Tag Archives: Gen z

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generational shift

What Causes a Generational Shift?

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Generational differences continue to be a hot topic. It seems that nearly anything that is changing or perceived as non-mainstream thinking casts blame on the millennial generation. However, millennials are not our youngest workforce generation. What causes a generational shift?

In a general sense, the definition of each workforce generation is a soft concept. By soft, I’m indicating that it is not an exact science and popular opinions led by experts in the field shape most of the published work which defines the generations.

Generational Framework

In my opinion, and consistent with many opinions discovered through my research on the subject this is our current (2017) framework (Chart):

Traditionals: Born 1930 – 1945

Baby Boomers: Born 1946 – 1964

Generation X: Born 1965 – 1976

Millennials (Gen Y): Born 1977 – 1994

Generation Z (Gen 9/11, iGen): Born after 1994

What shapes this framework or what causes one generation to end and another to begin?

generational framework

Factors Shape Generations

Three significant factors are likely responsible for an emerging new generation.

Socio-Economic Conditions: This represents a significant shift in values, culture, and issues that impact economic conditions. One example is the Great Depression (Circa 1929-1933).

Major Technology Shifts: Represented as anytime technology drives a significant shift in activities, behaviors, or the economy. Examples could include the space race (Circa mid-1960’s), and the emergence of personal computing devices (Circa late-1970’s, early 1980’s).

Times of War: Unfortunately, a time of war also seems to impact or contribute to shifting the generational framework. Examples could include World War II, Vietnam, and the Gulf War.

generational differences

Generational Shift

Popular wisdom suggests that there may be a blending of these conditions, and if only one condition seems to exist it is unlikely that a generational shift will occur. When two or more of the conditions (factors) exist it is very likely the framework will shift.

For example, the shaping of the next generation, the one beyond Gen Z has likely started around 2007. This is true because of the period becoming known as the Great Recession (2007-2010) and the emergence of shifting technology with the introduction of the iPhone, which is often regarded as the first smartphone.

It is also worth noting that I while I consistently cite Gen Z as having a start year of around 1994; I believe it is closer to 1990. Consider the Gulf War, economic factors, and technology shifts such as those associated with NASA and the emergence of cellular telephone hardware and services.

There are opinions that generational differences are not real, that it is only representative of changing needs based upon age. However, there is strong argument from social philosophers and experts who research this subject.

Differences exists because of age as well as what we label as the generations. Generational differences are not so much about age, but they are about the values and beliefs of people who are grouped together and categorized by their birth year.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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Millennials and Gen Z Believe in Making a Difference

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If you work in a multigenerational workplace you’ve probably stumbled upon some different perspectives on life. Do millennials and gen Z (Gen 9/11, iGen) believe in making a difference?

Gen Z Believe Appreciative Strategies

Nearly everyone has heard the idea (value) of treating others the way you would like to be treated. It is a decent value to carry. It shows that you care. You typically want the best for yourself and when you deliver that to others it would certainly seem to make the world a better place.

One stumbling block for many organizational cultures today is integrating the knowledge, experience, and talent across all generations. Things often seem to lean towards one end of the generational framework or the other.

When a business or organization really wants to have a supportive culture across all generations they might need to think differently.

Multigenerational Harmony

Trust me when I say, “What I’m about to say rubs some people the wrong way.”

Businesses that have been around for a while insist that those coming on-board must adapt to their culture. After all, their culture is the preferred culture and it is how the business was built. That might be okay, if you don’t plan to hire across all generations.

If you want, or more importantly need (which most businesses do) to start onboarding those representing the two most recent generations you might have to think differently.

You might have to change your philosophy from treating others the way you would like to be treated, to treating others the way they would like to be treated.

Millennials and Gen Z Believe

In the workplace many traditionals, baby boomers, and generation X, are focused on building their professional portfolio and establishing professional recognition.

In contrast, recent studies indicate that 84 percent of the millennials believe that, “making a positive difference in the world is more important than professional recognition.”

As with all of the research related to generational differences, it is not everyone, in every sector, or every business.

Considering asking someone if they believe in making a difference. Most will say, “Yes.”

