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Published on February 24, 2008

Author: Jacob


Understanding Generational Differences: Beyond the Stereotypes:  Understanding Generational Differences: Beyond the Stereotypes Dr. Sean Lyons St. Francis Xavier University Workshop Agenda:  Workshop Agenda 1:00-2:00 - Part I: Understanding What are Generations and Why do they Matter? Generations in Today’s Workforce Life stories and Core Values of 4 Generations 2:00-3:00 - Part II: Empathy Stereotypes of the 4 Generations Generational Differences on the Job 3:00-4:00 - Part III: Action What can be done to manage all 4 Generations? Networking Exercise (10 minutes):  Networking Exercise (10 minutes) Stand Up Remove cell phones, pagers, Blackberries from pockets, purses, etc., turn them off. Grab your business cards (if you have any) Find some people whom you don’t know Introduce yourself and sit down together Take turns sharing “generational stories” Part I: Understanding Generations:  Part I: Understanding Generations Generation Basics:  Generation Basics Groups of people born and raised in the same historical and social context New generation formed when the “world changes” relative to the past Change may be an event (e.g. end of WWII) or paradigm shift (e.g. the Information Age) Formative influences shape a generation’s values, beliefs and outlooks on life The Importance of Values:  The Importance of Values Values are deeply held beliefs shaped by our formative context Values are often unconscious and go unnoticed until they are violated Values affect our perceptions, attitudes, morals and behaviour Generational value differences are a form of diversity to be respected just like religious or cultural value differences Slide7:  4 Generations in the Workplace Workforce Representation:  Workforce Representation Baby Boomers Millennials Generation X Matures The Federal Public Service:  The Federal Public Service Fed. PS is older on average than the labour force in general (median ps age =45 vs. 40 in work force) 52% of federal public servants are over 45 (compared to 30% in 1991) 40% are aged 25-44 (compared to 60% in 1991) Boomer retirements have begun, will peak in 2013 (vs. 2020 in the private sector) Fed. Public Service vs. Labour Force:  Fed. Public Service vs. Labour Force Source: TBS Report: “Ageing of the Public Service Workforce: Implications for the future” (2000) Fed. Public Service vs. Labour Force:  Source: Fed. Public Service vs. Labour Force Exercise: Open-ended Questions:  Exercise: Open-ended Questions On the sheet provided to you, provide a word or phrase to complete the generational stereotypes and the open-ended questions. If you are willing to contribute your answers to ongoing research, provide the demographic information requested We will discuss responses shortly A Tale of Four Generations:  A Tale of Four Generations Mature Generation:  Mature Generation Born between 1925 and 1945 Aged 62-82 4.6 Million Canadians (14% of the population) Matures’ Life Story:  Matures’ Life Story Born after ‘GI’ generation Raised in the wake of the Great Depression Too young to fight in WWII - “Witnesses to history” Married in their 20s (~25 women, ~29 men) Had 3+ children Men worked outside of home, women in home Benefited from the post-war reconstruction Entered the labour force out of high school Had a linear career in a small number of organizations Core Values of the Mature Generation:  Core Values of the Mature Generation Pragmatism and Rationality Loyalty and tradition Dependability Persistence Hard work and long hours Wisdom and experience are better than ‘book smarts’ Work-life balance is a personal responsibility Authoritarian leadership style Baby Boomers:  Baby Boomers Born between 1946 and 1964 Aged 43-61 9.7 Million Canadians (31% of population) Boomers’ Life Story:  Boomers’ Life Story High birth rates = large cohort Nuclear family – mom at home, dad at work Raised in a “child-friendly” era Grew up in the post-WWII economic expansion Some post-secondary education Married in 20s (~25 for women, ~28 for men), high probability of divorce Had ~2 children, children born later in their lives Both men and women in the workforce Hard work to build a career in a few organizations Core Values of the Baby Boomers:  Core Values of the Baby Boomers ‘Psychology of Entitlement’ Work as a means to personal fulfillment Workoholism Acceptance of stress Team-oriented Importance of title as a symbol of achievement Demanding of respect and sacrifice from subordinates Generation Xers:  Generation Xers Born between 1965 and 1979 Ages 28 to 42 6.8 million Canadians (21% of the population) Gen Xers’ Life Story:  Gen Xers’ Life Story First cohort of the post-nuclear family Parents both working outside of home High divorce rate among parents Smaller family sizes “Anti-child” era post-Baby Boom Grew up in an era of heightened threats – AIDS, nuclear, environmental High rates of post-secondary education Difficulty entering the labour market: Recessions and downsizing era High student debt Competed for jobs with unemployed boomers and increased numbers in labour force (due to women’s steady entry) Difficulty becoming financially independent -“Boomerang” Married later in life (if at all) and had fewer children (if any) Core Values of Generation Xers:  Core Values of Generation Xers Scepticism Work-life balance Independent & Entrepreneurial Transactional approach to work Challenge & Variety seeking Distrustful of authority & hierarchy No ‘dues paying’ Focus on employability “Free-agent” approach Fun and communal workplace Millennials:  Millennials Born between 1980 and 1994 (?) Aged 13 to 27 6.5 Million Canadians (20% of the