Age Diversity: Generational Gap: GEN Y

Millenials - Generation Y- Age DiversityIn the previous posts, I discussed the Matures, continuing the sequence; we met the Baby Boomers, Generation X or GEN X, and now I introduce Generation Y or GEN Y.

 

This is about Generation Y, otherwise called GEN Y, Millennials, Generation Next. They are 25 to 34 years old, and are 70 to 80 millions in the United States.

Gen Y, are shaped by their early experiences which created filters through which they see the world, and directly impact how they navigate their worlds. Events like the 9/11 attacks, The Columbine high school attack, Oklahoma City bombing, Iraq and Afghanistan wars wrought their world. They see themselves as extension of technology; Reality TV is also a way of life for them.

They were brought up in small families, one in four of Gen Y parents are college-educated. More than 50 percent of Gen Y in the United States are immigrants, or children of immigrants. They shaped the face of politics in the 2008 US elections through the use of social media. They are recognized as playing a major role in electing the nation’s first black president.

They are witnessing corporate greed, exposure of Ponzi schemes, and industry bailouts, and worldwide economic crisis.

The Y’ers have been defined by some as narcistic, self absorbed, and not reliable. Their heroes are not political figures or movie stars but regular people in their circles as teachers, family member or the firemen and police men like the ones that responded to the 9/11 attacks and risked their lives. .
• They are the fastest growing demographic at the workplace

• Famous examples of Gen Y: Zuckerberg, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, and Michael Phelps.

• Musical Era: Back street boys, N Sync, Black Eyed Pea, Rihanna and Lady Gaga.

• Workplace: Work for deadlines not necessarily schedules, they value blending that is why they prefer working in open spaces and hate the closed door offices. They like to shop for both employers and vendors they remain connected 24/7, not your typical nine to five employees. They are multi-taskers, tech savvy, but they need immediate constant feedback, as well as mentors. They are socially responsible; believe in good causes and the environment; prefer to work for companies with the same values. They are critical of the ethics and morality of business.

• Family: Gen Y is comfortable living with their parents, maintaining close ties with their families. Friends are global and can be online. Gen Y has been the busiest generation of children, parents and teachers micromanaged their lives, leaving them with little free time. It is very common to hear them say my mother or father is my best friend.

• Leadership: They are redefining the rules; they value autonomy, and are restless. They are individuals with group orientations. They don’t look for leadership positions.

• Culture Ethos: They see education as important, but also expensive. They are participative in nature, embracing diversity. They have liberal attitudes toward issues such as gay marriage and interracial dating. They believe in volunteerism and service to communities. They are more involved in politics; and youth-driven activist organizations build grassroots movements for various social and political causes.

• Loyalty: They value personal freedom and autonomy, they are loyal to people either they work with or play with.

• Communications: Casual, instant, personal and direct; eager to please. They rather communicate with text messages and IMs. They will not listen to voice mails. They are connected online all day through their laptops, and cell phones.

• Recognition and motivation: They have high expectations and clear goals. They prefer individual public recognition, as they like attention and exposure. They like to be valued for their opinions; they will work hard to have opportunities to broaden their skills. They connect their actions to their personal and career goals. They get motivated by setting them up to work with other bright creative people, and by allowing them enough time and flexibility to live the life they want.

• Technology: They’re the first generation to grow up surrounded by digital media. 2/3 of them used computers before the age of five. They are connected 24/7. They are seen as the driving force behind the recent revolution in American political campaigning. They created new sites, and used existing ones as YouTube, and Facebook, to rally voters and raising money.

• As a customer: Gen Y wants to use the same tools as their peers but with a unique twist. They will consider a company’s products if the company is known for their humane attitude. They like technology-based products and look for more advanced tools to help them. They don’t trust companies’ marketing materials and check with online peers before making purchasing decisions.