Then you’ll just need to understand what that really means.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Performance Reviews for Millennials

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Performance reviews are often one of the most important yet misunderstood development tools used in organizations today. Recently I’ve been asked some questions about the performance review process for the millennial generation.

performance reviews appreciative strategies

Should the performance review process be different for a millennial?

I believe the answer is both yes and no.

No, the general characteristics or the process should not be different. The foundation for the tools or process should remain as a standard for any employee review.

Yes, the type of interaction and perhaps the style or flow of the conversation might be more productive if it is managed a little differently.

Performance Reviews

Performance reviews should be recognized as one of the most powerful and useful tools for continuing to develop employees and the organizational culture. Unfortunately it is often misunderstood, taken for granted, and inappropriately used.

Here are several areas that show up near the top of the misunderstood and misused list:

  • an opportunity to scold or negatively blast employees
  • highlight one specific error or wrong doing
  • used to justify other issues, such as no pay raise

The performance review process should consider all efforts and should in some way be appropriately connected to a job description. It should be used as an opportunity to focus on future performance, help to establish future development goals, and to reinforce the performance that is most desirable.

If you have an employee that is struggling to achieve or maintain successful levels of contribution and organizational performance then you probably should consider a performance improvement plan (PIP) instead of using an annual or semi-annual performance review process. Certainly, there can be some overlap with the uses of these tools, but the general approaches should be different.

Millennial Considerations

As I’ve already mentioned the foundation of the process should not be different for a millennial employee but taking into consideration a few common characteristics might be helpful. Generational differences are not so much about age as they are about values and beliefs and many millennials struggle with a traditional or boomer boss in a number of areas.

Here are a few common areas of struggle that the millennial employee might feel.

  1. Unheard or not listened to. Perhaps this happens when millennials share an idea but then fail to see any implementation or what they perceive as consideration for their idea.
  2. Not well respected. There is a difference between not respected and disrespected. Often the millennial employee interacting with a boomer boss feels that the boss lacks appropriate respect for the millennial.
  3. Different about solving problems. Traditionals and boomers typically view problem solving as requiring effort and a plan while millennials almost always seek to improve the situation through a technology solution.

Frequency

Different values and beliefs brought about in-part because of societal changes could mean that many millennials are seeking more frequent feedback on performance.

A formal review process is typically annual or semi-annual and any employee on a specific PIP would receive feedback more frequently. Informally, more frequent feedback exchanges are often welcomed by millennial or gen Z (Gen 9/11, iGen) employees.

The stereotype is that traditionals and baby boomers are willing to view a day on the job as, no news is good news, whereas the youngest representation in our workforce today needs feedback for encouragement, motivation, and to help keep anxiety levels low.

Millennial Reviews

Should performance reviews be different for millennials?

Every performance review approach, style, and delivery should have some variances.

Some common mistakes made by supervisors are that they themselves don’t take the feedback process serious enough.

Supervisors often feel unprepared or challenged by any conflict that might arise, and then they often deliver based on how they themselves would feel most comfortable and achieve the most benefit, when in fact, the best performance review should be delivered with considerations for how the recipient would benefit the most.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Millennials and the Work / Life Blend

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Many of the traditionals, baby boomers, and generation X population are familiar with the idea of work / life balance. It has been the topic of many books, self-help guides, and even a buzz phrase for corporate culture, unfortunately that was during the 1990’s, and perhaps into the early 2000’s.

Planning work

What is the work / life blend and how is it different from work / life balance?

Work / Life Blend

Millennials and gen Z (Gen 9/11, iGen) are much more interested in the work / life blend. This style of corporate culture suggests that your work is much more integrated with your life as compared to the concept that work and life are two very different aspects.

Starting in the late 1980’s some management styles began to measure performance based on the number of hours you put into your job on a daily or weekly basis. The bragging rights or social proof of performance was demonstrated by stating the number of hours worked as compared to productivity, efficiency, or outcomes. Even today you might find pockets of what I will call old school management philosophy that attempts to correlate a person’s value to the organization by the number of hours spent on the job.

