(answered) - What are the four generational groups currently represented in

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  1. What are the four generational groups currently represented in the workforce? What are common shared characteristics and professional drivers for each group?

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2.What are the critical challenges for management and HR professionals today in working with all four of these groups in the context of person-job fit, motivation and performance? How can these areas be addressed successfully?

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3.As a current or future manager/leader, how do you think your personality style and individual preferences will prove to be beneficial in working with such generational diversity (as well as other areas of diversity and individual differences!)? What are some areas for personal development and improvement for yourself in order to be more effective in this regard?

200-250 words in length


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HR Magazine

 


 

N ovem ber 2014

 


 

COVER STORY

 


 

u

 

H o w can em ployers capture th e skills and know ledge

 

of four generations?

 

By Susan Milligan

 


 

h, those pesky Millennials, thinking they can set their own work schedules and demanding

 

meaning in even the most mundane office tasks. Then there are the Baby Boomers, just biding

 

their time until retirement, phoning it in, all the while complaining about how younger employJ ees aren?t paying their dues. And what?s up with those folks from Generation X? Don?t they

 

know how to work collaboratively?

 

These are stereotypes, of course, but they are based on many people?s perceptions as well as

 

real inclinations that researchers have associated with the broad generational groups. And while

 

employers have always had to deal with tension among different age groups (experienced old-timers

 

grousing about cocky young upstarts, and vice versa), this marks the first time in history that four

 

distinct generations are coexisting in the labor force. They are the Traditionalists (born 1922-45),

 


 

IMAGES FROM SHUTTERSTOCK

 


 

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November 2014 HR Magazine

 


 

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COVER STORY

 


 

Baby Boomers (born 1946-64), Generation X (born 1965-80)

 

and M illennial (born 1981-2000), according to Jay Meschke,

 

president of the Cleveland-based business consulting firm CBIZ

 

Human Capital Services.

 

Part of the reason for this four-generation mix at work is the

 

recession, which prompted many Baby Boomers to delay retire?

 

ment while their 401(k)s recover. Moreover,

 

many T raditionalists?who would have

 

been considered past retirement age in an

 

earlier era?have decided to keep working,

 

either for money or for personal satisfaction.

 

Each of the generations has a different

 

way of learning, advancing and collabo?

 

rating. And while that is its own challenge,

 

HR professionals and senior managers are

 

dealing with another issue as well: how

 

to ensure that vital knowledge and skills

 

are being transferred among the different

 

groups, especially since the older workers

 

who delayed retirement during the recession are now beginning

 

to think about leaving.

 

?From an HR standpoint, it?s really critical,? says Giselle

 

Kovary, managing partner and co-founder of n-gen People Per?

 

formance Inc. and an expert on generational differences in the

 

workplace. ?The big piece about the generational perspective is,

 

how does it start to impact your human capital, and what is the

 

capital risk??

 


 

W hy K now ledge Transfer M atters

 

Technology has had an enormous impact on the need for knowl?

 

edge transfer and education, with the high speed of development

 

requiring workers from every generation to learn new technolo?

 

gies more quickly.

 

Consider the telephone, says Brad Karsh, president of Chi?

 

cago-based professional training company JB Training Solu?

 

tions. When Karsh was born, his family had a rotary phone?a

 

device created in 1918 that didn?t change much for a half cen?

 

tury. By comparison, there have been five versions of the iPhone

 

in seven years.

 

Fast-changing technology means workers have less time to get

 

up to speed on important new skills. It also means older employ?

 

ees must be willing to learn from younger ones?the so-called

 

?digital natives? who grew up immersed in computer and mobile

 

technologies.

 

In addition, employers can no longer count on employees fol?

 

lowing routine career paths. Traditionalists, for example, likely

 

entered the workforce with the idea that they would have one

 

career and possibly just a single employer. Baby Boomers and

 


 

members of Generation X were prepared to work for a number

 

of employers, but most likely in the same field.

 

M illennial, however, are interested in both job- and career?

 

hopping. They might have eight different careers in their life?

 

times?not because they?re unhappy at work, but because they

 

feel like a change or want to do serial, mini-retirements so they

 


 

A lo t o f companies aren't ready

 

yet for the looming retirements

 

o f older workers. T hey were

 

preparing, then stopped.'

 

? Deb LaMere, Ceridian

 


 

can go hiking for two months. ?They?ll be a freelance writer,

 

a chef and then an engineer,? Kovary says. ?That?s completely

 

reasonable to them.?

 

While that might produce an exciting path for the worker, it

 

makes workforce planning a challenge for HR managers. They

 

don?t want to lose the knowledge and ideas of the younger gen?