population) Millennials’ Life Story:  Millennials’ Life Story Children of the Boomers – High Birth Rate Wide variety of family types Products of “Self-Esteem Parenting” & “Helicopter parents” Introduced to technology early in life Highly programmed youths Marketing target group High standard of living and material possessions Post-secondary education is an expectation “Adultulescence” – delaying adulthood until late 20s, early 30s High career expectations Core Values of the Millennials:  Core Values of the Millennials Working within the system Multitasking/multi-careers Sacrifice personal life for career Dependent on close supervision Dedicated to goal achievement Eagerness to ‘find a better way to do things’ Uncomfortable with formality No ‘dues paying’ Materialistic Part II: Building Empathy:  Part II: Building Empathy Group Exercise:  Group Exercise Place all of your responses to stereotypes and open-ended questions in a pile, shuffle and re-distribute them randomly Take turns reading out generational stereotypes, and pool your answers to share them with the entire group. Other generations say…:  Other generations say… Matures are rigid, authoritarian and past- obsessed Boomers are self-absorbed work-a-holics Xers are pessimistic slackers Millennials lack substance and have a sense of entitlement Group Exercise:  Group Exercise Now read out the responses to the open-ended questions and pool your answers to discuss with the group. Generational Differences on the Job:  Generational Differences on the Job Basic Outlooks:  Basic Outlooks Matures – Practical and rational Boomers – Optimistic and positive Xers – Skeptical and cautious Millennials – Hopeful and confident Strengths on the Job:  Strengths on the Job Matures – stability and loyalty Boomers – teamwork and dedication Xers – adaptability and techno-literacy, bridge-builders Millennials – multi-taskers, techno-savvy Career Goals:  Career Goals Matures – Create a legacy Boomers – Build a stellar career Xers – Constantly changing career Millennials – Parallel career paths Three Career Paths:  Three Career Paths Generational Career Paths:  Generational Career Paths Preferred Leadership Style:  Preferred Leadership Style Matures – Command and Control Boomers – Lead by consensus Xers – Only competence is credible Millennials – Total collaboration On the Value of Experience…:  On the Value of Experience… Matures – “I learned in the school of hard knocks” Boomers – “Experience is knowledge” Xers – “Show me what you know, not where you’ve been” Millennials – “The world changes so fast experience is irrelevant” On Autonomy…:  On Autonomy… Matures – “Tell me what to do and get it done” Boomers – “Let’s figure this out as a team” Xers – “Give me some direction and then leave me to it” Millennials – “Don’t go to far…I’ll have LOTS of questions” On Feedback…:  On Feedback… Matures – “No news is good news” Boomers – Once a year for documentation Xers – Expect regular feedback Millennials – Need constant, instantaneous feedback On Training…:  On Training… Matures – “I learned it the hard way, you can too” Boomers – “Train people too much and they’ll leave” Xers – “If I’m not learning I’m leaving” Millennials – “Will this be on the exam?” On Rewards…:  On Rewards… Matures – “There’s no reward like a hard day’s work” Boomers – “To the victor goes the spoils” Xers – “Freedom is the ultimate reward” Millennials – “Show me the money!” On Work Hours…:  On Work Hours… Matures – “Good old 9 to 5” Boomers – Time bravado Xers – “If I finished my work, why am I still here?” Millennials – “I’ll work as late as you want…as long as I’m not bored” On Work-life Balance…:  On Work-life Balance… Matures – “Balance is a personal issue” Boomers – “Wouldn’t that be nice” Xers – “I want balance now-while I’m young enough to enjoy it” Millennials – “I’m going to need a lot of me-time, I’m a busy person!” On Loyalty…:  On Loyalty… Matures – “Job-hopping is wrong” Boomers – “Changing jobs is counter- productive” Xers – “I’m as committed as you are” Millennials – “I’m already planning my escape” Video: Is Loyalty Dead?:  Video: Is Loyalty Dead? The Study: Generational Differences in Values:  The Study: Generational Differences in Values Generational Values:  Generational Values Findings: Work Value Priorities:  Findings: Work Value Priorities Top 5 Priorities for Millennials:  Top 5 Priorities for Millennials A good salary Opportunities for advancement* Interesting work Work-life balance Good benefits Theme: Want to be taken seriously as contributors Top 5 Priorities for Gen-Xers:  Top 5 Priorities for Gen-Xers Interesting work Work-life balance A good salary Flexible hours of work Intellectually stimulating work* / Opportunities for continuous learning* Theme: Need to be challenged and always keep learning Top 5 Priorities for Boomers:  Top 5 Priorities for Boomers Work-life balance Good benefits Work that is compatible with one’s moral values Work that is personally fulfilling Interesting work Theme: Need to find meaning and balance in their work Top 5 Priorities for Matures:  Top 5 Priorities for Matures Work that is compatible with one’s moral values Fairness in policies and procedures* Work that is personally fulfilling Flexible hours of work Work that Makes Use of their Abilities* / Sense of Accomplishment* (tie) Theme: Want to stay relevant and leave behind a legacy All Generations Rank 5 Things in their Top 10…:  All Generations Rank 5 Things in their Top 10… Work-Life Balance Interesting Work A Good Salary Benefits Flexible Hours of Work The Meaning of Money:  The Meaning of Money Money means different things to the generations: Matures –hard work and security Boomers – recognition and status Gen