Over the course of a few decades the medical (and psychiatric) communities began to suggest that many people needed more work / life balance. The millennials and gen Z population observed much of this trend through their parent’s steadfast commitment to work and building a better life only to still be working towards those same goals today, and so they have decided that there must be a better way.

The better way, or so it is believed, is more work / life blending.

Work and Lifestyle

Regardless of the generation, this concept doesn’t work for every occupation or for every person, nor should it. However, many employers can and probably should consider incorporating a culture related more towards a work / life blend. Especially those who insist they want millennial and gen Z representation but cannot understand why they experience so much employee turnover within these generations.

Examples of moving more towards a work / life blend might include the ability and permission to:

  • have more flexible hours, recognizing that some of your work occurs outside of the workplace
  • encourage processing email and interacting electronically after traditional hours
  • connect performance measurement to results, not “clock” hours
  • incorporate marketing and branding efforts with social “off the clock” activities
  • have open workspaces with less confinement and more team centric objectives

The concept centers on the idea that work is mixed in with lifestyle.

Messengers Message

If you are a traditional or baby boomer manager who glances at this concept and just as quickly dismisses it, may I suggest that you pause? There certainly are challenges here and it might seem impossible in manufacturing, retail, and healthcare (just naming a few), but to the extent possible this concept should be explored. Early adopters in some sectors are testing combinations of fixed (traditional) hours and flex hours (read flex as blending) in an attempt to stimulate cultural change.

Avoid thinking of this concept as functioning like a light switch, with full on or full off.

Most workplace cultures will benefit the most from strategically working towards this concept and should not try a drastic move from one extreme to the other. At the same time it is important to consider that successfully onboarding and retaining the future generation of workers might depend on how soon you begin to develop and value job roles and duties that incorporate more of a work / life blend.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Managing Multigenerational Meetings

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Meetings are an important part of your workplace life and if you’re involved in recurring, regular scheduled meetings, you know meeting management is important.

business people group on meeting at modern startup office

The meeting chairperson and participants alike often wonder about the frequency of meetings and also how to measure their effectiveness, but what about those meetings that have the added dynamic of being multigenerational? They’re quite common today especially as the more recent generations take a commanding position in organizations by bringing to the table a vast set of technology oriented skills coupled with fresh new ideas.

Enter the era of meetings that incorporate the entire spectrum of the five generations currently active in our workforce.

What It Means

If you have a broad multigenerational segment of employee representation at your meetings you may have to prepare differently.

First, if you are a traditional, a baby boomer, or  gen X meeting leader (chairperson) you might have to consider dropping your idea that meetings run without devices. Devices of course mean smart phones, tablets, and notebook computers. You’re already cringing but that’s not the end of it.

The second thing to keep in mind is that while true multi-tasking is very questionable, the most recent workforce generations, those representing the millennials and Gen Z (Gen 9/11, iGen) crowd, are accustomed to fitting in some listening skills while also actively browsing their device. Keep in mind that in many cases they’ve done this for what to them, feels like their entire life.

Yes, you can set the guidelines for the meeting to not allow active devices and yes they will sit there and listen and participate, but their best work might not happen. It’s true that much of this will depend on the type of meeting and the meeting objectives but it’s also true that this is something that old school meeting leaders need to carefully consider.

Getting Results

Your meetings are important. They are not only a vehicle for communication but they are also likely important for decision making, planning, and solidifying team effort. If this holds true for you and you want the most productivity from your meeting you’re going to have to consider not only bringing your best and brightest talent to the meeting but also allowing them the ability to carry in a few tools.

How often have you asked a question in a meeting but no one knows the answer?

The old school way is to write it down, go research it, and bring the answer to the next meeting. Millennials and gen Z simply do not understand this low efficiency method. They can probably find answers or possible solutions, and in some cases video tutorials within just a few moments.

Can you say productivity? Time is money.

Spaces

If you are conducting workplace meetings across the multigenerational landscape present in our workforce today not only do you want to consider how the meeting will operate but you’ll also want to consider the meeting space. Meeting space, like office space, is changing.

You’re going to have to think about more open space with fewer closed doors and stuffy high-back leather chairs. Don’t just think about a meeting room; think about atriums, outdoor spaces, and coffee shops.