The challenges and opportunities as well as solutions to the Generational gap links are attached.
Diversity starts at home,

Sahar Andrade, MB.BCh
Diversity Consultant – Social Media Strategist
Sahar Consulting, LLC. – Home of the D.I.A.L.O.G.™ Programs
Diversity& Inclusion in Active Leadership Organizational Growth
(Exchanging Ideas through Conversation)
http://www.saharconsulting.com
(818)861 9434

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Age Diversity: Bridging The Generational Gap: Solutions

In the previous posts, I discussed the Matures, continuing the sequence; we met the Baby BoomersGeneration X or GEN X, Generation Y or GEN Y, and challenges

All the Generations

This is the final post on Bridging the generational gap, knowing the challenges illuminates the way on what kind of solutions will help build a cooperative culture between the different generations and harvest on their strengths and skills rather than focusing on the negatives.

Advantages of a multi-generational workforce:

• Teams can gain an edge by utilizing their wealth of experience and talent of each generation. Older employees to learn to trust and leverage the younger ones’ skills.
• Understanding the key themes for each age group can build a base for understanding and can reduce stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination. Build active engagement
• Increased innovation and creativity by sharing experiences, ideas, skills and perspectives bringing new solutions and opportunities for a competitive edge
• Mentoring and reverse mentoring: To fill the gaps of experience in each generation, and avoid the old mistakes.
• The team can attract and retain talented people of all ages, being more flexible.
• The team can gain and keep greater market share because its members reflect a multi-generation market, and can meet needs of a diverse public.
• Decisions are stronger because they’re broad-based.

To build an inclusion culture:
• Know the demographics- externally and internally
• Demonstrate respect and recognition
• Open channels of communications and dialogue
• Participative problem solving and decision making
• Comprehensive leadership of all generations
• Build on strengths, understand and appreciate them
• Offer options
• Transfer knowledge from older generation to younger ones as they have a tendency to keep all their knowledge and experience in their heads

Solutions:
• Start with a generational audit to grasp your internal demographics
• Conduct Diversity and Leadership training workshops. The training will use sensitivity making younger employees aware and sensitive to older employees’ needs, strengths and potential contributions. Also give information to older employees to be more aware of their own actions that foster widening the gap; as well as offering solutions.
• Train managers and leaders on the ADEA Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 – prohibiting discrimination of workers of 40 years or older
• Bring out the best in each employee, adapt to the styles and preferences of a multi-generational workforce and look through a generational filter to consider actions with employees.
• Host a Generational Awareness Week. Post photos that represent the generations. Include icons and popular expressions. Play music that is popular to each generation
• Write four versions—one for each generation—of an Employee Value Proposition, in a way to match each generation’s values, wants and needs.
• Review the benefits package; match them to appeal to each single generation.
• Design three rewards specific to each single generation.
• Review the makeup of the Board of Directors. To make sure they match the company’s DNA
• Learn about other generations beside yours. Ask questions, learn history, characters, motivation, and work preferences. Respect others.
• Ask employees from the 4 different generations about their ideal manager characters. Then, create profiles of four ideal managers—one for each generation. What do all the profiles have in common? Where do they differ? And think how to apply these findings
• Consider implementing inter-generational mentoring and generational employee-resource groups.

Case Studies:
Companies are aligning jobs with the shared values of employees:
• American Express is providing more job flexibility, allowing people to work where and how they want;
• CitiGroup’s Alternative Solutions Work program; which provides opportunities for social contribution
• Ernst and Young‘s Corporate Responsibly Fellows Program which has instituted progressive work policies that value multiple bottom lines including sustainability.
• Time Warner and Cisco which has instituted inter-generational mentoring.
• Deloitte created a platform like Facebook D-Street to communicate with their GEN Y.
• Kaiser Permanente built an internal networking site called KP IdeaBook, an interactive site where employees can create detailed professional profiles, find and connect with colleagues via search and browsing capabilities, establish groups and provide status updates on work projects

Age is a diversity issue, the melting pot theory is not applicable anymore as melting everything down, gets everything mixed together into a mass of gray mud. The different groups lose their uniqueness. Everything becomes homogenous and loses the variety of perspectives. Potential goes untapped. So I rather look at diversity is a big bowl of salad with different color vegetable, each retaining its nutrition and flavor; that we can mix and match and choose our own dressing to match our tastes i.e. goals.

