Managing employees from different generations – am I on a different planet?

Saw a tweet summarising a presentation by a Human Resource Director of a hotel chain that identified the need for a ‘paradigm’ shift in managing ‘millennials’ – employees born post 1978.  Then I came across this article in the Wall Street Journal….

The article identifies three basic generational types – Baby Boomers, Gen Y and Millennials.  It then proposes some approaches to managing these different generations, some of which I agree with but some of which are bonkers – at least to me – partly because they are contradictory.  For instance, it proposes employees should not be lumped into generational stereotypes, but then proposes dealing with each generation differently.

It goes on to propose “toss the routines” – because sone generations dislike the “formality of regular meetings”.  This confuses the nature of the meeting with the frequency of the meeting.  In a previous blog I have proposed a brief team meeting for every operation prior to the start of business.  This is regular but it does not have to be formal.  All generations dislike meetings that appear serve no purpose, so focus on the outcomes of the meeting rather than how formal or how frequent it is.

It then points out that different generations are at different life stages and that the latter will affect their attitude to work.   Which of course is nothing new – any workforce made up of younger and older workers will be like this, irrespective of generational stereotypes.  Life stage affects an employees ability work flexible hours, how they might be motivated, and so on.

I could go on but I won’t, since there’s no mention of organisational culture in the article. This is one of the main ways in which an operator creates a work environment that all employees sign up to irrespective of their age, stereotype, or life stage.   This does not require a “paradigm shift” – unless of course your organisation has a crap culture.

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