Generational groups have different norms and behaviors that impact the workplace — positively and negatively. Each generation believes that its work ethic is “better and/or stronger” than that of subsequent generations. Each also believes that theirs is sufficient and appropriate.
Fellow baby boomer (1946-1964) business owners often ask us how to get the younger generations to change their work ethic. Sorry, that’s not likely. We’re all products of our upbringing. The parenting norms with which we grew up shaped us, as did the events, people, and issues we encountered. These change by generation.
To recruit, retain and motivate Xers (1965-1978), appeal to their desire for balance. Develop family-friendly programs that offer flexible schedules, telecommuting and job-sharing. Encourage their independence and ability to manage multiple priorities. Remove bureaucracy and tenure-based rewards, but don’t remove yourself. Xers crave feedback, especially from their boss.
Spend one-on-one time with these employees to create relationships and foster trust. Emphasize their accomplishments and results rather than the methods they used to achieve them. Include them in decision-making — they’re problem-solvers. Finally, if you want something done, give it to an Xer. They’ve been self-managing from a young age.
Millennials born between 1979 and 1994 are often entitled, impatient and outspoken with limited ability to take criticism. They’re frequently high maintenance, but most experts agree they have more potential than previous generations. They grew up with instant gratification, doting parents and an environment where everyone gets a trophy. They are adaptable and flexible, able to deal with an ever-increasing rate of change. They are beyond technology savvy — they’re technology sophisticated. Finally, although they have seen corruption in their sports heroes, business leaders and even their president, they continue to believe that they will change the world for the better.
To keep millennials, offer flexibility and fun. This may seem superfluous to baby boomers. However, organizations that hope to attract and retain millennials will need to support even higher levels of work-life balance. Short sabbaticals to pursue personal interests will be attractive. Offer the latest technology. Read more…