It is not singing “Kumbaya” but rather understanding and respecting our similarities and differences and putting them to work for us rather than against us.

Posts related to the discussion: MaturesBoomersGEN XGen Y and the Challenges.

Diversity starts at home

Bridging the Generational Gap: Challenges

In the previous posts, I discussed the Matures, continuing the sequence; we met the Baby BoomersGeneration X or GEN X, and Generation Y or GEN Y.

Generational Gap ChallengesMixing the generations in the work place has its advantages and it challenges, as each generation has its own strengths, as well as some solutions offered. Generational differences, affects how people communicate, might affect misunderstandings, high employee turnover, absenteeism, difficulty in attracting employees and gaining employee commitment.

The challenge is the clash of communication styles and work ethics that can create cultural chaos. Members of each generation may not be especially interested in learning about new perspectives or ways of doing things. Another obstacle is the amount of change that inter-generational mingling at the Workplace brings with it. Many people resist change, feeling more comfortable leaving things the way they are. Diversity of any kind often brings tensions.

Generational differences can affect everything, including recruiting, building teams, dealing with change, motivating, managing, and maintaining and increasing productivity.

The advantages are that Teams and groups can gain an edge if they learn how to help each other: for example older employees can stay motivated to utilize their wealth of experience and talent, and learned to trust and leverage the younger ones skills.

Understanding the key themes for each age group, which we discussed in previous posts, can build a base for understanding and can reduce stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination. This is a great opportunity to share our experiences, ideas, skills and innovations. We also demonstrated how each generation (MaturesBoomersGen XGen Y) was affected and shaped by the times they lived; now we can reap the benefits each generation has to offer by understanding them, learning to communicate better, increase productivity, better face changes and develop a more respectful workplace.

The first challenge we need to face is to attack the myths and stereotypes about each generation. Stereotyping people based on their age is a common problem, and it breeds suspicion and distrust, the most common myths are:

  • Stereotypes about Gen Y is that they are self-absorbed, and feel entitled as they rather trade high pay to flexible schedules and a better work-life balance and avoid working long hours and overtime
  • Younger employees might view infrequent, more subtle feedback from older colleagues as proof that they are cold, distant, passive-aggressive or unwilling to communicate
  • People quit learning when they get old, they are rigid and dogmatic, and stop being creative.
  • Older employees resent to be told what to do; well don’t we all? Older people stopped being creative:
  • Older people are less productive and just waiting to retire, they have higher absenteeism and accident rates
  • Baby Boomers define themselves by what they do professionally, they sacrificed a great deal to get where they are in their career, so they believe that both Generation X and Generation Y should pay their dues and conform to a culture of overwork. Baby Boomers may criticize younger generations for a lack of work ethic and commitment to the workplace.
  • Boomers believe in ranks and may have a hard time adjusting to workplace flexibility trends. They believe in “face time” at the office and may fault younger generations for working remotely.

Examples of Communication gaps

  • When a boss tells a baby boomer need to get the report done when they get a chance, they hear it as an order to be done now, when Xer hears it as an observation, will get to it on time
  • Appraisal time: Mature manager offers a nice monetary bonus for a project well done. Gen X is ungrateful as they didn’t I get it 6 months ago when the project was finished. Gen X needs immediate gratification.
  • A GEN X manager tells a Boomer that he has been working too hard and should take some time off to take his family on vacation. The Boomer answers that he doesn’t work for vacation but to get promoted and get ahead.

