Adapted from the book: The Talent Advantage by Dr. Alan Weiss and Dr. Nancy MacKay, published by Wiley.
There are three main generations in the workplace with different attitudes and behaviours:
- Boomers – (1946-1964; 45+ years old)
- Generation X – (1965-1978: 32-44 years old)
- Generation Y – (1979-1994: 16-31 years old)
CEOs and executives need to recognize the shifting values and preferences of all generations in the workplace in order to: (1) avoid generation clashes and (2) attract, retain and develop top talent.
HBR research results: (July 2009 HBR, How Gen Y & Boomers Will Reshape Your Agenda)
Boomers and Generation Y are the two biggest cohorts. They are each twice the size of Generation X.
- Boomer trends: delaying retirement; want to volunteer; value flexibility; have elder care responsibilities; share common attitudes with Generation Y
- Generation X: will be taking over from boomers; not in step with generation Y; careers are stuck; value parenting and life balance
- Generation Y trends: ambitious; multicultural ease; environmentally conscious; value a network of friends at work; talk to their parents daily; share common attitudes with Boomers
The following ten strategies will help you avoid generation clashes and enhance your ability to attract, retain and develop top talent.
- Minimize ego-talk and build awareness to avoid generation clashes.
- Listen and learn from your top talent to understand attitudes, preferences and behaviours.
- Let go of the past. Develop tailored approaches to meet the needs of your workforce.
- Develop a strategy to attract, retain and develop the 10% of your workforce that adds the most strategic value (Strategy Maps by Kaplan and Norton).
- Develop a strategy to attract, retain and develop top talent on your succession plan to accelerate strategy execution.
- Assess your talent pool and people strategies relative to your competition.
- Develop new approaches to retirement and career transitions.
- Offer flexibility -hold people accountable for results versus putting in time.
- Support opportunities to give back.
- Build progressive work environments.