 

eration, even as they are trying to ensure knowledge transfer

 

from older employees who may start to retire as the economic

 

recovery proceeds.

 

A lot of companies aren?t ready for the looming retirements

 

of older workers, says Deb LaMere, vice president of employee

 

engagement at Ceridian, a Minneapolis-based HR services firm.

 

?They were preparing, then stopped,? she notes. ?Now we have

 

to hurry up again.? And with the economy turning around,

 

even employees who aren?t of retirement age are ready to make

 

a change, even a risky one, such as starting a business or mov?

 

ing to another firm, she says, which adds to the uncertainty for

 

HR managers.

 


 

The Four G enerations

 

To handle the knowledge exchange?whether or not it involves

 

people on their way out the door?managers must understand

 

what drives the different generations and how that affects the

 

way they teach and learn. It?s about more than age. Much of

 

what defines the generations is world events and parenting styles.

 

Traditionalists. This generation may have lived through the

 

Great Depression and World War II. Its members have strong

 

ideas about loyalty and hard work, believing that both will be

 

rewarded with financial and professional benefits. Job-hopping

 


 

f W ATCH a video about m anaging fo u r generations at work: w w w .shrm .o rg /1114-m terg eneration al-kno w led ge-transfer

 


 

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HR Magazine

 


 

November 2014

 


 

is viewed as disloyal, and many have made a life?

 

tim e com m itm ent to one job or company. By the

 

same token, T raditionalists are also more com ?

 

fortable w orking on longer-term projects, Kovary

 

notes in her book, Loyalty Unplugged: H ow to

 

Get, Keep & Grow A ll Four Generations (Xlibris, 2007).

 

B aby B oom ers. K now n as the ?m e? genera?

 

tion, Boom ers were shaped by the V ietnam W ar,

 

a tim e of g reat social change an d u ncertainty.

 

T he b irth con tro l pill gave w om en m ore fre e?

 

dom to delay m oth erh o o d and pursue careers,

 

an d the unrest of the 1960s im bued m any w ith

 

a sense of social respo n sib ility as they fought

 

?the E stablishm ent.? Loyalty am ong this group

 

is to the team , n o t the organization or m anager.

 

Such employees tend to operate com fortably in

 

siloed o rgan izatio n s, seeking to rise to the top

 

of th e ir p a rtic u la r sector. M any B oom ers are

 

w orkaholics, w ith identities closely aligned w ith

 

their professions.

 

G eneration X. Parenting styles changed dra?

 

matically starting in the late 1960s, Karsh notes.

 

P a r t i c i p a n t s in G l a x o S m i t h K l i n e 's F u t u r e L e a d e r s P r o g r a m , w h i c h r o t a t e s w o r k e r s t h r o u g h

 

d if f e r e n t d e p a r tm e n ts to f a c ilit a t e le a r n in g .

 

Instead of having mothers and fathers who looked

 

like they came from the cast of ?Leave It to Beaver,?

 

many members of Generation X grew up in homes where both par?

 

Lor many Millennials, their first job out of college is their first

 

ents worked and divorce was increasingly common. As a result,

 

job ever, Karsh says. The percentage of teenagers with summer

 

they often fended for themselves?w alking to school, making

 

jobs has declined steadily for the past 18 years. And increased

 

their lunches and waiting a couple of hours at home until a parent

 

homework loads mean fewer kids are working after schcol. Kids

 

returned from work. T hat has made for a group of employees who

 

often have three or more hours of homework a night, says Laura

 

are perfectly happy to toil away individually, Karsh says. ?They

 

Sherbin, executive vice president and director of research at the

 

don?t like authority figures. They don?t like being told w hat to do.?

 

Center for Talent Innovation in N ew York City. In addition, p ar?

 

ents have s teered their chil?

 

dren tow ard summer activ?

 

ities such as soccer cam p

 

Parenting styles underwent big changes

 

instead of a job at M cD on?

 

again in the 1980s. The mentality went from

 

alds, according to K arsh.

 

N ew emp.oyees wno have

 

"M y children are the mostimportantthing in

 

never h ac to deal w ith a

 

my life" to "My children are the only thing in

 

boss face a big adjustment.

 

W h ile M il le n n i a ls

 

my life .'"

 

tend not to think that they

 

? Brad Karsh, JBTraining Solutions

 

need to ? pay th e i: dues?

 

to advance at w o rk ? as

 

older generations did? it?s

 

M illennials. Parenting styles underwent big changes again in

 

n ot fair to conclude th at they have no w ork ethic, says Tammy

 

the 1980s. ?The mentality w ent from ?My children are the most

 

Browning, senior vice president ofU.S. Field O perationsat Phil?

