Posts Tagged ‘Generation X’

Use Multiple Channels of Communication to Recognize Employees

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015
Renee' Watkins, HR Advisor

Renee’ Watkins, HR Advisor

In today’s post, Advice and Resolution team member Renee’ Watkins shares some new strategies to reach and recognize your employees.

A recent survey conducted by the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute illustrates the importance of using multiple channels for recognizing employees for their accomplishments and contributions.

Over 19,000 workers in 26 countries participated in the survey, which produced the following key observations:

  • 76% of employees who receive recognition are engaged in their jobs, whereas only
  • 28% are engaged in their jobs who do not receive recognition
  • 51% of employees without recognition indicated they intended to leave, whereas only
  • 25% who receive recognition were intending to leave their employer

Obviously, recognition of employees is an excellent productivity and retention strategy.  However, many organizations continue to rely solely on written and verbal recognition methods.  According to the survey, 58% of employers use emails for employee recognition.  This may not be the best way to reach today’s Millennial workforce.

The workforce of today includes many members of Generation-Y, who have grown up with the notion of instantaneous information access in almost every aspect of life- including work.  Their expectation is to work with an organization that embraces the technology available to them and utilizes that technology to communicate wherever possible.

While there is no substitute for a face-to-face, verbal “thank you” to an employee, there are a number of channels for recognition which can be used in order to get the recognition to the employee faster, especially as our workforce continues to become more widespread geographically.

The use of Smartphones, online recognition applications and peer-to-peer videos are excellent ways to provide more timely recognition and reinforce employee engagement.  These methods allow for social recognition as well among fellow employees and peer work communities.  Feedback, such as congratulations from other team members, can be almost immediate and multiplies the overall effectiveness of the recognition.

In order to engage, retain and improve the productivity of our workforce, recognition strategies have to evolve to effectively communicate with the changing workforce of today.  There are numerous communication channels available today which take advantage of social, mobile and other technologies utilized by Generation-Y and, in many cases, Generation -X.  Using multiple channels of communication can offer interactive, frequent and immediate communication.

What recognition channels are you using to recognize your workers?  Are you using enough channels?  Are you using the right channels?

If you’re struggling with these questions and are searching for ways to help your business evolve its recognition process, please call our Advice and Resolution team today at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Managing a Multigenerational Workforce

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

“Never in history has a workforce had four generations working together —until now.”

                –Dr. Kevin Snyder, 2015 Compensation & Benefits Conference

Diverse business group meetingSo who are these four generations working so closely together? In most offices, you will find the:

  • Matures- born from 1925 to 1946
  • Baby Boomers- born from 1946 to 1964
  • Generation Xers- born from 1965 to 1980
  • Generation Yers or ‘Millennials’- born from 1981 to late 1990s

Each generation comes with their unique set of stereotypes and stigmas. While the Matures are seen as loyal but lousy with technology, the Millennial crew seem to attract the opposite perception. While many of these stereotypes are exaggerated, it is undoubtedly true that each generation possesses a distinct set of characteristics from one another.

For many managers, this could sounds like a bit of a headache. After all, who wants a bunch of groups with differing ideas, schedules, and motivations working together? It may sound like a nightmare, but it could actually be an advantage if these differences of habits are leveraged correctly.

To effectively manage your workplace, follow these Do’s and Don’ts  to ensure the generations are working in tandem, and not against, one another.

Do know what each generation is looking for

Knowing your audience is a huge key to success. By understanding what each generation is looking for in a job, you can better manage their expectations and vastly improve their career contentment. Conduct surveys that poll your employees on what they find most rewarding about work. If you find that a large share of your Millennial employees are looking for a strong work culture, organize team lunches or wellness activities for them to take part in. If you find that many of your Mature employees desire one-on-one guidance, try to give them the extra personal attention that fulfills them. With a greater understanding of what makes each generation tick, you will be creating a more engaged, dynamic and productive workplace.

