Do You Feel Like You’re Becoming A Relic? Do You Understand ‘These’ Kids Today?
Coming To Grips With The Generation Gap And How To Take Advan tage Of It
It’s no secret that we’re getting older and as we do we notice the differences between generations more and more. There’s nothing we can do to change it, we either learn how to work with it and grow, or ignore it and continue to struggle.
Presently the workforce is made up of 4 generations; the mature group, the boomers, generation X and generation Y. Harris Interactive, Inc. recently completed a World of Work Survey (the ninth such annual commissioned survey) where one part of the survey gave workers 31 traits to choose from to identify their generation of co-workers. Here are the top five choices each generational group categorized itself.
|Mature||Boomers||Generation X||Generation Y|
|Strong work ethic||Strong work ethic||Confident||Makes personal friends at the workplace|
|Committed to the company||Ethical||Willing to take responsibility||Thinks outside the box|
|Competent||Ability to handle a crisis||Willing to put in the extra time to get the job done||Open to new ideas|
|Confident||Willing to take on responsibility||Ethical||Friendly|
You can clearly see from these self-identified traits there’s a difference in what each value in the work place. There were similarities between Mature, Boomers and Generation X’ers. Yet Y’ers had a significantly different view on their workplace. This is the generation gap.
It’s not that any one is better than the other; rather it’s where their values lie. This doesn’t change the core values that people have regardless of their generation. They want to:
- Be successful
- Be part of the company’s goals and growth
- Learn new skills
- Get promoted
The Generation Y group takes a different approach to their workday. It’s not that today’s younger worker doesn’t want to do well and get promoted, they want to know now what they have to do to get there. To put it in blunt terms they want to know now what the target is, what they have to do to get there and how you’re going to help them get there.
My philosophy with recruiting and the way we recruit is to bring in young people. They’re of the Y generation where many managers are of the generation X or Boomer eras. Because of this generation gap I find that many of the seasoned managers prefer to hire more mature canvassers. It’s easier to hire like-minded people rather than deal with the frustration of managing and understanding the different mindset of the younger generation.
Unfortunately, this generation bias can restrict your company’s growth potential. When you can get past this “struggle” you’ll see your canvassing program expand and prosper, and your sales growth escalate. Considering we’re entering the ‘slow’ period of the season, a new President entering office and the uncertain future of our economy you’ll want to capitalize on every opportunity for generating more highly qualified leads.
How Do You Identify If You Have A Generation Gap Dilemma?
In last month’s recruiting article I focused on capitalizing on the use of the social networking websites in your recruiting efforts. I received some feedback after last month’s article, and, to quote one subscriber, “I can appreciate the value of the social sites for recruiting, but the problem is that I read them and go HUH!” If you’ve thought this too then you’re not alone. I’m of the generation X era, where you listen and learn from your boss and pay your dues. But today’s workers are of a whole new breed. We tend to think their work ethic is lacking, but actually it’s not. I hope this article helps you understand and adapt to the generation Y’ers.
You’re The Manager; It’s Your Responsibility To Bridge The Generation Gap
You cannot change who you are and you cannot change the Generation Y’ers, but understanding their core values will help you change how you manage them. The younger generation isn’t being disrespectful by questioning you… they want to have the information now so they can do now. They’re not as patient as you were when you were learning the trade, and that’s a good thing. In today’s economic environment, as a business owner and/or manager you want see the results faster.
To make it work you simply need to change your management style. The young canvassers don’t want a mentor; they want the direction and guidance RIGHT NOW! Give it to them! Canvassing is not rocket science. To be successful at it with regard to recruiting younger canvassers you must understand that the future lies with the Y’ers. Give them clear expectations and over communicate to them. My formula for your success in working with the Generation Y canvassers is:
- Clear expectations of the job
- Allow feedback
- Over communicate
- Show them road-map for success
Today’s society has changed. It’s an environment of instant information in a fast paced world. The new generation has a different view on work. They’re online and can work from anywhere and at any time. The rigid confines of the ‘workday’ we know is not how they view their work life. It’s a view of work without confines and cubicles. The ‘matures’ and ‘boomers’ are leaving the workforce and it’s likely the Y generation will continue to change the workplace. You don’t have to change who you are, but rather change how you manage this new generation. In December I’ll discuss a major reason that I’ve identified why people fail… Communication.