A diverse team of different generations working together to recommend a solution to a nasty problem, the cons of the situation is that after two weeks nothing is done as:

  1. The Matures are looking for hand written notes and step by step request to follow
  2. Boomers don’t like to work independently, and want meetings, expect to work 24/7
  3. Xers don’t want to hear about work out of work
  4. 4Yers don’t want any meetings, Emails only.

Next post is the final one; we will discuss the inclusion culture, case studies as well as suggested solutions.

Till then, remember Diversity starts at home.

Sahar Andrade
Diversity Consultant – Social Media Strategist
Sahar Consulting, LLC.
http://www.saharconsulting.com
(818)861 9434

Let’s connect on: LinkedIn Facebook Twitter SlideShare WordPress YouTube Flickr

Diversity: Bridging the Generational Gap: Baby Boomers

In the previous posts, I discussed the Matures

Baby BoomersPicture credit to Bloomberg Business Week

In the previous post, I discussed the general characters of the Matures Generation. Continuing the sequence of the generations, we meet the Baby Boomers who were born in a post-war era. The Vietnam War erupted, the civil rights movement was shaping up, and taking on a life of its own. The cold war started, John and Bob Kennedy, as well as Martin Luther King, Jr., were assassinated. Woodstock was the event of the century. The Baby Boomers era also marked the beginning of the Women’s movement and the emergence of Feminism.

The Baby Boomers period was a very complex one in terms of how this generation’s world was affected and is reflected in their behaviors, values, beliefs and characters. The Matures laid the groundwork for the United States to become an influential member of the world community. The Boomers came behind them, with their intense work ethic and their competitive nature; they got  US productivity to the forefront of the world community.

Today, the Boomers are in control of business, government, and culture. They are the CEOs of most companies, executives, faculty professors, supervisors and managers; they dominate the workplace.

Boomers are still working very hard, but questioning whether it was worth it, as they have seen massive layoffs and downsizing caused by the tough economic conditions. Boomers are currently changing their outlook on work, and reexamining their values concerning work, family and culture.

• Baby Boomers’ generation marked the highest birth rates ever in the US.

• Famous examples of the Baby Boomers’ generations: Bill and Hilary Clinton, The Beatles, President Obama, Oprah, Tony Blair, George W. Bush, Bill Gates and Steven Jobs.

• Their music rocked. Rock and Roll was an expression of their generational identity. They listened to the Beatles, Motown sounds, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, and The Supremes. The real revolution was the transistor radio that was portable and could be carried everywhere. Colored TVs as well as the Peace symbol also mark the era.

• Workplace: Boomers started the “Workaholic” expression. They care about getting the job done no matter how long it took. They believe that teamwork is a key to success, as well as building relationships. They love face to face long meetings. They are competitive and defined by their works and their work ethics.

• Family: Work came first; they worked very hard and for very long hours. That affected their families, hence the high rate of divorce of the Boomers’ generation. Two income homes started to bud, as women entered the workplace in big numbers.

• Leadership: They changed the McGregor’s management style from Theory X to Theory Y, a participative and collaborative style of management. They respect power and achievements.

• Culture Ethos: Individuality, the “ME” generation. Rebuilding was their motto. Demanding personal freedoms, individually seeking personal fulfillment. They looked at education as a birthright.

• Communications: Somewhat formal and through structured networks. They choose face-to-face conversations, and practice diplomacy.

• Recognition and motivation: Public acknowledgement and career advancement counted the most. They love to hear how much they are valued and how much they are needed. Success is displayed by certificates, trophies and plaques.

• Technology: Necessary for progress and advancement.

• As a customer: They worked too long and too hard, interested in products that save them time and put them in control of their lives. They want products customized for them, the individual. They want also want products that reflect status and success. Famous brand names reflect these qualities: Mercedes, BMW, Cartier etc…

Generation X will be discussed in the next post.

