Archive for intergen workforce

What generation are you?

Channel 10’s new quiz show – Talkin’ About My generation raises some inetresting questions about what is “My Generation”.

I’ve always been fascinated by in psychographic profiles, but many people tell me that they do not identify with the generation their birthday falls within.

In her Brazen Careerist blog, Penelope Trunk suggests that we should determine our generation not by our age but by how we use media.

Trunk says that media engagement is a good way to peg someone’s age because “the media we use reflects both the space we live in and the circle of friends we run with. For example, you probably won’t find the Wii at a senior center, and you do what your friends do or you’re out of the loop.”

So, here’s the test:

  • Do you have your own web page? (1 point)
  • Have you made a web page for someone else? (2 points)
  • Do you IM your friends? (1 point)
  • Do you text your friends? (2 points)
  • Do you watch videos on YouTube? (1 point)
  • Do you remix video files from the Internet? (2 points)
  • Have you paid for and downloaded music from the Internet? (1 point)
  • Do you know where to download free (illegal) music from the Internet? (2 points)
  • Do you blog for professional reasons? (1 point)
  • Do you blog as a way to keep an online diary? (2 points)
  • Have you visited MySpace at least five times? (1 point)
  • Do you communicate with friends on Facebook? (2 points)
  • Do you use email to communicate with your parents? (1 point)
  • Did you text to communicate with your parents? (2 points)
  • Do you take photos with your phone? (1 point)
  • Do you share your photos from your phone with your friends? (2 points)

0-1 point – Baby Boomer
2-6 points – Generation Jones
6- 12 points – Generation X
12 or over – Generation Y

So, what does that make you?

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Gen Y friendly workplaces

Following are some tips from ITworld for making the workplace more friendly to Generation Y:

  • Make retention a top priority: Focus on it. Talk about it. Never lose talent just because you neglected to pay attention to what’s important.
  • Give constant feedback: A poll by Robert Half International and Yahoo! HotJobs of more than 1,000 Gen Yers showed more than 60 per cent of them want to hear from their managers at least once a day. Employees expect freedom combined with frequent, honest feedback.
  • Relay praise: If you’ve heard someone praise one of your team members, let that person know of the praise. Add some of your own.
  • Bring joy back into the workplace: When people enjoy their work, when the climate is positive, when people laugh and smile often, resilience and productivity are higher.
  • Provide challenging and meaningful work: They do not want to be bored, and they want to know how their work fits into the company’s big picture.
  • Stay in tune to their need for life balance: They are sensitive to keeping work life, home life and community life in balance. They may stay up all night to finish a special project, but over the long term, they won’t sacrifice family and friends for the sake of their job.
  • Frequently connect with your team members: Encourage them. Show interest in their work. Challenge them. The climate will become more motivating for them and for you.

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Weathering an economic downturn

Results from a recent Talent2 survey suggests that Gen Ys are getting nervous.  The current economic uncertainties have got them thinking about potential employment insecurity – something they haven’t experienced in their working careers.

Y Genners in Australia are worried about their jobs and one-third believe employers will lay off staff. 

But Gen Y wasn’t the only category of workers concerned about their jobs – more than half of the 2,700 survey respondents expect downsizing within months.  And of course, if unemployment does rise, Gen Ys, Xs and Baby Boomers will all be vying for fewer positions.

So, what does this mean for the Gen-Ys that are yet to experience such a downturn? Put simply, it just means you need to work hard.

Smartcompany has a list of survival tips to ensure long term success in an economic downturn:

  • Head down, bum up – this is the time to knuckle down and contribute. Forget the demands for more Friday night drinks and staff discounts – just do your job to the best of your ability.
  • Teamwork – team players are vital, particularly in times when morale may be down, so keep up your spirit and think of the team, not yourself.
  • Communication – stay close to what is happening in your business, areas of opportunity and areas for improvement. If needs be, put your hand up for the difficult tasks. People want to see employees roll up the sleeves, not run and hide.
  • Lead – not in a style reminiscent of Mussolini, just lead by example.
  • Exceed expectations – deliver what you say you will and even a bit more. If that means you have to put in extra, then do it.

Of course, anyone serious about their career should already be doing these things.   And if you are, then your company will be looking at ways to retain such a valuable employee!

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Your boss is younger than you. So what?

With three generations of employees all working together, bridging the generation gap is something most of us deal with on a day-to-day basis.  But what happens when one of the younger employees becomes the boss of an older employee?

According to a study by US staffing company Randstad, one-fifth of employed adults in the States are older than their bosses. And that number keeps increasing as more and more older people stay in the workforce even after they hit retirement age.  But only about half of employees say they relate well to older workers. And more than three-quarters of employees say that younger workers don’t seek advice from their older, more experienced co-workers.