Don’t encourage generational separation

We all enjoy talking to someone we have a lot in common with, and shared age is a great and easy way to bond with a fellow employee. While many employees seem to naturally bond with coworkers of similar ages, it is important to discourage any extreme separation based around age in the office. By combining the varying tastes, attitudes and experiences of the multiple generations at your disposal, you will be fostering a healthy and collaborative dialogue between your employees. Though there is always a potential for conflict, your business would be missing out on the greater potential for new and dynamic teamwork by keeping the generations from working together.

Do recognize their varying strengths

Maybe you have a Millennial employee who’s great with technology, but not so effective when it comes to face-to-face interactions. Or the opposite situation could be true of a Boomer who thrives in personal interactions with others, but understandably lags behind in the tech department. Rather than spreading your employees too thin and expecting the Millennial and Boomer to become well-versed in their respective areas of weakness, recognize their independent strengths and leverage them together. If that means having the Millennial put together the PowerPoint and the Boomer giving the presentation, so be it. By appealing to each of the generation’s strengths, and not holding them hostage to their weaknesses, you will be doing your business and your employees a huge favor.

Don’t assume the generational stereotypes

As we said above, many of the generations possess differing ideals, skills and habits from one another. While it is important to recognize and leverage these varying strengths when you can identify them, do not assume that an employee will lack a certain skill or experience simply because it is not usually ascribed to their generation. By pigeonholing your employees to certain spheres along generational lines, you could be wasting heaps of potential. Be open-minded about each generation, and allow their strengths and experiences to present themselves in due course rather than forcing them into a box in which they may not belong.

If you would like to further discuss how you can more effectively manage a multigenerational workplace, please call our Advice and Resolution team today at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

3 Tips for Leading a Multigenerational Workplace

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

multi generationYour workplace might be comprised of employees and managers from four different generations. The age differences between your youngest employees and most experienced employees could be anywhere from one to 50 years.

The workforce now has the Silent Generation (born before 1946), the Baby Boomer Generation (born 1946-1964), Generation X (born 1965-1980), and Generation Y or the Millennial Generation (born 1981-2000). Each generation may come with its own approaches and ideals, but they all have assets to bring to the table. Employees of all generations need to be led in a way that makes an organization cohesive and united.

It takes time to figure out how to approach your multigenerational workplace, while maintaining the company culture and environment. Here are three tips to consider when leading your multigenerational workplace:

Be flexible and open to new ideas

If you have employees born in a different generation than you, it is likely that they can have different ideas that might fit with their generation. Differences are not a bad thing. They can lead to ideas and approaches that you might not have thought of or considered. Be open to ideas that challenge your way of thinking and lead to an innovative approach.

Initiate open communication about needs

Employees across multiple generations might possess a variety of workplace needs or preferences. You may prefer face-to-face communication or a personal note. However, an employee in a different generation might prefer email or a text message.

Employees may also need different types of motivation. While Generation X tends to be motivated by results, Generation Y can be associated with being motivated by achievements. You will have to be open to asking questions and figuring out how employees are motivated.

Eliminate generational stereotypes

You as a manager are expected to have open communication with your employees, yet you should also encourage open discussion amongst employees. Encourage people to discuss their differences, whether they be strengths or weaknesses. This can help to eliminate any generational stereotypes. Open communication could lead to the discovery of a Silent Generation employee’s social media skills.

A multigenerational workplace is one that has a variety of approaches, ideas, and skills that can all be used to strengthen an organization. Instead of taking a general approach to leading all of your employees, figure out how to use their variety of skills most effectively.

For additional tips for managing a multigenerational workplace, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: US Department of Labor

Retirement Planning for the Multi-Generational Workforce

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

The following is a guest post from John McPhail. John serves Bank of Oak Ridge as a Business Relationship Specialist. He has more than 15 years of experience in the financial industry, including direct sales, marketing, and banking. “I guess I kind of learned HR the hard way when I ran my own business, but the experiences were invaluable. If it weren’t for a good HR mentor, I would have ended up a D.O.L. statistic”, said John.

As I sit here reflecting on the 2012 CAI Compensation and Benefit Conference, I can’t help but smile a knowing smile. This smile actually brings to mind a story.

One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree.

“Which road do I take?” she asked.