Till then, remember Diversity starts at home,

Sahar Andrade
Diversity Consultant – Social Media Strategist
Sahar Consulting, LLC.
http://www.saharconsulting.com
(818)861 9434

Let’s connect on: LinkedIn Facebook Twitter SlideShare WordPress YouTube Flickr

Diversity: Bridging the Generational Gap: The Matures

First appeared on Technorati: http://technorati.com/lifestyle/article/bridging-the-generational-gap-the-matures/

Bridging the Generational GapLast week-end, we were invited to a 55th wedding anniversary dinner. The dialog that took place around the dinner table was amazing. The grandmother was angry at the grand daughter after leaving a voice mail that was never returned. The response from the Grand daughter was rolling her eyes, saying: Grand-Ma; voice mails are so yesterday, I never listen to my messages you should have Facebooked me.

The Grand-Mother response was: You kids are so spoiled, and have it so much easier.

This kind of conversation is not unique, it has been happening at family gatherings and frequently in the workplace.

This is the first time in American history that four different generations are mingling and intertwining in all aspects of our daily lives. They work side-by-side, bringing their own values, goals and communication approaches to the workplace; which can be a blessing or a curse.

The older generation is still contributing and working due to few reasons:

  • Medical breakthroughs allowing a healthier and longer life.
  • Today’s financial turn-moils, where most Americans have lost a considerable percentage of their savings, retirements and 401K.
  • Unaffordable high costs of health care.

But before we go any further; let us discuss who are the four generations, their characteristics, their values and beliefs and most importantly what makes them tick.

Here are the different generations in our society, community and workplace:

  1. The Matures/ Veterans/ Traditionalists: Born between 1927 and 1945; and are 65 to 83 years old.
  2. The Baby Boomers: Born between 1946 and 1964; and are 46 to 64 years old.
  3. The Generation X/ GEN X: Born between 1965 and 1975; and are 35 to 45 years old.
  4. The Generation Y/ GEN Y/ or Millennials: Born between 1976 and early 80’s; and are 28 to 34 years old.

I remember reading this quote in an article written about generations, I really thought it summarized the perceived differences between the generations: “When asked to recall how and where Kennedy died, the Veterans and Baby Boomers would say gunshots in Dallas, Texas; Generation X remembers a plane crash near Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.; and Generation Y might say, “Kennedy who?

To really understand what makes each generation characteristics, we need to dig deeper in the conditions and surrounding that influenced the world in which they grew up. Childhood experiences helped shape each generation’s future, and often held tightly to age-based values, thoughts, passions, and ideals

I will start by the world of the Matures. Who are also called Veterans or Traditionalists:

It is a generation that was born or grew up during the radio era (Radio babies), the great depression, World war 2, Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor; which all took a toll on their lives. They love their privacy, and have a problem sharing their inner thoughts.

• They are the smallest generation in numbers (55 M), the wealthiest and most likely to vote.

Famous examples of the Mature generations: Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, John Mc Cain, Martin Luther King, JR, Billy Graham, John Glenn, John Wayne, Charlton Heston, Elvis and Frank Sinatra. Bill Cosby

• Their music tastes varied between Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. They listened to the Radio, records; Juke boxes and read the Readers Digest.

Workplace: Many of the Matures joined the work force either after the depression or after coming back from the war. They worked in companies that took care of its employees, so they were loyal and spent all their lives working for one single employer. Great work ethics and discipline at work. They worked by the book.

Family: The man worked and the woman generally stayed home raising the kids. Family was kept separate from work. Traditional families.

Leadership: Accepted Mc Gregor’s management style of Theory X (Up to down management style, autocratic), Command and control; as a norm. They rarely challenged authorities.

Culture Ethos: Security, surviving, saving money, defending freedoms, high sense of duty to family, workplace and the country. Education was a dream.

Communications: Formal, honoring the chain of command, through the proper channels as memos.

Recognition and motivation: Personal acknowledgement and compensation for work well done is very important to them as well as showing respect and valuing their experiences and dedication.

