Category Archives: Intergenerational Workforce

Are You Aware of the Impact Negative Stereotyping is Having on Millennials?

 

A recent report from Udemy, based on a survey of more than 1,000 Millennials across the U.S., found that 86 percent feel undermined by negative stereotypes in the workplace

I’ve spent many years providing training to help employees work better across generations.  Here are some ways I’ve found helpful in understanding Millennials and reducing negative stereotyping:

  1. Younger generations historically are the victims of negative stereotyping. If you are a Boomer, think back to how employers felt about your generation of hippies entering the workforce.  If you are a Gen X’er, you probably remember your generation being called  “slackers” when you entered the workforce.  You proved that you were productive employees and you will find that many young employees, if they have appropriate support, are and will become productive employees.
  2. Millennials are labeled as being too demanding when they are vocal about expressing their needs in areas such as equity, positive feedback and flexibility. Productivity and retention improve when employees feel supported and perceive they are being treated in an equitable manner. Listen to your employees and try to meet their needs.  When you can’t meet their requests, discuss the business rationale for doing so.
  3. Entitlement” is often confused with ambition.Employees from this generation may want to get promoted faster than those in older generations.  Rather than labeling them as “entitled”, they need to be given guidance about the skills needed to move to higher levels in the organization.
  4. Appreciating the unique contributions each individual makes can lessen the tendency to stereotype and enhance engagement.  Get to know your employees and determine how to leverage each individual’s strengths.

What do you think are the business costs of negative stereotyping?  What is your organization doing to address this?

I am very interested in your input on this topic.  Please feel free to leave a comment or get in touch with me here.

 

How to Engage & Retain Millennials

Business and organizational leaders are becoming increasingly concerned about how to retain talented millennial employees, because they know that their organizations will only be sustainable with a cadre of employees committed for the long term.  Here’s a clip of a recent interview I gave to the MEECO Institute that addresses steps managers can take to increase the engagement and retention of millennial employees: https://www.youtube.com/embed/lgS9QevUrBQ?start=508&end=678 

Successful business people celebrating with a high-five

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.  Millennials 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 employees from all of the generations 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.  You may contact Alisa for a complimentary consultation at alisa@developtopemployees.com or (503) 481-7586.

© 2018, 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.