 

im portant thing in my life? to ?My children are the only thing in

 

adelphia-based staffing firm Yoh. ?They have this Justin Bieber

 

my life,? ? Karsh says. Kids were protected and lavishly praised,

 

thought process, thinking they?ll get discovered on YouTube,?

 

m aking for grown-up workers w ho are eager for feedback and

 

she says. Yet ?they?ll still work 60 hours a week. They just w ant

 

perhaps a bit fragile when it?s not all positive.

 

to do it on their ow n schedule.? >

 


 

November 2014

 


 

HR Magazine

 


 

25

 


 

COVER STORY

 


 

Generational Learning Preferences

 

Traditionalists

 


 

Baby Boomers

 


 

Generation X

 


 

Millennials

 


 

?

 


 

Structured.

 


 

?

 


 

?

 


 

?

 


 

?

 


 

Traditional classroom

 


 

through facilitation.

 


 

using technology.

 


 

?

 


 

Edu-tainment.

 


 

environment.

 


 

?

 


 

?

 


 

?

 


 

Link learning to making

 


 

?

 


 

Dislike being singled out.

 


 

applying new skills.

 


 

involved!

 


 

?

 


 

Link learning w ith overall

 


 

?

 


 

?

 


 

goals.

 


 

Interactive/group learning

 

Need tim e to practice

 

Link learning to new ways to

 


 

add value.

 


 

Fluid, just-in-tim e learning

 

Learn by doing? get

 


 

Teamwork and technology.

 


 

money.

 


 

Make the learning fun, skill-

 


 

based; link to marketability.

 


 

Source: n-g e n People P erform ance Inc., re p rin te d w ith perm ission.

 


 

M illennials have also had to deal with constant global insta?

 

bility and economic ups and downs. This has made them very

 

focused on bettering the com m unity and finding m eaning at

 

work, not just a paycheck.

 

?For this generation coming up, their needs are so different.

 

T here?s got to be mobility [for them]. They?re going to come in

 

and work 12 to 15 m onths and move on,? says Michael M olina,

 

chief human resources officer at Vistage, a San Diego-based exec?

 

utive coaching service w ith 161 employees. ?It has very little to

 

do w ith great pay, a great environm ent or great leadership. It?s

 

the purpose-driven life most of them w ant.?

 


 

Different Ways of Learning

 

Although there are commonalities among the generations, there

 

are differences as well. Conflicts often arise from differing learn?

 

ing styles, especially as they relate to how inform a?

 

tion is acquired and used, experts say. M illennials,

 

for example, tend to process inform ation quickly

 

and prefer to get it through com puters or social

 

m edia, Brow ning says. ?M illennials learn faster

 

th an any other generation, and they learn in short

 

bursts,? she explains, so forcing the youngest gen?

 

eration to sit thro u g h lengthy train in g sessions

 

taught from a podium isn?t the best option.

 

Jan Becker, senior vice president of hum an

 

resources at the 3 -D design firm Autodesk, which is

 

based in San Rafael, Calif., and has 7,390 employ?

 

ees worldwide, has experienced the generational

 

divide. She hosts ?coffee m ornings? so staff can

 

brainstorm together. W hen Becker asked for feed?

 

back on the inform ation made available to them by

 

the company, a 50-year-old lawyer and a 35-yearold engineer reacted very differently. ?The older

 

gentleman said, ?Well, you need to tell me. My m an?

 

ager hasn?t told me, and his m anager hasn?t told

 

him.? He was very much saying, ?You need to feed

 

it to me. I?m not going to find it,? ? Becker says. But

 

the younger engineer had seen all the inform ation

 

he needed online? through the com pany?s website

 


 

26

 


 

HR Magazine

 


 

N o vem ber 2014

 


 

and intranet? and didn?t w ant or need to be told anything by a

 

manager.

 


 

Facilitating the Transfer

 

Fortunately, there are things H R can do to make sure knowledge

 

is transferred effectively am ong different generations, experts

 

say, including through:

 

M entoring an d reverse m entoring. In such arrangements,

 

tw o employees are paired to share experience and basic techni?

 

cal knowledge. A younger w orker proficient in social media or

 

basic H T M L can teach those skills to an older worker, and the

 

older individual can provide institutional knowledge or advice

 

on skills th at require experience or a learned kind of finesse, such

 

as customer service or people management.

 

At Vistage, a ?pal? program matches people at similar levels

 


 

?ladder? structure, w ith lower-level positions

 

on bottom rungs building up to more-advanced

 

roles th at require more responsibility and skill.

