job done, but he expected his manager to give him direction to avoid any repercussions if things went wrong. Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  30. Generational Conflict Scenario 1 - Solution • The relationship between Sophie and Marvin became strained, leading to productivity problems. • Sophie needed to learn how to be more specific with Marvin by outlining project outcomes and expectations. • Because Sophie worked out of the office frequently, regular face-to-face meetings were also scheduled with Marvin. • Saving the relationship ended up in big wins for the company and a major improvement in staff morale. Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  31. Generational ConflictScenario 2 - Situation • A top-notch, cross-functional team with individuals from several different generations has been set up to recommend a solution to a serious manufacturing problem. • After a couple of weeks, the manager responsible for the team cannot understand why there is constant bickering and nothing is getting done. • If the manager were aware of just one characteristic of each individual relating to communication needs, he or she might understand the stalemate. Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  32. Generational ConflictScenario 2 - Situational Analysis • The Veterans on the team are looking for handwritten notes and direct, specific requests for work to be done. • The Boomers do not like to work independently, and they expect to have meetings any time, any place — and it is fine if they are called day or night. • The Gen-Xers do not want to hear about the project outside of work, and don’t want to be called at home. • The Gen-Yers don’t want any meetings at all, they only communicate via voice mail and e-mail. Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  33. Generational Conflict - Scenario 2 • No wonder the team is having trouble getting motivated toward the goal. • At the beginning of any team formation, an effective leader should consider spending time learning how team members wish to communicate. Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  34. Personal Experience • Personal Experience • A few years ago, our Section was re-organized and one of our units received a new supervisor. • Shortly after the re-organization, the employees from unit with the new supervisor approached me as the A/Manager with a complaint. They were upset and in fact quite incensed about the fact that the new supervisor had never met with them but rather sent them an e-mail. • I’m sure you can you guess which generations I was dealing with? Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  35. Handling Generational Conflict - NSAM • Name it. • Solve it. • Act on it. • Move Forward. Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  36. NSAM Meaning? • Name it: generational differences • Solve it: awareness and understanding • Act on it: implement creative solution • Move forward: leverage assets (emphasize advantages) Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  37. Where do you fit? • Earlier I asked this question. • Many of the characteristics may not fit you for various reasons, e.g. you may have different signposts. • The premise of the presentation is to bring awareness to the existence of generational differences that may cause conflict in the workplace and to give possible solutions. Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  38. Focus on the Newest Generation in the Workplace – Generation Y • As we have seen from the demographics, Boomers are numerous at this time and many are managing Generation Y. • Here are some tips on managing Generation Y. Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  39. Treat Generation Y as Colleagues • Often upon entering the workforce, Gen-Y is sometimes is treated as interns or “know-nothing kids.” • They want to feel like colleagues, not subordinates. Treating them with respect, as well as asking for it in return creates a strong relationship. • Everyone wants to be validated!!! Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  40. Consistently Provide Constructive Feedback • Generation Y crave daily feedback. • Let them know what they are doing well and what they can improve. Use their desire to “want to know now” as a mentoring tool to give them the benefit of your experience. • From a managerial perspective, it means that errors won’t go unchecked for months before they are corrected. Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  41. Help Generation Y Meet Their High Expectations • An admirable characteristic of Generation Y is that they want to make meaningful contributions; they want to make these contributions immediately. • Generation Ys are highly educated, but still need to be schooled in what it means to work for an organization. • Be willing to share with a new employee, the goals, expectations, and policies and procedures of both the organization and the individual work group in which they belong. Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  42. Do not assume that Generation Y has learned everything they need in order to be prepared for the workforce. Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  43. Leverage Unique Gen-Y assets • collaborative (their natural propensity for collaboration is the foundation for innovation • grasp of all things technological • desire to make a meaningful contribution • support their desire to be innovative Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  44. Solutions: (NSAM) - Managers • Communicate with each generation in their preferred style. It is not giving in, it’s good business. It lays a foundation for effective management. • Clearly outline specific expectations early, to avoid misunderstandings and confusion. • Take a proactive approach to conflict: name it, solve it, act on it, move forward. Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  45. Solutions/Strategies: NSAM • Clearly state corporate culture • Model for them – treat me like this, as I treat you the way you want, this will lead to mutual respect (we don’t know yet how they will lead because it’s too early, but we can be the example (influence) for how they will lead in the future. This can be our investment in the future. • Model behaviour – don’t expect one thing from them that you don’t and won’t deliver yourself, be the example. Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  46. Solutions/Strategies: NSAM • Explain: To get ‘buy in’, tell them ‘why’ and what’s in it for them • Celebrate them: Praise them in public – make them a ‘star’ • Celebrate together: Make the workplace fun  Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  47. NSAM • Name it. • Solve it. • Act on it. • Move Forward. Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  48. SuccessesDeliotte • Deliotte lost its place on Fortune’s magazine’s 100 Best company to work for because it under-estimated the impact of not understanding and dealing effectively with the need of Gen-Y employees who did not work after hours when requested to do so. Once they realized the importance of taking into consideration Gen-Y’s perspective, and changed its way of relating to Gen-Y, Deliotte was back on Fortune’s magazine’s 100 Best company to work for two years consecutively. • A difficult lesson to learn!! Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  49. Merrill-Lynch • Merrill-Lynch learned that to attract new employees, it was necessary to also engage their parents. • After their bottom line had been affected, they realized that the perspective and characteristics of Gen-Y had to be a factor in their recruiting methods. • Recruiters learned a hard lesson. Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations

  50. United States Army • The United States Army, learned that their famous way of treating recruits had to change from having drill sergeants shouting out orders to be followed without question, resulted in a 10 % decrease in recruiting numbers. • A review of their processes revealed that recruits had changed and no longer gave respect just because it was expected. Recruits wanted participation from their drill sergeants. They wanted mentors not dictators. • Drill sergeants started doing drills with the recruits. • The results was increased retention of recruits. Joan Oliver - Managing Multiple Generations