In order to create a well balanced blog and provide an alternate viewpoint we have inserted an article in its entirety written by Chris Ferdinandi on June 24, 2009 for the blog Renegade HR.
We believe that shared values within each of the generations shapes behaviour and impacts how the generations related to each other. Chris on the other hand is not so convinced. We’ll now turn it over to Chris to provide the alternate viewpoint.
Over the last few years, there’s been an explosion of information about how to manage a multi-generational workforce.
There have been countless articles, seminars and books on how to keep the Millennials engaged and how to help Baby Boomers and Gen X employees work with them more effectively. I think that’s all a big waste of time.
I don’t do thinks because I’m Generation Y
The big theory around multi-generational workforces is that shared experiences during a generation’s formative years creates a set of shared values that guide their behavior. Gen-Y is allegedly very influenced by 9/11, helicopter parents and exponential growth in technology.
I’ll admit that technology is something my generation is, generally speaking, very comfortable with. But I have friends who aren’t on Facebook, and I know plenty of Boomers who text and email far more than they pick up a phone.
There’s as much diversity within generations as there is between them
Given that level of diversity doesn’t it makes sense to stop focusing on differences between generations, and start looking at differences between individuals?
The Individual Workforce
The real goal of the multi-generational workforce movement is to help everyone in your organization work together effectively. Focusing on generations is divisive. It requires you to lump people into categories and teaches managers to treat everyone within that category the same. Doesn’t it make more sense to teach managers how to deal with individual work preferences?
I think organizations could manage a diverse workforce much more effectively if they took all of the “stuff” that gets taught during multi-generational seminars and ripped away the generational labels.
Teach managers why some people prefer to text or email instead of call. Teach them to have discussions with their employees about how they prefer to work, and to get out of the way and let their people do amazing things