MANAGING
GENERATIONS IN THE
WORKPLACE
Jeanne H. Yamamura
CPA, MIM, PHD
APIPA 2010
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DISCLAIMER
• This is not you.
• You are unique and
special.
• This is everybody else!
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NAME THIS TUNE
Wise men say only
fools rush in
but I can't help
falling in love with
you
Shall I stay
would it be a sin
If I can't help
falling in love with
you
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NAME THIS TUNE
I know I may be young
But I’ve got feelings too
And I need to do what I feel
like doing
So let me go and just listen
All you people look at me like
I’m a little girl
Well, did you ever think it
would be OK for me to step
into this world …
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NAME THIS TUNE
One soft infested summer
Me and Terry became friends
Trying in vain to breathe
The fire we born in
Catching rides to the
outskirts
Tying faith between our teeth
Sleeping in that old
abandoned beach house
Getting wasted in the heat
And hiding on the
backstreets
Hiding on the backstreets
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NAME THIS TUNE
That old black magic
has me in its spell
That old black magic
that you weave so
well
Those icy fingers up
and down my spine
The same old
witchcraft when your
eyes meet mine
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THE GENERATIONS
• The Veterans / Traditionalists – Before
1946
– 48 million (65 to ??) – most retired
• The Baby Boomers – 1946-1964
– 78 million (46 to 64)
• Generation Xers – 1965-1976
– 49 million (34 to 45)
• Millennials – After 1976 (to 1994)
– 74 million (to 33) – many not yet in workplace
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GENERATIONS
• Generation = Identifiable group that shares birth
years, age location, and critical life events at key
development stages.
– Common tastes, attitudes, and experiences
• Defining events = events that capture attention
and emotions and affect generational psyche
– Assassination of John F. Kennedy
– Challenger explosion
– 9/11
• Work values more influenced by generational
experiences than age and maturation.
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WHY A PROBLEM NOW?
• In past, generations in workplace were
separated
– Older employees, mostly white and male= head office
– Middle-aged employees = middle management or
high-skilled, seniority protected positions
– Youngest employees = factory floor, trainee positions
• Generational mixing rare and occurred with
formality and protocol
– Senior management made decisions without question
or input from below
– Doubts or concerns held by lower level staff voiced
only to each other and usually “off premises”
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WHY A PROBLEM NOW?
• Physical separation has disappeared
– Organizations are more horizontal
• Increasing number of middle management positions
eliminated
– Workplaces may be smaller and more compact
• Older employees still in workplace
– Senior employees might be older than senior
employees were in past
– May be supervised by someone much younger
– The generational “mix” has changed
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WHY A PROBLEM NOW?
• Increased competition for more limited
number of upward opportunities among
different generations
• The generations have different
– Values
– Views
– Ways of walking, talking, and thinking
• Potential for increased conflict due to
misunderstanding
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THE VETERANS /
TRADITIONALISTS
• Hold 75% of all U.S.
financial assets
• Lee Iacocca, Mary
Kay Ash, Warren
Buffett
• Glenn Miller, Frank
Sinatra, Ella
Fitzgerald
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VETERANS – DEFINING EVENTS
• 1927 – Lindbergh completes
first transatlantic flight
• 1929 – stock market crash
• 1930’s – Great Depression
• 1932 – FDR elected
• 1933 – Dust Bowl
• 1937 – Hitler invades Austria
• 1941 – Pearl Harbor – U.S.
enters WWII
• 1944 – D Day in Normandy
• 1945 – Victory in Europe and
Japan
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VETERANS – PERSONAL AND
LIFESTYLE CHARACTERISTICS
• Core Values:
Respect for
Authority,
Conformity,
Discipline
• Family: Traditional,
Nuclear
• Education: A Dream
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VETERANS – PERSONAL AND
LIFESTYLE CHARACTERISTICS
• Communications
Media: Rotary
Phones, One-onOne, Write a
Memo
• Dealing with
Money: Put it
away, Pay cash
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BABY BOOMERS
• Largest generation
• Bill and Hillary Clinton, David
Letterman, Oprah Winfrey, Rush
Limbaugh, Mick Jagger
• Rock & Roll, Elvis, Grateful Dead,
Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix
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BABY BOOMERS – DEFINING
EVENTS
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
1954 McCarthy HCUAA hearings begin
1957 Civil Rights Act passed
1962 John Glenn circles earth
1963 Martin Luther King leads march on
Washington, DC
1963 Kennedy assassinated
1965 Troops to Vietnam
1969 King and Robert Kennedy assassinated
1969 Woodstock
1970 Kent State shootings
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BABY BOOMERS – PERSONAL AND
LIFESTYLE CHARACTERISTICS
• Core Values:
Optimism,
Involvement, Health
and wellness,
Personal growth
• Family:
Disintegrating
• Education: A
birthright
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BABY BOOMERS – PERSONAL AND
LIFESTYLE CHARACTERISTICS
• Communications
Media: Touchtone Phones,
Call me anytime
• Dealing with
Money: Buy
now, pay later
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GENERATION X
• Grew up in the
shadow of the
Boomers
