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You Dont Know Me! Generational Conflict in the workplace

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You Dont Know Me! Generational Conflict in the workplace

  1. 1. You Don’t Know Me! Five Generations in the Workplace Karen Lindsey-Lloyd K2L Consulting Integrated Leadership/Team Communication Solutions
  2. 2. What is a Generation?  A society-wide peer group, born over approximately 20 years, who collectively, generally possess common behaviors and traits. • Generations are shaped by history and events, technological advances, social changes, economic conditions, popular culture, regions of the country 2011 Copyright, permission only
  3. 3. Traditionals  Born 1930-1945  The oldest generation in the workplace. May not be technologically savvy.  Very socially and fiscally conservative. Do not always enjoy change.  Many are still in the workforce because they enjoy working, but some are there because they have to be for financial reasons.  Their life and work experience gives them a lot to offer but they are rarely asked. 2011 Copyright, permission only
  4. 4. Baby Boomers  Born 1946-1964  Enjoyed the booming, optimistic times post World War II.  Value hard work and long hours as the means to success and thus work ethic is extremely important to them.  Boomers need to be noticed for their hard work.  Varying degrees of comfort with technology and its purpose. Some are technologically savvy. 2011 Copyright, permission only
  5. 5. Generation X  Born 1965-1977  Raised by Baby Boomers who worked long hours and were the first generation to experience the impact of widespread divorce and layoffs.  Gen Xers are very independent and dislike rigid schedules.  Most value being efficient and getting work done quickly.  Want greater balance between their social and work lives than their predecessors--ushered in a more creative, open workplace. 2011 Copyright, permission only
  6. 6. Gen Y or Millennials  Born 1977-1990  First generation to grow up with advanced technologies (social networking, cell phones, PDAs, etc.) Very comfortable with technology in every aspect of life.  Tend to be opinionated but are very creative and expect to be challenged.  Grew up in very stable times. Have seen working parents and are more confident.  Less able to communicate face-to-face and apply critical thinking skills. Rarely willing to admit they don’t know something. 2011 Copyright, permission only
  7. 7. Gen 9/11  Born 1990  Youngest generation in the workplace. Has only seen the world through the prism of the 9/11 tragedy.  Grown up with war and uncertainty and tend to view the world through that lens.  See the world with less optimism then many of the other generations. 2011 Copyright, permission only
  8. 8. Common Generational Conflict SHRM Survey 2007 1. Work Ethic (Gen. X, Y, Millennials)  What does it mean to be “on time” for work?  Higher salary expectations  Different definition of professional attire than Boomers  Why not use text messaging for every communication? Email viewed as old.  Don’t understand “Paying dues” (i.e., expectations for pace of advancement vs. experience/ seniority) 2011 Copyright, permission only
  9. 9. Common Generational Conflict 2. Organizational Hierarchy  Older employees tend to accept hierarchies and respect a chain of command  Younger employees may resist formal structures, ignore hierarchy  Younger workers tend to prefer more informal relationships with supervisors than previous generations (friends on Facebook) 2011 Copyright, permission only
  10. 10. Common Generational Conflict 3. Dealing with Change  Younger employees tend to adapt to change more easily than older employees (but not all)  Younger employees typically embrace rapidly changing technologies at work without formal training  All generations challenged to accept different ways of accomplishing work 2011 Copyright, permission only
  11. 11. Common Generational Conflict 4. Managing Technology and Communication  Each generation has different levels of comfort with technology in the workplace  Not all who are 40 plus are technology dinosaurs, not all 20 somethings are technology wizards  Competing views on using E-mail/cell phones/ iPhone/Blackberry/Text messaging in the workplace  Varying opinions on Web, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter  Strong views on appropriate communication forms necessary for transmitting important information broadly  Understanding when face-to-face/verbal communication is necessary vs. texts, email 2011 Copyright, permission only
  12. 12. Differences between College and the Workplace  College is about you and your learning and development. Improving yourself is the goal of most college activities. • Work is focused on your or your team’s contribution to reaching a business or institutional goal. You reach your goals by helping the organization reach its goals, but your personal goals are not typically the central focus. 2011 Copyright, permission only
  13. 13. College vs. Work  At college you could mostly hang with peers of your own choosing.  At work there may be a mix of ages, races, religions and you don’t always get to pick with whom you’ll work. 2011 Copyright, permission only
  14. 14. College vs. Work  During college, the focus is on earning grades.  Work focuses on some identifiable output that you are responsible for, but it is not specifically just about you or up to you alone. 2011 Copyright, permission only
  15. 15. College vs. Work  College activities are usually highly directed; someone tells you specifically what is expected and what you need to do.  Work requires more self- direction, problem solving and critical thinking in reaching the organizational goals in your area of responsibility. 2011 Copyright, permission only
  16. 16. College vs. Work • College: many assignments are content based; expected to learn certain fact-based material for the test, assignment, or other graded evaluation.  Work: requires more complex critical thinking, combines content skills with intellectual and observational skills. Requires verbal communication and conflict resolution. The feedback or praise is not always immediate or clear. 2011 Copyright, permission only
  17. 17. What does it mean to me? •Turn the searchlight inward. Respect the differences, don’t judge, find similarities. •Seek wise counsel from across the generations. Not just your own. •Maturity is a decision. Not an age. 2011 Copyright, permission only

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