Generation gap

Which Generation Works The Hardest?

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August 17 @ 8:38 pm CDT

Last week I spoke at a corporate event where younger generations were getting a tongue-lashing from their Baby Boomer counterparts. The Boomers were scolding Generation Y for needing constant feedback, being unable to prioritize, and wanting to have (gasp!) fun at work. Indeed, there’s a stereotype in many offices that younger employees–especially those born since the mid ’80s–are less responsible and unreliable. It’s history repeating itself. Remember when Generation X entered the workforce? They were labeled as ‘slackers’ because they wanted flex-time. And both the Xers and Ys will gladly sling mud at the Boomers, referring to them as ‘workaholics’ and ‘fuddy-duddies’. There’s more than name-calling at work here. What these negative stereotypes really stem from are differences in productivity. For a generation that followed the Industrial Revolution and was raised to value hard work, the perceived lack of Generation X and Y’s productivity drives the Boomers absolutely nuts. In fact, 68% of Boomers feel “younger people” do not have as strong a work ethic as they do and that makes doing their own work harder. I don’t think the Boomers are doing the lion’s share of the work while Xers slack off and Ys seek pats on the back. Rather, productivity resembles something different for each generation. This blog was written to help organizations better understand why they are challenged with differing generational demographics.  Our studies show that the significant disruptions and societal shifts of the past 20+ years have influenced younger members behaviors. This has affected the reasons why joining and engaging with your organization is different today. The research findings do not apply to every single member of each generation. However, our 20 years of ongoing research findings continue to hold true – making the information valuable when drafting membership engagement and growth strategies to target younger members.  Boomers (1946-1964) Productivity = DedicationBoomers tend to lean toward vision and values. They like inspiring mission statements, setting goals, fixing problems, and measure success in terms of…

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Workforce

Recognizing Generation Stereotypes In The Workplace

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August 17 @ 8:38 pm CDT

Ever have one of those moments when you realize it’s a generational difference that’s causing you frustration? I had one recently with my mother-in-law. I could barely sit through the story she told me about how she repeatedly scours the stores looking for a specific fondue pot she broke years ago. “Why not just order it on Amazon?” I asked her, flabbergasted. Well, she hadn’t thought of it. After our conversation, she ordered it on Amazon. That also surprised me because I thought she was afraid of online shopping. With more than three generations working together, misunderstandings based on stereotypes happen all the time in the workplace. Getting past stereotypes is the first step in being part of and creating excellent teams. It’s tempting to say that stereotypes exist for a reason, and use that as general proof they are true. Of course, there is a reason, but that doesn’t make them true, and it doesn’t excuse you from getting past them. If you’re buying into stereotypes, you’re limiting contributions by others and missing opportunities yourself. Let’s take another approach. Gen Y: Entitled & lazy While many may see the shirking of “busy work” as lazy or entitled to better things, could actually be a desire not to waste time. Leverage their skills and motivate seemingly entitled and lazy team members. When assigning Millennials work it will help if you: Explain why it’s important, not just that they need to do it Show them the bigger picture Give them regular feedback Offer challenging work, don’t let them get bored Gen X: Cynical & poor team members Don’t count Gen X out for group activities just because you’ve heard they are cynical loners at work. When given the right motivations, Xers are great team players. You’ll encourage teamwork if you: Give them choices, let them use their resourcefulness Give them goals and let them figure out how to reach them Provide mentorship Avoid micromanaging Boomers: Out of touch & disinterested in learning new things After years of being called on by parents and…

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