• Brad Pitt, Jewel,
Michael Jordan,
Michael Dell
• Elton John,
Bruce
Springsteen,
Tina Turner,
Michael Jackson
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GENERATION X – DEFINING
EVENTS
• 1976 Tandy and Apple market PCs
• 1979 U.S. corporations begin massive
layoffs
• 1980 John Lennon killed
• 1986 Challenger disaster
• 1989 Fall of Berlin Wall
• 1991 Operation Desert Storm
• 1992 Rodney King beating, LA riots
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GEN X – PERSONAL AND
LIFESTYLE CHARACTERISTICS
• Core Values:
Skepticism, Fun,
Informality, Selfreliant
• Family: Latch-key
kids
• Education: A way
to get there
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GEN X – PERSONAL AND
LIFESTYLE CHARACTERISTICS
• Communications
Media: Cell
phones, Call me
only at work
• Dealing with
Money: Cautious,
Conservative,
Save, save, save
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MILLENNIALS / GEN Y
• Coddled offspring
of Boomers
• Macauley Culkin,
Chelsea Clinton,
LeAnn Rimes
• Britney Spears,
Jewel, Eminem,
Boyz II Men
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MILLENNIALS – DEFINING
EVENTS
• Oklahoma City
bombing
• Schoolyard shootings
• Clinton/Lewinsky
• Columbine High
massacre
• 9/11
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MILLENNIALS – PERSONAL AND
LIFESTYLE CHARACTERISTICS
• Core Values:
Realism,
Confidence, Extreme
fun, Sociability, Civic
duty
• Family: Merged
families
• Education: An
incredible expense
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MILLENNIALS – PERSONAL AND
LIFESTYLE CHARACTERISTICS
• Communications
Media: Internet,
Picture phones,
Email
• Dealing with
Money: Earn to
spend
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A LITTLE EXERCISE
1. How many of you have kids 26 or under?
2. How many of you ever told them they were special and
could change the world, fix the world's problems?
3. How many of you told them they can do anything if they
put their minds to it?
4. How many of you gave them and encouraged them to
use any of the following: computer, PDA, cell phone?
5. How many of you pushed your child to achieve the best
and, if they didn’t, gave them or encouraged the giving
of an award anyway
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YOU CREATED
Special, Confident,
Tech savvy,
Achievement
oriented
Individuals
You raised them,
now lead them!
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GENERATIONS IN THE
WORKPLACE
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A FUN QUIZ!!
• Answer each of the following
questions by selecting ONE
answer.
• Keep track of your answers (A, B,
C, or D)
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QUIZ – QUESTION #1
Attitude toward work assignment:
A. If they say “jump”, I say “how high.”
B. If they say “jump”, I think about
doing it a better way, then I jump.
C. If they say “jump”, I want to know
what’s in it for me.
D. If they say “jump”, I say “Why?”
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QUIZ – QUESTION #2
Role of working women:
A. Women should stay home and raise the
children.
B. Women have come a long way. Some
women are even capable of holding high
level positions within an organization.
C. Women should have the same
opportunities as men in the workplace.
D. Is there a difference between men and
women?
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QUIZ – QUESTION #3
Perception of work life:
A. I’ll work at the same company from cradle to
grave.
B. I’ll work at a company well into my 60’s, and then
maybe do something else.
C. I’ll work at a job until something better comes
along – more money is always better but
opportunity for quick advancement is best. I don’t
want to jump through endless hoops to get
promoted.
D. Work? I thought we were supposed to have fun
and experience all we could. If it feels like work, I
don’t want any part of it!
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QUIZ – QUESTION #4
Attitudes toward working hours:
A. Working long hours every day shows your
commitment to the organization. Your family will
always be there, but the company may fail if I don’t
work hard.
B. It’s hard to balance work and family, but work should
come before family if a choice needs to be made.
C. I’ll work from 8-5, unless something very important
comes up. Flexibility on the job is really important to
me.
D. Standard working hours? If there’s nothing
interesting to do at work I should be able to go
home. Getting in early is also a problem.
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SCORING
• Give yourself 4 points for each A,
3 points for each B, 2 points for
each C, and 1 point for each D.
• If you scored near 20, you think like
the Veterans; 15-19 points like Baby
Boomers; 10-14 points as Gen X; and
5-9 points like Millennials.
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VETERANS IN THE WORKPLACE
• Work ethic and values:
Hard work, respect
authority, sacrifice, duty
before fun, adhere to
rules, loyalty
• Work is: an obligation
• Interactive style:
individual
• Communications:
formal, memo
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VETERANS – HOW THEY
PERFORM
• Dependable, loyal,
detail-oriented, thorough,
hard working
• Driven by rules and order
• Strive to uphold culture
and traditions
• Able to leave work at
work
• Need more time for
orientation
• Find technology
intimidating
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VETERANS – WHAT
MOTIVATES THEM
• Use the personal touch.
• Remember that traditional perks were
status symbols.
• Motivating messages:
– Your experience is respected here
– It’s valuable to the rest of us to hear what has
– and hasn’t – worked in the past.
– Your perseverance is valued and will be
rewarded.
