Peg Newman of Sanford Rose Associates – Salt Lake City Featured in a Recent Article on The Glass Hammer: “How Do You Lead a Multigenerational Workforce?”
Dallas, TX, 1/3/2014
By, Hadley Catalano
Women in leadership positions are now managing multiple generations of employees, sometimes with as much as a 50-year age gap. Generally speaking, the scenario isn’t entirely new: seasoned employees with years of experience have often worked alongside fresh, inexperienced hires. What is historic; however, is that in the last 10 years, the workplace has grown to include four generations of employees: Traditionalists (1922-1945), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1981), and Generation Y, also known as Millennials (1982-2000).
This historic moment can be attributed to an aging labor force. Once, the golden age of retirement was between the ages of 60 and 65. Today, people are working well into their 70’s. Why? Sometimes the answer is as simple as “because they can,” though the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that more often than not it’s a matter of requiring more than a fixed income in an unsteady economy, one rife with slashed retirement packages and to guarantee postretirement income.
This growing trend of multigenerational workplaces has been well documented by the BLS, as employees stay on well past retirement age and Gen Y workers set to outnumber Boomers and Gen X workers by 2015. But what does it mean for women who must lead multigenerational teams?
Talking ‘Bout My Generation
For directors, the expansion of their work teams has presented complex administrative challenges. According to a recent survey conducted by EY, a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction, and advisory services, three-quarters of the 1,215 cross-company professionals surveyed agreed that managing multigenerational teams is complicated. What makes it easier, however, is understanding the differences among your multi-generational employees.
Experienced executives, Jennifer Mackin, President and CEO of The Oliver Group, a leadership consulting firm, and Peg Newman, Managing Partner of Sanford Rose Associates, have observed generational characteristics and motivators.
In addition to building work place camaraderie, managers need to motivate their employees by utilizing their occupational strong points – like the tech confidence of a Gen Yer or the expert knowledge of a Boomer. Newman explained that there is much generational cross over between strengths, but it is important to find out each worker’s skill and talents. Doing so not only values and respects the worker as an individual, but also creates an overall more productive workplace.
“The one-size-fits-all approach – the fairness equation – just hasn’t been successful,” Newman said, explaining the same scenario holds true for finding out each employees ideal work environment, work style, and leadership needs. “Each person has a need to have their individual goals and work habits accommodated as much as is reasonable.”