“Where do you want to go?” was his response.

“I don’t know,”Alice answered.

“Then,” said the cat, “It doesn’t matter.”

It doesn’t matter…wow…what a tragedy. I submit that it does indeed matter. One might have all the skills and desire, but not be able to harness it or make a decision and act. Is this story about choice or direction? Maybe a little of both. More importantly, I feel, this story illustrates the power of purpose.

Purpose to me is the great “why” of the universe. The “why” of my “Retirement Planning for the Multi-Generational Workforce” presentation was simple. I wanted to engage a thought process that will enable everyone to visualize retirement as an eventuality, not just a possibility. Every employee needs to understand that with discipline, consistent contributions, and proper guidance, retirement can and will come to fruition.

With four generations working side by side, there is a need for specialized retirement planning specifically for your individual situation. Each generation has a unique way of seeing and interacting with the universe. Regardless of their approach, the four generations need different action items and respond differently to environmental changes.

Traditionalists were born between 1900 – 1945 and value saving their income coupled with paying cash for goods and services.

  • They represent 5% of the workforce.
  • Traditionalists perceive retirement as a result of 30 years working to retire and then living off their pension/savings. Their immediate financial needs are to keep what they have accumulated through proper distribution strategies. This has never been more evident than in 2008 when personal investments plunged due to the recession.
  • They need income producing investments with a fixed rate of return. Traditionalists will also benefit from having an actual retirement road map that is orchestrated and tracked by a proven financial professional. Healthcare is an important aspect of retirement to consider. Traditionalists need to understand Social Security planning and Medicare implementation.

Baby Boomers were born between 1946 – 1964 and adhered to the buy now pay later mentality.

  • They represent 45% of the workforce. Their biggest obstacle in retirement is the mentality of, “If I retire, who am I?”
  • Most of Boomers identity is from their career, and retirement can seem counter-intuitive to their sense of well-being and worth. With their “buy now pay later” mentality, they need help with debt resolution first and foremost. If you are a Boomer with a mortgage, you might have to continue to work or work part-time in retirement.
  • Baby Boomers need asset protection strategies as well as distribution strategies that will enable them to enjoy an inflation-adjusted income for life. Equity exposure should be at a minimum and they need income generating investments that don’t experience such volatility. Baby Boomers need a proven financial partner to team up and implement and track their financial plan. Social Security and especially Medicare education is a must for Baby Boomers.

Generation X’s were born between 1965 – 1980 and are the first generation not to do as well as their parents.

  • They represent 40% of the workforce and are conservative and cautious with their money. They also save more than the previous two generations.
  • They believe that since they have saved their money, they might retire early to try different experiences and may even change careers in the end. Generation X’s need a portable retirement plan with target date funds, auto-enroll, and automatic increases available. They need strategies in place to mitigate market volatility and education from a trusted financial partner.
  • Equities can be utilized, but they need to be monitored and coupled with some defensive strategies as well. Generation X’s have a better saving rate and could deal with some fixed investment choices to alleviate worry. A proven financial professional is key in keeping Gen X’s on track and motivated. Not surprisingly, Generation X’s need debt management and they need to avoid seeking the bigger, better deal.

Generation Y’s were born between 1981 – 1999 and value individuality.

  • They represent 10% of the workforce and earn to spend.
  • Their financial needs revolve around a need for consistent contributions to their employer-sponsored retirement plan. Active guidance is key to a Gen Y and they require routine feedback. Their financial needs are much like Generation X’s with a portable retirement plan. They would benefit from target date funds, auto-enroll, automatic increases, and a stable rate of return.
  • They are a bit more skeptical of Wall Street and seek a balance between steady growth and explosive returns in their retirement plan. They require flexibility in their financial plan and need active guidance and a regular report on the status of their account. They are very open to education as a tool for achieving their retirement goals.

My knowing smile in the opening of this article emanates from a belief that everyone, regardless of age, can be fiscally responsible. Don’t blame government or the lack of government. Don’t blame your income. Your attitude towards saving is a choice. You choose whether to be wasteful or frugal. Only you can control your spending and saving. If you can’t save for retirement, you don’t have an earning problem, you have a spending problem.

