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June 2019 Newsletter
In This Issue
  • Thanks for Joining Us!
  • Who Are The 5 Generations?
  • Generational Characteristics: A Snapshot
  • Reverse Mentoring
  • Video: Inside Employees' Minds: The Multi-Generational Workforce
  • Quick Reference: Can Multiple Generations Work Together?
  • Quick Reference: Key Qualities of a Mentor and Reverse Mentor
  • Coach's Corner: Benefits of Reverse Mentoring Programs
May 2019
Volume 6, Number 5

Thanks for Joining Us!

May is here and we hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Victoria Day long weekend. Even though the weather can be unpredictable at this time of year, everyone enjoys the opportunity for some quality family time. Similarly, recruiting and managing employees is often unpredictable – especially when a variety of generations come together. Understanding the characteristics and expectations of each is critical in the smooth management and leadership of a multi-generational organization. This month we offer some insights and tips to help.

Keep reading for more learning!

Who AreThe 5 Generations?

Everything about work is changing, and how we managed in the 20th Century just isn’t applicable to the 21st Century. One of these factors is that Generation Z entered the workforce in 2017 and when that happened it became the first time in history that there were 5 generations in the Workplace working side-by-side.

The five generations are defined as:

Traditionalists or the Silent Generation– born before 1945 
Baby Boomers – born 1946 to 1964
Generation X – born 1965 to 1980
Generation Y or Millennials – born 1981 to 1995
Generation Z – born 1996 to 2012

So how did we get to five generations working together? Many trends have led to this multi-generational workforce being created, including: 
  • Longer life spans – The World Population Ageing Report reveals that “virtually every country in the world is experiencing growth in the number and proportion of older persons in their population.”
  • Traditionalists and Baby Boomers are not retiring in the same way that previous generations did, for myriad reasons – consider that Prince Philip retired from public duties in 2017 at the age of 96.
  • Constant technological advances are resulting in new ways of working allowing for a wider range of generations to remain working.

Generational Characteristics: A Snapshot

Times have changed, and now you could find yourself working with as many as five generations. Broadly speaking, each one has its own set of preferences, styles, perspectives, and experiences.

This table shows the different age groups that are in the labor force today. It describes their traits and characteristics, and how they are frequently stereotyped. 

Source: www.mindtools.com
Reverse Mentoring
Reverse mentoring refers to an initiative in which older executives are paired with and mentored by younger employees on topics such as technology, social media and current trends. In the tech industry or other businesses that rely heavily on technology, reverse-mentoring is seen as a way to bring older employees up to speed in areas that are often second nature to 20-something employees, whose lives have been more deeply integrated with computers and the Web.

The idea that senior executives could stand to learn a thing or two from new employees goes against traditional workplace practices, where most more experienced workers often provide the most input, make decisions and provide mentorship to newer employees with less experience. However, the fast-moving developments in technology and trends has reversed this logic in some offices, where older workers may have experience and insight, but lack strong skills in newer technologies. 

Also, while some older executives are insulted by the notion of being mentored by a new employee, many see it as an opportunity for give and take, where new and experienced employees share their knowledge, boosting both groups' understanding and improving overall communication and collaboration in the workplace. 

Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, has been credited with helping to spread the popularity of reverse mentoring. Back in the '90s, he realized that GE management had much to learn about the Internet, so he mandated that top executives at the company (including himself) take on a reverse mentor. High-profile cases like this have helped to ease the stigma of reverse mentoring, even getting it to the point where some older employees are actually requesting it.

Source: www.technopedia.com
Photo credit: litmos.com
Coach's Corner: Benefits of Reverse Mentoring Programs

Here are a few of the benefits of implementing reverse mentoring:
  • It empowers newer employees and makes them feel trusted.
  • The young mentors can gain important leadership skills if they’re able to navigate the situation well.
  • It can allow experienced employees to stay up-to-date longer on newer technology without the need for more formal training. They can adapt to changing workplace technologies and trends like social media, phone messaging apps, crowd-sourcing, or other new software.
  • It can provide insights. This time can be used to train more experienced employees on what the younger generation values and needs from the employer.
  • Both sides can learn more about the viewpoint of the other person, who may be of a different generation.
  • The mentoring relationship can easily be customized to focus on the needs of the individual participants.
  • Both sides can gain self-confidence.
  • Mentoring relationships can foster better communication and collaboration in everyday interactions.
Inside Employees' Minds: The Multi-Generational Workforce

Quick Reference: Can Multiple Generations Work Together?

With multiple generations in the workforce today, tensions are inevitable but problems are avoidable. These generations think differently, vote differently, buy differently, and dress differently. Work ethic, respect, turnover, dress code, communication tools, or even fun at work can either create real problems for managers and organizations, or they can provide opportunities to bring the generations together.

Each group has its own distinct characteristics, values, and attitudes toward work, based on its generation’s life experiences. To successfully integrate these diverse generations into the workplace, companies need to embrace radical changes in recruitment, benefits, and create a corporate culture that actively demonstrates respect and inclusion for its multi-generational work force. 

Reenergize your compensation and benefits. Approach compensation, benefits, and incentives to satisfy the needs of each generation’s unique perspectives, attitudes, and values about work. 

Expand your communication strategies. Most companies rely too heavily on one strategy for corporate communication. By making the same message available in multiple formats (thus increasing the number of times you communicate a message), you’ll ensure that you reach all workers. 

Make mentoring a constant. As your more established and experienced workers head toward retirement, develop strategies to ensure knowledge transfer and capture organizational memory. Consider various mentoring models—one-on-one sessions, group programs, senior leadership discussion panels, and a “speed mentoring” program where employees sit across from company experts to ask questions. 

Engage all employees. There’s a place for everyone in the world of work. The optimism of Boomers can help all employees see the positives in the organization. The skepticism of Gen X will keep everyone honest. The enthusiasm and self-confidence of Millennials is infectious and inspiring if it’s channeled. And the tolerance of the Gen Zs leads the way for acceptance of all. Teams are made up of individuals with a shared goal; build your organization’s goals around a shared sense of work and responsibility, a sense of optimism, healthy skepticism, enthusiasm, and confidence in the organization’s mission.

Don't worry about "Diversity." With the advent of Generation Z, it will finally be time to do away with Diversity departments and initiatives. For these workers, Diversity is a given. If you have to focus on it, you don’t get it yet. And they won’t get you. Gen Z will expect that everyone has a voice regardless of opinion, socio-economic background, age, gender or race – something that we can all learn from.

Quick Reference: Key Qualities of a Mentor and Reverse Mentor

Effective mentors develop and utilise a number of key qualities such as:
* Showing compassion and authenticity
* Being honest but diplomatic in communication
* Being inquisitive
* Demonstrating objectivity and fairness
* Showing a willingness to communicate what you know
* Being prepared for conversations
* Being committed to the relationship
Helping your multi-generational workforce achieve success together takes experience and knowledge.

Contact Wendy Ellen Inc. for assistance today!
About Wendy Ellen Inc.
Wendy Ellen Inc. specializes in providing human resource and benefits management skills to small to mid-sized companies on an as-needed basis. From recruitment, Human Resource policy development and legislative compliance, employee retention and engagement, individual advisor/coaching, succession planning to employee development and performance, Wendy Ellen Inc. will help you protect your most valuable resource, your people.
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