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VETERANS – HOW THEY LEARN
•
•
•
•
Traditional classroom environment
Lectures and presentations by experts
Logical and unemotional language
Organized, well-researched
information, supported by facts,
figures, details, and examples
• Easy to read font and format
• OJT when respectful, nonthreatening,
and risk free
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VETERANS – HOW THEY LEAD
• Command
and control
• Take charge
• Delegate
• Make
decisions
personally
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BABY BOOMERS IN THE
WORKPLACE
• Work ethic and values:
Workaholics, work
efficiently, crusading
causes, personal
fulfillment, desire quality,
question authority
• Work is: an exciting
adventure
• Interactive style: team
player, loves to have
meetings
• Communications: in
person
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BABY BOOMERS – HOW THEY
PERFORM
• Service oriented, driven, willing to go the
extra mile, good at relationship, want to
please, good team players
• Have a strong need to prove themselves to
others
• Not naturally “budget minded”
• Overly sensitive to feedback
• Can become political animals if turf
threatened
• Work long hours
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BABY BOOMERS – WHAT
MOTIVATES THEM
• Try the personal approach.
• Give lots of public recognition.
• Give them a chance to prove themselves and
their worth.
• Reward their work ethic and long hours.
• Motivating messages:
–
–
–
–
You’re important to our success.
You are valued here.
Your contribution is unique and important.
You are needed.
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BABY BOOMERS – HOW THEY
LEARN
• Respond well to variety of formats (books,
videos, self-help guides, audiotapes)
• Preference for team-building exercises
• In classroom, more casual atmosphere
and more participative, interactive format
• Training materials scannable with plenty of
information, well-organized
• Dislike role-playing
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BABY BOOMERS – HOW THEY
LEAD
• Prefer collegial,
consensual style
• Passionate and
concerned about
participation and spirit
at work
• Want to create a fair
and level playing field
• Difficulty in practicing
participative
management style
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GEN X IN THE WORKPLACE
• Work ethic and values:
Eliminate the task, selfreliance, want structure
and direction, skeptical
• Work is: a difficult
challenge, a contract
• Interactive style:
entrepreneur
• Communications:
direct, immediate
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GENERATION X – HOW THEY
PERFORM
• Strive for balance, freedom, and flexibility
• Strong dislike for corporate politics, fancy titles,
or rigid structures
• Expect to have fun at work
• Prefer independence and minimal supervision
• Good at multitasking
• Technoliterate, adaptable, and creative
• May lack people skills
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GENERATION X – WHAT
MOTIVATES THEM
• Give them lots of projects, allowing them to prioritize
them
• Give lots of constructive feedback
• Give them time to pursue other interests and have
fun at work
• Give them the best technology you can afford
• Motivating messages:
–
–
–
–
Do it your way.
We’ve got the newest hardware and software.
Forget the rules.
We’re not very corporate.
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GENERATION X – HOW THEY
LEARN
• Very comfortable learning from a computer
(CD-ROM, interactive video, distance
learning, internet courses)
• Standard classroom training with role
playing
• Prefer most interactive and participative of
materials
• Training materials – brief and scannable
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GENERATION X – HOW THEY
LEAD
• Lead because they are good at it, not
because of status or perks
• Tend to be fair, competent, straightforward
leaders
• Want to create “campus culture” with
informal, creative environment
• Can be brutally honest
• Not interested in “political stuff”
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MILLENNIALS IN THE
WORKPLACE
• Work ethic and values:
What’s next,
multitasking, tenacity,
entrepreneurial,
tolerant, goal oriented
• Work is: a means to an
end, fulfillment
• Interactive style:
participative
• Communications:
email/text, voice mail (in
person when important)
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MILLENNIALS – HOW THEY
PERFORM
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Optimistic and resilient
Hard work and goal setting
Belief in collective action
Respectful of authority but unafraid to approach
boss
Technologically savvy
Exceptional at multitasking
Need for supervision and structure
Difficulty handling problem customers
Drawn to organizations with career ladders and
standardized pay/benefits
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MILLENNIALS – HOW TO
MOTIVATE THEM
• Use coaches or mentors instead of
traditional supervisors
• OJT with supervised autonomy
• Motivating messages:
– You’ll be working with other bright, creative
people.
– You and your coworkers can help turn this
company around.
– You can be a hero here.
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MILLENNIALS – HOW THEY
LEARN
• Highly interactive
learning
• Team exercises
• Need coaches / mentors
rather than traditional supervisors
• OJT w/supervised autonomy
• Role playing for younger members
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MILLENIALS – HOW THEY LEAD
• Build relationships
• Know strengths and
weaknesses of team
members
• Help members to
succeed
• Share ownership
• Lead by example
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RESOURCE MATERIAL
• Generations At Work: Managing the Clash
of Veterans, Boomers, Xers, and Nexters
in Your Workplace by Zemke, Raines, &
Filipczak
• Managing Generation X and Work This
Way by Tulgan
• Employing Generation Why? by Chester
• Mixing and Managing Four Generations of
Employees by Hammill
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QUESTIONS?
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Managing Generations in the Workplace