Enjoy your next meeting.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Are Millennials More Productive?

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Recently I wrote about the subject of information overload which sparked online and offline conversations about various workforce generations and productivity. Are the more recent generations such as the millennials and generation Z more productive?

Have a look

Let’s start by considering a few key points. The first is that what separates the generations is not so much about age, but it is about differing values and beliefs. The second point is that the most recent generations have been taught differently and perhaps learn differently, and the third is that when compared with the earlier generations much of the millennial population and all of the generation Z population have predominately known information access at their fingertips on a computer or cellular phone.

My belief is that when you consider productivity you have to ask yourself, “Productive at what?” Most people will likely connect productivity with the ability to accomplish one or more tasks in a timely manner. The person who can do this with little or no error in the shortest time is the most productive. If we agree on that, then the question still remains, productive at what?

If we were to generalize about skills in the workplace one argument could include the idea that those who have been in the workforce longer will have more skill, but those representing the more recent generations may bring additional knowledge of the subject matter. When it comes to entitlements in the workplace traditionals and baby boomers believe that they are entitled because they have more experience and the millennials and generation Z people believe that they are entitled because they have more knowledge. Does this have anything to do with being more productive? Likely, yes, it does.

Consider baking a cake, learning to play a musical instrument, or building a book case, if we have two human subjects both with about the same amount of resources, knowledge, and experience who will be more productive?

It seems to me that the best answer is the person who will use their resources the most efficiently and effectively to learn the skill, apply the skill, and then be able to repeat the process becoming more productive as they build more skill. I must confess that from my experiences, with all things being equal, the millennial generation would most likely (I’m generalizing of course) be more productive. I believe a millennial who has developed a reasonable level of problem solving skills will most likely locate the resources for learning (consult an expert, watch a video, find documentation online) faster and more efficiently as compared to the baby boomer. They will think about it differently because their espoused values and core beliefs are likely different. To help illustrate this point, a baby boomer might seek to find a book or ask a friend and the millennial or  generation Z person is already watching a video.

Are millennials more productive in today’s workplace? I believe it depends on many factors and most of the factors would not be equivalent across the generations. The earlier generations might have some advantage with life experiences that the most recent generations have not had, but it is reasonable that a person from any generation can be highly productive with the proper resources and training.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Can Boomers Lead Generation Z?

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Considering there are now five generations active in our workforce it seems reasonable that reaching across three, four, or five generations will represent some challenge. I am often asked questions about how to change the incoming workforce, not how to address the problems, but how to change the people.

046762843-looking-poll-results

Reaching across the generations is complex, but approaching it with the intent to improve relations and not change people is where most of the engagement value exists. It may start with the questions we ask ourselves, and it definitely needs to work towards improving the root cause.

The root cause of our generational differences often develops from leadership style, communication, and organizational culture. Changing our approach should begin with focusing on the commonalities that we share. When we have a successful organization or business it is because we provide products or services that add value or solve problems. Since we’re all in it together, that is one important factor we all have in common.

We should be asking ourselves questions like this:

What is our purpose? Motivation to jump in and get started happens when everyone understands their sense of purpose and contribution. Doing the task is one thing, but understanding why provides the motivation. This is our mission.

What problem are we trying to solve? Most organizations are in the business of fixing, reducing, or improving problems. They fulfill a need and provide value or a solution. Everyone’s contribution should be related to meeting this exact need.

How does what we are doing solve that problem? If we can’t identify the results or establish the metrics or measurement, we’ll likely have trouble with employee engagement. Everything should have an identifiable result and outcome.

When we stop trying to change people and start focusing on the commonalities of our mission, people of every generation will work better together. We may have differences such as values and beliefs, social orientation, and technology competence, but keep this in mind; the value of the team doesn’t exist in everyone being the same. The value of the team exists in utilizing everyone’s knowledge and experience to solve the problem or accomplish the goal.

When leaders forfeit the strength of differences across the generations they have forfeited the value of the team.

Yes, boomers can lead (Gen 9/11, iGen) generation z.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker, and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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