How Companies Can Use Generational Differences To Their Advantage

It’s natural for any new worker to look around to see how many people are around their age at first, but there’s a huge opportunity lost when companies only recruit one age group.

Generational conflict will always exist based on style preference alone.

But workplaces can flip the script on older vs. younger in one swoop: cross-generational mentoring.

When you think of mentor it is assumed older-to-younger knowledge transfer, but don’t mistake age for experience.

Millennials were raised with technology so even with lacking workplace experience, their digital knowledge is far superior than generations above them. On the opposite end Boomers and Gen X understand office politics, communication and responsibility better.

This “fair trade” can be a huge asset to your bottom line if utilized properly.

There’s no better teacher than trial and error. Also if you really want to understand a concept, teach it. When workers are paired with co-workers of different ages the focus is on individual strengths instead of nitpicking about disparity.

Professional development is a huge retention benefit and when companies empower that responsibility to co-workers there’s more ownership taken because each person is involved with the process.

The term diversity normally pertains to ethnicity, but age diversity is just as important.

The healthiest organizations find ways to appreciate and value workers of all ages because everyone has something to offer others.

If employees expect management to provide direction solely, workers gain a “consumer’s” mentality believing learning needs to be spoon-fed to me. When cross-generational mentoring exists “learning” becomes a personal responsibility. Companies need to quickly dispel the notion that growth opportunities only happen within a organizational context.

When I advise clients who are job searching I always emphasize that personal growth is your responsibility. Anything a company provides is a bonus.

Make it your mission to find a mentor and mentee and learning becomes a habit, not a destination.

How The NBA Free Agency Mirrors Corporate America

nba_teamlogos

Professional athletes are in the prime of their career in their 20’s, but as they reach their 30’s priorities change. It’s no different with Millennials in the workplace except their best career years may be ahead of them.

During the NBA free agency period players without contracts have the opportunity to strike it rich with their current or new team through signing a multi-year deal. Most NBA players want 3 things:

1) To win now

2) Be the “man”

3) Max money

Assuming an athlete has been in the league for a couple of years and excelled, the bidding wars begin. As a fan I found myself making parallels towards Corporate America this summer. Take the 3 wishes of basketball players and they can be translated to young professionals:

1) To make a difference/impact (winning)

2) Be valued as an important contributor (the “man/woman”)

3) Make as much money as possible

What’s interesting is the shift in values over generations.

Millennials care more about lifestyle than paycheck.

Purpose in work is greater than titles.

Promotions only feel “real” when accompanied by personal growth.

This NBA free agency period marked the first time top players chose small markets (San Antonio & Milwaukee) over large ones (Los Angeles & New York). The playing field has been leveled and location no longer is an important criteria. It is if you care about nightlife, housing costs and distance from family, but otherwise it’s an afterthought. It’s a reason why growing startups can steal top talent from established corporations.

I’ve always believed that Millennials are Millennials no matter what they are doing. “Perks” are popular because they show employers care about their wants. Sometimes perks are used as a recruiting and retaining factor. Understanding what Millennials want in their career reveals how they can “fit” in your organization. My point is people are people no matter what they are doing. Generations share certain core values that resonate amongst them. Tap into those values and their pulse reveals what matters. Cater to the heart.

Scott Asai is a speaker/coach that has been developing leaders for 20+ years – athletes, companies and individuals. His focus is helping people develop leadership skills to advance in their careers. Scott tends to attract a large audience of Millennials and Introverts to his programs/events. His professional background consists of: B.A. in Psychology, M.A. in Organizational Leadership, Certified Professional Coach and Certified Strengths Coach.

Millennial Makeover: 3 Steps for Success

millennial_infographic

Millennials are now the largest generation in the U.S. Labor Force and that number will just keep growing. The stereotypes of being narcissists, fickle and poor communicators are mostly true, but there’s too much emphasis on the problem and not enough focus on solutions.

I’ve worked with Millennials both as a volunteer and paid basis for the past 20 years and here is what works:

1) Teach/Model Communication Skills: As technology increases, communication skills decrease. With texting, social media and various apps, verbal communication isn’t practiced much. Young professionals can multitask quickly, but are slow to respond to emails, lack professionalism and avoid conflict. In order to turn the tides give them opportunities to speak in public, network at events and define professionalism. Rarely is a new hire ready to do their job independently. That doesn’t mean they’re not capable, it means you need to teach them what they lack. The only way to improve skills is to practice. Stop complaining about their faults and show them how to do it.

2) Give Frequent Feedback: Millennials crave coaching. Since we’re stereotyping here for brevity purposes, Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers aren’t the greatest managers. Most supervisors move up in rank because of seniority, but the technical skills mastered are far from leadership skills that are needed to develop emerging candidates. Frequent means daily or at least weekly feedback. Yes, Millennials tend to dislike criticism, but that doesn’t mean you stop giving it. No, I’m not an advocate for micromanaging, but if someone isn’t performing to standards, they must be informed. This goes both ways too. Leaders should be secure enough to ask how they can serve their workers better. Praise is welcome, but make sure it’s specific, not general like “good job.” If you’re going to be generic in your feedback, do everyone a favor and don’t bother opening your mouth. Start at the end. Performance evaluations shouldn’t be a surprise to any worker if feedback is being given constantly.

3) Reward Intraprenuership: Millennials are the most innovative generation in history. If they don’t see the market fulfilling a need, they create it themselves. Corporate culture should welcome mistakes. We all learn best through trial and error and the most successful people in the world deal with failure better, not success. New projects are a great way for Millennials to take initiative, collaborate and test market products/services. If you ask most young professionals what matters to them most at work, you’ll usually get the response: make an impact in the world or opportunities for growth. Rewarding intrapreneurship satisfies both desires if planned well. Responsibility happens when ownership is taken. The quickest way to teach that is by delegating tasks, trusting people to get it done and holding them accountable for the results. Don’t worry about retention as much, instead foster an entrepreneurial culture and it becomes your most effective recruiting tool.

Generational differences cause a lot of problems at work, but if you choose to focus on the strengths of Millennials instead of their weaknesses, you’ll see positive results in your ROI much sooner than later.

Winsight Episode 26: Leading the Current Generation

millennials, gen y, talent development and retention, entitled, startup generation, emotionally reactive

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/winsight/26_Winsight_Episode_26_-_Leading_the_Current_Generation.mp3]

 

Millennials. A single word can conjure up varying descriptions and emotions. Some of the stereotypes about this generation are true, yet others are not. Instead of sitting here and complaining about the shortcomings of this group, I prefer to point out how to lead them effectively.

In this episode the following points will be discussed:

  • Why teaching isn’t about being the “best in your field
  • How body language is a warning sign for motivation
  • The two types of vision that need to align
  • What Baby Boomers and Millennials have in common

Does this change your thoughts on Millennials? What adjustments will you make dealing with Millennials going forward?

Winsight Episode 8: Flip the Script

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/winsight/08_Winsight_Episode_8_-_Flip_the_Script.mp3]

 

Life isn’t about what happens to you. It’s about how you to choose to respond to it.

Winning in life has a lot to do with how you view the world. You can choose to be a victim or you can choose to be a victor.

During this podcast I’ll discuss:

  • What reframing is and how it can help you
  • Why skeptics can end up being your best customers
  • When sometimes its better for others to talk for you
  • The difference between going down the winning vs. losing road

How can you flip the script on a current challenge? Please share your story below so others can be inspired! Thanks!

glass half empty, glass half full, shift perspective, reframing, coaching, winsight podcast, coping skills, optimist, pessimist