 

But Generation X and M illen n ial may gravitate

 

more tow ard paths th a t are spiral or web-like,

 

with employees moving back and forth between

 

vastly different roles and responsibility levels. By

 

understanding these models, H R and managers

 

can get a better picture of employees? expectations

 

and work with them to capture w hat they know at

 

different points on their career trajectories.

 

Jo b sh a d o w in g a n d jo b ro tatio n . Employ?

 

ees in such programs either follow another worker

 

around in his or her job, preparing for the pass?

 

ing of the baton or? in the case of GlaxoSmith?

 

Kline (GSK), a global health care company based

 

in Brentford, England? are rotated around to dif?

 

ferent jobs upon entering the company.

 

J o h n S w e n e y , HR m a n a g e r a t G la x o S m ith K lin e (a t c o m p u te r), w o r k s w it h e m p lo y e e s a s p a rt

 

O ver the p ast few years, GSK has passed

 

o f th e c o m p a n y 's ob r o ta tio n in itia tiv e s .

 

hundreds of new college grads through various

 

departm ents as p a rt of its Future Leaders P ro?

 

w ithin the organization so th a t the tw o can use each other as

 

gram , says John Sweney, one of the firm ?s H R m anagers and

 

sounding boards as well as tutors. Ceridian has a ?buddy? p ro ?

 

director of the program . N ew and current employees can apply

 

gram to help ycung workers navigate the terrain. And Autodesk

 

for the program , which rotates the w orkers through different

 

uses a reverse-m entoring program so that veteran staffers can

 

departm ents over the course of tw o or three years. GSK also

 

learn from you nger ones. Becker herself says that she has some?

 

offers a separate internship program , and participants can apply

 

one at the company w ho helps her w ith social media for talent

 

for the Future Leaders Program when they are done. ?They get

 

acquisition groups. ?H e?s tw o or three levels down from me,?

 

exposure to different parts of the business, having a new manager

 

she says, ?and, at a more traditional organization, I probably

 

and new mentors throughout,? Sweney says.

 

w ouldn?t interact w ith him much.?

 

C ro ss-g en e ra tio n a l te a m -b u ild in g ev en ts. Bringing gen?

 

P h ased retirem ent. At the Zeeland, Mich., furniture manufac?

 

erations together for nonw ork tasks helps build com munication,

 

turer Herman Miller Inc., with a staff of 6,000, employees are eli?

 

Becker says. At Autodesk, employees work together on a H abitat

 

gible to begin tie retirement process two years ahead of their actual

 

for H um anity project. In general, the more comfortable people

 

departure date, working fewer hours as full retirement approaches.

 

feel w ith each other, the more likely they are to ask one another

 

T hat allows them to ease out of the job while slowly passing on their

 

to share w hat they know or how to do something.

 

knowledge ar.d skills to other employees in the process, says Tony

 

I n te g r a tin g p r o je c t te a m s . At T riN et, a San L eandro,

 

Cortese, senior vice president of people services.

 

Calif.-based H R services provider, workers are assigned to w hat

 

The workers continue to get full benefits even as they reduce

 

are called ?cross-functional project team s,? breaking dow n

 

their hours to part time, while preparing financially and emotion?

 

the silos created from the basic workplace structure, says M or?

 

ally for the transition to retirement. ?It?s a win-win solution,? Cortese

 

gan M assie, m anager of talent development. Employees work

 

says. ?The employer benefits from the knowledge transfer, and the

 

together on various initiatives or com mittees, and it gets them

 

employee can co the appropriate planning.?

 

talking to each other. ?Different generations then work shoulder

 

C a re er p a rh in g . At Ceridian, H R has mapped career paths

 

to shoulder, regardless of tenure, age or experience, and it?s an

 

for positions in each division and shares the inform ation w ith

 

environment where anyone can feel free to speak up,? she says.

 

all employees. This gives employees a clear plan if they w ant to

 

Dnce H R departm ents begin to accom m odate a variety of

 

move to a particular position in the future. Each w orker is then

 

learning styles that facilitate knowledge transfer among the gen?

 

given a mentor to help guide him or her. ?It?s integrating all the

 

erations, they can focus more on the hum anity that unites every?

 

generations together. It?s taking that knowledge and experience

 

one? and how to capture its wisdom for generations to come. D

 

3

 

and using it in a different capacity,? LaM ere says.

 

According to Kovary, Traditionalists and Boomers tend to

 

Susan Milligan is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C.

 

be accustomec ro career path models that follow a conventional

 


 

N o vem b er 2014

 


 

H R M agazine

 


 

27

 


 

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