Find a financial partner, live within your means, have an attitude of gratitude and you will be on the road to financial freedom.

 John McPhail was a speaker at CAI’s 2012 Compensation and Benefits Conference. You can contact him at jmcphail@bankofoakridge.com.

Make Generational Differences Work for Your Company

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Four different generations now make up the United States’ workforce. Organizations should know and understand the characteristics and workplace preferences that make each of the groups unique. Being equipped with this knowledge will assist companies in keeping employees happy and engaged, which in turn will help reduce turnover, attract top talent and achieve business success.

Companies should identify the various generations that currently exist at their workplaces. This information will help target the business practices and employee engagement tools that will be most effective for their staff. Below are some of the traits that distinguish each generation:

Matures (Born before 1946):

Typical characteristics of this age group include: disciplined, loyal, team players, rule followers and putting work before fun. They respect authority and rarely question instructions from their managers. Matures prefer formal and personal communication, such as memos and one-on-one meetings, when interacting with colleagues. They tend to struggle with new technology, but they are valuable resources for company knowledge. Matures are also extremely loyal to their organizations.

Baby Boomers (Born between 1946 -1964):

Typical characteristics of this generation include: workaholics, inquisitive to authority, focus on personal accomplishments and competitive. Baby Boomers are hard workers that will do whatever it takes to finish an assignment, including working nights and weekends and missing family time. This group respects power and accomplishment and prefers public recognition and career advancement opportunities when being rewarded. When interacting with coworkers, they favor a combination of electronic and personal communications. Additionally, they remain loyal to their profession.

Generation X (Born between 1965-1980):

Typical characteristics of this group include: skeptical, self-reliant, efficient and desires structure and fun. Gen Xers choose to work at organizations that will help them attain useful and marketable experiences. They prefer efficiency rather than a set method for getting work done, and they require a strong work-life balance. Competitive pay and time off work make great rewards for them. Giving them greater responsibility makes Gen Xers feel successful. Unlike the generations before them, Gen Xers are loyal to their specific career goals.

Millennials (Born between 1981-1999):

Typical characteristics of this generation include: multitasker, entrepreneurial, goal oriented, tenacious and tolerant. Millennials prefer to work by deadlines and goals instead of a rigid schedule, and constant feedback keeps them satisfied. They like to be recognized both individually andpublicly, and are eager for opportunities that broaden their skill set. They enjoy combining personal life with work life, and they are highly proficient in technology. They become loyal to the people they work closely with.

The descriptions above indicate that each generation values and expects something different from their workplace. Here are a few approaches to use when managing multiple generations:

  • Matures and Baby Boomers have spent many years working. Use them as resources for company questions that Gen Xers or Millennials might have. Matures and Baby Boomers make great mentors to younger staff members, and they can be very helpful when training new staff on company policies, procedures and history.
  • Gen Xers appreciate autonomy and independence in the workplace. Work-life balance is also important to this group. Similar to Gen Xers, Millennials enjoy their free time outside of work. Because Millennials are multitaskers with entrepreneurial spirits, a traditional schedule is not always best for them. Offer schedule flexibility, such as telecommuting, to please both groups.
  • Frequent training opportunities will keep each generation engaged. Encourage Matures and Baby Boomers to offer their younger colleagues career advice through company training or mentorship programs. Have Gen Xers organize training sessions as more responsibility pleases them.
  • Gen Xers and Millennials love receiving feedback. To help all employees succeed, make sure positive and constructive feedback is given consistently through the methods of communication that work best for each generation.
  • Praise and recognition are appreciated by all. Know how each group likes to be rewarded and proceed appropriately. For example, a Baby Boomer would enjoy a company-wide email highlighting their success, while a personalized email about their hard work will please Millennials.
  • No matter the age or length of employment at an organization, all employees should be viewed as valuable staff members. Creating an environment that promotes open communications will help all generations feel appreciated, respected and engaged in their organization.

For more information on how to manage various generations at your organization, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-688-7746.

Photo source: xflickrx