Xers – freedom and independence Millennials – the means to maintain their lifestyle Part III: Action:  Part III: Action Managing Generational Differences:  Managing Generational Differences Managing Generational Differences:  Managing Generational Differences Be aware of differences and their sources – don’t project (Boomers – that means YOU!) Different generations require different approaches – one size fits one! Remember that there are FOUR generations to manage Be careful not to stereotype – these are generalizations, not psychological profiles To recruit & retain Gen Xers and Millennials…:  To recruit & retain Gen Xers and Millennials… Focus on learning and advancement Meaningful participation, not just ‘dues paying’ Build in change and variety Enable multitasking Provide ongoing developmental feedback Remember: loyalty is reciprocal Build in opportunities for entrepreneurship Focus on ‘fun’ …their idea of fun. Loyalty is Dead!:  Loyalty is Dead! The bad news: You cannot expect younger workers to be loyal to their employer The good news: Loyalty is not the only kind of commitment… nor is it the most important. Create committed and engaged workers by fostering attitudinal commitment To Satisfy Boomers and Matures::  To Satisfy Boomers and Matures: Focus on the meaningfulness of the work ‘Sell’ the aspects of the work that makes a contribution to society Help them find personal fulfillment through work Build altruism into the workplace, even if the work lacks it. Corporate philanthropy has many benefits Reward their loyalty – it’s a valuable asset to them and the organization Generational Challenges for the Federal Public Service:  Generational Challenges for the Federal Public Service Round Table Discussion::  Round Table Discussion: What are the biggest challenges you face with respect to recruitment? What are the biggest challenges you face with respect to retention? What barriers do you face that the private sector does not? Public Service Renewal:  Public Service Renewal “We must never lose sight of ensuring that the team is diverse; good public policy is helped by a diversity of views – linguistically, geographically, and culturally.” – Kevin Lynch Generationally? Elements of Renewal:  Elements of Renewal Recruitment – becoming an active competitor for talent Development – developing competencies for excellence Retention - accommodating flexible career paths, not linear progression HR Practices - Greater flexibility, adaptability, responsiveness and more use of mentorship Recruitment Challenges:  Recruitment Challenges Low “Sexiness Factor” The “Time Lag” The “Faceless Monster” The “Insider/Outsider” Problem “Choosy Beggar Syndrome” The “Great Wall of Bureaucracy” Recruiting Young Entrants:  Recruiting Young Entrants “…we need to re-double our efforts to sell the next generation of Canadians on making a difference through public service. Any notions of empathy or cynicism or lack of interest among young Canadians toward public service need to be dispelled.” – Kevin Lynch = A Boomer-oriented message targeted at Xers & Millennials Recruiting Messages That Work::  Recruiting Messages That Work: The public service is good for you and your career. The public service provides flexibility, mobility and opportunities to learn. The public service wants your ideas – not just your labour. The public service is changing – and you can help shape that change. The public service offers good jobs that let you do good things – it’s not a trade-off Development:  Development Xers and Millennials are “hard-wired” for continuous learning. Learning needs to be the job – not in addition to the job Developmental assignments prevent “re-curving” through leaving Canada School of Public Service is a hub, but it holds no monopoly on learning Person-driven development is key Retention Challenges:  Retention Challenges Current “promotion through competition” model promotes job-based thinking Often the only path to promotion leads out to another department A flexible promotion scheme is needed that focuses on competencies, not jobs Retention requires opportunities for advancement and learning Group Exercise:  Group Exercise Around your table, come up with a list of 5-10 practical steps that could be taken to address generational differences in the workplace. We will discuss these recommendations with the whole group. HR Practices:  HR Practices Mentorship is vital and should be encouraged widely Flexibility is important – HR practices need to be adaptable, not universal Xers and Millennials need HR Management that is relationship-based, not policy and program-based. 10 Effective HR Practices:  10 Effective HR Practices Enable Mentoring – Forward and Reverse Retain retirees with flexible work arrangements Baptisms by Fire – Challenging first assignments Developmental Learning Plans – Opportunities for learning and re-curving Job rotation, sabbaticals and secondments - provide change and variety 10 Effective HR Practices:  10 Effective HR Practices Culture of balance and workload sanity – face-time does not equal effort Flexible benefits & rewards – tailor to all generations Developmental feedback system – more feedback for younger workers, less for older Relationship-based HR– build and leverage inter-employee and employee-supervisor relationships Sponsor employees’ community involvement Don’t Forget the Basics:  Don’t Forget the Basics Good pay, benefits, flexibility of hours, work-life balance and interesting work are all basic requirements. Don’t know what employees want? ASK THEM! You might be surprised by their answers. Contact Info:  Contact Info For More Information: (902) 867-5102

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