Category Archives: Intergenerational Workforce

What Makes a Diversity Training Program Successful?

Mixed group business people

I have had the privilege recently to collaborate with intercultural communication specialist, Lillian Tsai, to provide a training program, “Working Across Generations & Cultures”. This training has been very well received, particularly among people who have been unhappy with other diversity training programs.

Here are some reasons why I believe this program is having a positive impact:

  • We use a strengths-based approach to help participants appreciate the positive contributions they all bring to the workplace.
  • We emphasize the importance of understanding people based on a multitude of dimensions, both generational and cultural, so they get an understanding of the many factors that influence communication in the workplace.
  • We incorporate a number of interactive exercises and discussions that help participants break down barriers and deepen their connections with each other.
  • Participants are given the opportunity during the workshop to figure out how they can apply the techniques they have learned to resolve a current conflict at work.

Although many people have had negative experiences with diversity training, I know that there are a number of successful programs out there. I am interested in learning more about what others have found useful when helping people work effectively across differences.

The Boomer Exodus & Millenial Explosion: 5 Strategies to Successfully Manage this Generational Transition

Mixed group business people

We are in the midst of huge demographic changes. Boomers are reaching retirement age at record rates and the Millenials will soon be the largest generation in the workforce. Many organizations today have a small window in which to pass on essential knowledge and evolve into the type of organization that is conducive to hiring and keeping a younger generation of top talent.

Here are some strategies that will help your organization to successfully manage this transition:

  1. Have career development discussions. It is essential to find out when your older employees are thinking about retiring and garner suggestions about how to best pass on their knowledge.       Discussions with younger employees is also imperative, as  younger employees are much more likely to stay at their current job if they have opportunities for career development.
  2. Determine which of your employees have the skills, motivation and interest level required to fill positions vacated by your retirees.   It can be extremely useful to develop benchmarks for the positions being vacated so that you can assess which of your current employees are able to fill positions that will soon be vacated. Then, assess current employees who you think could be qualified for these positions.
  3. Develop mentoring programs. Older workers tend to be motivated by having opportunities to pass on their knowledge. Younger workers enjoy the career development opportunities they gain as mentees while also learning critical skills needed to prepare for advancement.
  4. Create flexible work schedules. Many older workers either don’t want to retire full time or cannot afford to retire full time. Organizations can reap the benefits of their experience by creating part-time, on-call or consultant opportunities. Flexible work schedules are a highly effective way to retain Gen X and Millenial employees as this provides them with a greater ability to manage work and family responsibilities.
  5. Move toward a collaborative organizational culture. Younger employees typically desire a flatter, more collaborative organization. In order to keep top young talent, it will be imperative to identify changes that need to be made in your organization to successfully create a collaborative organizational culture.

By implementing these strategies, you can prevent the potential loss of critical knowledge during the Boomer exodus, and can make sure you have successors in place to ensure your organization will grow and thrive.

Alisa Blum & Associates provides customized training programs, assessments, consultations, coaching and conference presentations to help organizations successfully work across generations.  Please contact Alisa at alisa@developtopemployees.com or (503) 524-3470 to discuss how we can best assist you.

© 2017, Alisa Blum, Alisa Blum & Associates, www.developtopemployees.com

Preventing Disastrous Generational Conflict in the Workplace

Young businessman being confronted by his angry female boss. Isolated on white.

With multiple generations in the workplace, each with its own values, work styles and communication preferences, it is no wonder generational conflict can undermine the ability of employees to work together effectively. Unresolved generational conflict can lead to problems such as unproductive teams, accusations of age bias and high turnover.

Generational conflict can be prevented by:

  1. Maximizing the strengths each generation brings to the workplace. Gen X’ers often excel at helping to create increased efficiency. Baby Boomers vast work experience can be leveraged to mentor younger workers and document best practices. Millennials can use their innovative technological savvy to discover new ways your organization can better use social media.
  2. Helping managers understand the need for generation-specific communication strategies. A Gen X manager who does not take the time to develop a trusting relationship with Boomer employees may run the risk of alienating these employees. A Boomer manager may lose high potential younger employees without an understanding of the need for frequent positive feedback.
  3. Giving the message to your workforce that differences are neither good nor bad. People tend to make value judgments when they encounter behavior that is different than they are accustom. Employees need to learn to delay the knee jerk reaction to make negative judgments about others or take another person’s behavior personally when they encounter employees with work styles and values that are different than their own.

Preventing generational conflict is not easy. But we can create a more harmonious multigenerational workforce with raised awareness of our own and others behavior, combined with specific strategies for creating a workplace that values the work styles of all of the generations.

Alisa Blum, President of Alisa Blum & Associates, specializes in optimizing the multigenerational workforce. Come to our June 8th event and learn strategies for retaining Millennials.