Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Resources for Learning More About Multi Generations In the American Workplace

The generational diversity of the workplace reflects the aging of America and the choice or necessity for workers to remain active. Longley (2001) reports an increase in median age from 32.9 years in 1990 to 35.3 in 2000 which show a four percent decrease in the number of persons between 18 to 34 years old combined with a 28 percent increase in the population between 35 to 64 years of age.(1) This generational diversity coupled with a dynamic change in how businesses operate has created a challenge when workers with converging schools of thought on work ethic, employee/employer loyalty and work/life balance issues are brought to bear. The following suggested reference material provides perspective for greater understanding of the employee groups represented by four active worker generations.

Useful Websites

The Alfred P Sloan Centers for Work and Family Research Network (http://wfnetwork.bc.edu/template.php?name=workfamily) – This network of sites is a superior resource for issues applicable to multiple generations, gender, and other issues of diversity in the work place. Information is relevant for employers, employees and researchers.

The American Association of Retired Persons (www.AARP.org) Comprehensive site geared toward the older worker but with relevant information for multiple generations.

American Society of Quality Team and Workplace Excellence (www.asq.org/teamwork/index.html) Excellent comprehensive site covering issues from multiple perspectives including employers, employees, providers.

The Alliance for Work/Life Progress (www.awlp.org) - Alliance for Work-Life Progress is dedicated to advancing work-life as a business strategy integrating work, family and community. An entity of WorldatWork, AWLP defines and recognizes innovation and best practices, facilitates dialogue among various sectors and promotes work-life thought leadership.

Undress4Success (www.undress4success.com) This site addresses issues concerning Telework and provides resources for individuals, companies and researchers.

Society for Human Resources Management (www.shrm.org) Professional site for human resource managers and consultants.

Corporate Voices for Working Families (www.cvworkingfamilies.org) Excellence site for relevant issues regarding flexibility in the workplace and managing the aging workforce.

Working Mama (www.workingmamagroup.com) – A specialized site for working mothers. “Working MAMA provides a platform for working women, as leaders in organizations and as mothers, to honor their career aspirations and achieve self-defined job success while experiencing satisfaction in their roles outside of work. “

Work Life Human Capital Solutions (www.workfamily.com) - A comprehensive site offering resources for employers wanting more flexible, effective and supportive work environments.

The Great Place to Work Institute (www.greatplacetowork.com) – Discusses what makes a work place a great place to work.

My Life’s Work Coaching (www.mylifesworkcoaching) An employer resource for consulting services in the area of work life balance.

Useful Books

Martin, Carolyn A., and Bruce Tulgan. “Managing the Generation Mix from Urgency to Opportunity. HRD Press. Amherst, MA. 2006. Print

The authors have conducted research for twenty years to examine the challenges developing in the workplace as older workers remain and younger members arrive with attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from beliefs held by older generations as traditional. Generations are described as Schwarzopfer’s, those born before 1946; Woodstockers, born between 1946 and 1953; Young Boomers, born between 1954 and 1964; Generation X, born between 1965 and 1977; and Generation Y, born between 1978 and 1989. They find the attitudes and behaviors of generations are shaped by coming of age events and changes in the American economy. The varying attitude and behaviors of the different generations often put the groups at odds. The authors’ suggestions provide a level of understanding be achieved so that unique talents can be leveraged from all the generations.

Lancaster, Lynne C., and David Stillman. “When Generations Collide Who They Are. Why They Clash. How to Solve the Generational Puzzle at Work.” HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. New York, NY. 2002. Print.

Provides a perspective through the use of examples of how each generation approaches various assignments. In this study the authors have defined the generations as Traditionalists, born 1900 to 1945; Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980; Millennials, born between 1981 and 1999. A series of poignant and humorous stories tie the strategies together for building more productive working relationships by acknowledging the differences between generational groups. The authors also recognize that many people are caught between two generational groups based on their birth year falling at the end or the beginning of a generational group. Also significant is those employees who manage to move seamlessly between each generational group and appear not be defined in their behavior by chronological age.

Gravett, Linda., and Robin Throckmorton, “Bridging the Generation Gap: How to Get Radio Babies, Boomers, Gen Xers and Gen Yers to Work Together and Achieve More”. The Career Press. Franklin Lakes, NJ. 2007. Print.

Discusses the challenges faced by business owners, project managers, and human resource professionals when problems arise in the areas of communication, employee team member conflict, and debates about ethics and loyalty when multiple generations are brought together in the workplace. Five generations are identified as participating in the workplace of today, Radio Babies (1930 -1945), Baby Boomers (1946 -1964), Generation X (1965 – 1976), Generation Y (1977 – 1991) and Millennials (1991 and later). Myths associated with each of the generations are discussed and case studies provide insightful perspectives on how the myths and misconceptions can be overcome. A series of exercises are presented to build understanding and trust among various work groups.

Espinoza, Chip., Mick Ukleja and Craig Rusch. “Managing the Millennials: Discover the Core Competencies for Managing Today’s Workforce”. John Wiley & Sons. Hoboken, NY. 2010. Print.

Espinoza, et al. claim three generations, (Builders; Baby Boomers, and Generation X) have worked according to established norms but the entry of Millennials into the workplace has caused many in these previous generations to question the motivation, work ethic, loyalty and commitment of the most recent employees to arrive in the workplace. Millennials born between 1978 and 1996 are the most socially and diversely tolerant generation ever, the most educated and technologically savvy and the most sheltered, structured and are often described with a sense of entitlement. However, with the 50% of the executives in America will be eligible for retirement in five years. The Line of succession is filled with other executives who are also Baby Boomers and they are eligible for retirement too. Described as the global aging phenomenon, the future of organizations depends on the ability to attract, retain, motivate, and develop Millennials so that the reigns can be turned over to perpetuate a new paradigm.

Strauss, William., Howe, Neil. The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy. Broadway Books, New York, NY. 1998. Print.

Excellent look at the change in generations and how history applies. The book needs to be updated to include more recent developments but this it is wonderful to read and many of the observations made by the authors have come to fruition.

Capelli, Peter, Novelli, Bill. Managing the Older Worker: How to Prepare tof the New Organizational Order. Harvard Business Review. 2010. Print.

Capelli and Novelli examine the growing dynamic of older workers reporting to younger supervisors and managers.

Greenberg, Eric., Weber, Karl. Generation We: How Millennial Youth Are Taking Over America and Changing Our World Forever. Pachatusan. Emeryville, CA 2008. Print.

This book is a call to action for the Millennial generation. Eric Greenberg and Karl Weber are both Millennial generation members and provide an insightful and valuable look into what Millennials think.

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