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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Managing Multiple Generations

Interesting article here from Harvard Business School's Working Knowledge on "Can You Manage Different Generations?"

Their premise? Managing multigenerational workforces is an art in itself.

  • Young workers want to make a quick impact. Younger workers (under 35) feel much less loyalty to institutions than do older workers. They also want responsibility and expect to have input right away, whereas older workers expect people to earn their way up. Younger workers aren't afraid to make decisions, and if you can create a strong social fabric at work, you can leverage their network-centric attitudes.
  • The middle generation needs to believe in the mission. This middle (between 35 and 54) cohort tends to be antiauthoritarian and idealistic. They are ambitious, flexible, productive, self-sufficient, and people-oriented. On the other hand, they distrust leadership, are juggling busy lives, and demand merit-based systems and participative management. Make their work fulfilling to them, and they will move mountains; if they fail to believe in the mission, they will disengage—as 71% of this age group have done, and become unproductive
  • Older employees don't like ambivalence. Workers (who are 55 and over) bring an entirely different perspective, according to Concours research. They trust authority, respect rules, and are loyal to institutions. They expect people to "pay their dues" before being given authority. They place great value on financial security and may be uncomfortable with the ambiguity that is common in contemporary business. They also tend to have stronger social skills than their younger counterparts.

Your move.

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