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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Managing a Multi-Generational Workforce

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) offers a good post on Managing a Multi-Generational Workforce.

Key findings:

  • The workplace has always consisted of many generations working at one time.
  • A new twist: The older generation is working past retirement age (23 percent of Americans age 65 to 74 are still in the workforce)
  • This has led to many workplaces with a generation gap of more than 40 years between the oldest and youngest workers.
So how does a manager go about understanding the needs and priorities of each generation—from the younger Generations Y (age 27 and younger), Generation X (ages 27-35) to middle-aged Baby Boomers (age 35-60), to the older Silent Generation (60+)?

Here are NFIB's three tips on managing your age-diverse workforce:

  1. Work with the communication styles of each generation.
  2. Find out what motivates each generation.
  3. Bridge the generation gap.
BOTTOMLINE: While these three tips go a long way to working with multi-generations, a baseline of daily activity planning for ALL groups is required. Individual planning of activities, done on a quarterly basis with status updates conducted weekly ensure that all planned activities that support the organizations goals are aligned across the organization - REGARDLESS of assumptions about communcation styles, personal interests, and motivations. Only then will you be able to assess progress toward goals, and be able to make corrections before it's too late. Individual planning reduces surprises, and reduces risk - helping to make your business environment less volatile - during times of uncertainty.

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