Technology: If it is not broken, don’t fix it

As a customer: Have great faith in American products and brands (GM. P&G, Coke etc…) and the Government. As loyal customers, they expected durability and quality of the products. Pricing was important to them as they believed in saving and being thrifty.

I will be discussing the other generations in the following posts.

Diversity starts at home.

 

Sahar Andrade
Diversity Consultant – Social Media Strategist
Sahar Consulting, LLC.
http://www.saharconsulting.com
(818)861 9434

Let’s connect on: LinkedIn Facebook Twitter SlideShare WordPress YouTube Flickr

6 advantages of Workplace Diversity

 

Workplace Diversity

Workplace Diversity

Why should 0rganizations and businesses care about Diversity & Inclusion now?

Diversity and inclusion affect not only the businesses’ people and operations internally but also their customers, suppliers, and other external stakeholders.

The most important key ingredient in this shift is:

A)    The changing demographics in the US. Minorities, now roughly one-third of the US population, are expected to become the majority by 2042. Considering consumer purchasing power in 2013, Hispanics will account for 9.9 % of all US buying power; African-Americans will have an 8.8% share; and Asians will represent a 5.4% share, LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender) will reach a  buying power of $835 billion by 2013 (as per some surveys)

B)    Globalization, and the changing faces—in terms of language, culture, and religion—of both customers and workers will represent an even more diverse mix.

C)   Generational gaps: The new trend the trend of people living longer and retiring later, resulted in four distinct generations working side by side—conservatives, baby boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y or Millennials—each with its own mind-set, work habits, technology attitudes, and customs.

D)   Increasing number of dual-income families and single working mothers

Leading companies know it’s essential to consistently maintain diversity as a top business imperative over a period of, at minimum, five years before diversity can gain traction and become part of the way those companies do business.  True diversity is not just about the mix that constitutes the workforce; it’s also about a company’s customers and business partners.

                                                                                  

Global Diversity

Advantages of Workplace Diversity:

Businesses are recognizing the need and importance of investing in diversity and inclusion as part of their overall talent management practices and to continually challenge their organizations to make the connection between those principles and their corporate performance..  Diversity is especially crucial in today’s global marketplace, as companies interact with different cultures and clients.  The payoffs touch every area of the business by potentially resulting in increased creativity, increased productivity, new attitudes, new language skills, global understanding, new processes, and new solutions to difficult problems. greater agility, better market insight, stronger customer and community loyalty, innovation, and improved employee recruitment and retention.  The businesses that fail to see the importance of Diversity and inclusion might find themselves unable to attract and retain the kinds of customers, employees, and business partners that constitute our changing world in 5 to 10 years

Among the advantages of diversity in the workplace are:

  1. Increased Productivity: Diversity and Inclusion brings in diverse different talents together working towards a common goal using different sets of skills that ignites their loyalty and increases their retention and productivity
  2. Increased creativity and Problem solving: With so many different and diverse minds coming together many more solutions will arise as every individual brings in their way of thinking, operating and solving problems and decision making
  3. Attract and Retain talent that add a competitive edge to any organization.  Feeling included and appreciated increases loyalty and feeling of belonging.  Language skills pool is increased and propels organization forward either to compete in the International global world or to increase its diverse customer base
  4. Help to build synergy in teams and enhances communication skills that brings in new attitudes and processes that profit the whole team
  5. Applying the proper diversity& inclusion management strategies does not only save money on litigation expenses generated by discrimination lawsuits but is the right thing to do for the business.
  6. It increases market share and create a satisfied diverse customer base by relating to people from different backgrounds.  It does propel the United States and its status to claim its place and success in the global business world of the 21st century

The advantages of diversity& Inclusion embracing affects the base line revenues of any organization and can be the make or break of any business.  Ignoring the effects or the existence of diversity in this global new market will only keep organizations back loosing on all the productivity and most important profitability of any business and its core of existence.

Cheers,

Sahar Andrade

www.saharconsulting.com

www.linkedin.com/in/saharandrade