Meet them where they are! Generations in the Workplace


After attending and leading a workshop at the ERA IBC 2013 Conference, I had the privilege of meeting many talented and committed people. As my topic, Generational Insight, was to provide a framework for the multiple generations in the workplace along with some insight into the many incoming Gen Y’s, this provoked some great conversation! One of the key points I tried to impart is that this young generation comes to the workplace wired differently, with a different set of exceptions and skills than generations that have come before them. Peering through a new lens is a great way to see things from a different perspective and the beginning of meeting  your co-workers where they are.

The theme of the participant’s questions included concerns about the younger generation’s work ethic, patience and perspectives. After reviewing why the generational cohorts have differing perspectives, participants began to see that this 80 million-strong, tech savvy group has been told, from the time they were the babies referenced by the “baby on board” signs, that they can obtain anything they want. Their helicopter parents provided a trophy just for playing and that reinforced their importance and perception that if they put their minds to something, they can achieve.

The opportunity for real estate to recruit and bring this generation into the business is huge – but the key that you understand a few aspects from their experiences to support their success. Some ideas include:

Set clear intentions – share that you are asking them to do things in a certain way so they will become successful and in compliance with rules, regulations and polices. In other words, share what’s in it for them!

Communicate often – Gen Y’s are accustomed to frequent communication and know how to manage data and content – just keep the flow going so they are in the loop.

• Be consistent – because of their abilities to obtain information fast and because they are typically so well connected on social media, they will check out and verify what you say so be honest – if you don’t know the answer to something, just be honest and say you don’t know.

• Provide the rubric – a rubric is the measurement or scoring assessment that is often used in education. The teacher or professor shares how to get an “A” in class and these Gen Y’s then understand how to calibrate their work and effort, depending on the grade they are after. When you provide the rubric, you are connecting the dots for them, something that serves all.

Meeting this generation where they are and then working to bring them forward has been a proven strategy for the companies we have supported as they look at more effective ways to on-board  train and retrain Gen Y’s. Are you meeting your new hires where they are?

Diane Spiegel was a speaker at ERA IBC 2013 in Austin, TX March 21-24, 2013. 

photo credit: Victor1558 via photopin cc

Diane Spiegel

Diane Spiegel is CEO of The End Result Partnerships, author of  The Gen Y Handbook: Applying Relationship Leadership to Engage Millennials and is one of the nation’s recognized leaders in corporate training and leadership development. With more than 25 years of experience, Diane is an industry leader and innovator who created the firm’s highly successful training methodology, Sage Leadership Tools. An organizational architect, Diane specializes in developing training plans that offer companies a strategic and creative process to educate and develop their employees, and provide the framework for cultural and organizational change. Diane earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and she completed post-graduate study in employee relations and organizational development at the University of California, Irvine. Diane is adjunct faculty at University California Irvine working with professional staff on the impact of the Multi-Generations in the workplace. Diane’s clients include Celebrity Cruises, Corinthian Colleges, Costco, Del Taco International, Southern California Edison, Jamba Juice, Legoland California, Taleo, Royal Caribbean International, Sunglass Hut/Watch Station, The Gap, The Limited, 3M, and Wet Seal.
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