The Trump Blog (yes that’s right, Donald Trump has a blog) says that this is just bad business.  “Just like younger workers can bring fresh ideas and new techniques, older workers bring incredible insight and knowledge,” Trump says.

While it’s not uncommon to find tension in younger boss/older worker scenarios, there are several ways for both the boss and his or her employee to work well together.  Wikihow has a number of suggestions, such as:

  • For the employee: learn from your new boss. Treat your young boss like you would any other boss: with complete respect from the word go. Ask questions about new tactics or strategies and watch your boss to learn skills you don’t have.  And take stock of your own skills. Although your boss is younger, you have plenty to offer – experience, maturity and the knowledge of how things will often pan out.
  • For the new boss: learn from your employee. You have a great opportunity to learn from an experienced employee who has seen many different management styles and can provide great feedback and opinions to you.  Use the skills that your employees bring.  While you may know more about the latest and greatest technology, you may learn about networking or sales skills from your older employees.

Are you working for a younger boss, managing an older employee, or know someone who is? Let me know what you think.

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Why Gen Y are more productive

Here’s a great post on Brazen Careerist by blogger Clay Collins (author of the blog The Growing Life).

Generation Y is known for rolling into work late while wearing headphones, and dressing as if every day were casual Friday. We’re often seen TXTing in our cubicles, taking breaks, and instant messaging. While these images don’t exactly encourage others to view us as bastions of uber-productivity, we’re often a hell of a lot more productive than previous generations.

Here are seven reasons why my generation (Generation Y) is often more productive than yours:

Reason 1: We use the best tools
Generation Y is more than comfortable doing the experimentation necessary to find the right tools and technologies for most effectively completing a task. We understand the company’s project management software better than you do because we are comfortable playing with it. And we can probably recommend 2-3 other tools that would work better in the situation because we’re not afraid to rely on nearly-free, online productivity tools from unknown companies. Our to-do lists are carefully maintained, prioritized daily and synced with our PDAs and iPODs.

Reason 2. We’re good at automating
Generation Y has grown up with technology and we believe that computers can do just about anything (or that they will someday). So when we’re receive a task, the first question we ask ourselves is: “how can technology make this task go faster?” Sometimes our efforts to employ technology make things more complicated, but quite often we end up successfully automating a repetitive task, saving ourselves and our companies thousands of dollars.

Reason 3. We get better sleep
Previous generations have lived by Ben Franklin’s aphorism: “early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Generational Y intuitively knows what psychologists have confirmed: that a significant percentage of the population is much more productive when they go to bed late and get up late. Simply put, you’re more productive when you follow your biologically determined circadian rhythms and get up when your body tells you to.

Reason 4: We’re much more likely to love our jobs
Since Generation Y switches jobs much more frequently than previous generations, we’re much more likely to be doing things that (1) we’re good at, and (2) we actually like. All the job switching and repositioning we do means we’re much more likely to end up with professions that are actually suited to our passions and talents. And every productivity guru knows you’re most productive when you’re doing things you actually care about.

Reason 5: We stay up to date in our fields
Another upshot of changing jobs so frequently is the need to stay on top of the latest developments in our fields. Because job searching is a somewhat continual process for Generation Y, we’re likely to teach ourselves new skills, or pay for training, even if our employers don’t because we want to stay competitive. We see training and skill-building as our own responsibility – not something that our employer will necessarily do for us. And our lifestyle choices reflect a passion for constant learning and development .

Reason 6: We’re experimental
Generation Y is continually doing research and development at the individual level. And because Generation Y cares more about getting new experiences and learning new skills than about not making mistakes , we’re willing to try new things, be creative, and take new angles. While this experimental approach might not result in quantifiable productivity, it leads to the kind of shifts in thinking that save time and money over the long haul.

Reason 7: We don’t “go through the motions”
We’ve seen our washed up parents work shit jobs they hate, and we won’t go through the motions for the sake of job security. If you’re an old-school boss, then this won’t be comfortable. However, not going through the motions for the sake of going through the motions actually makes us more productive in the long run.

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What do Millenials want?

What do teens want? Tech, tech and moretech, according to the What Teens Want conference held in Manhattan last month.

Technology is starting to define what’s cool in a way that fashion used to define what’s cool, reports Melbourne’s The Age. For teens, as long as it’s technology, it’s what’s hot.

The article also points to an online survey which revealed that 93 per cent of teens prefer the internet to television.  New York high school senior Jonathan Molyneaux says: “You can watch TV shows on the internet, so what’s the point?”  He says he’s cut virtually all conventional TV viewing and has email forwarded to his mobile phone, which he dubs “my life”.

Ms Wells’ research also found 57 percent of teens prefer Facebook over MySpace, 71 per cent choose text messages over instant messaging and 65 per cent would rather use a Mac computer instead of a PC. That’s a sign of brand strength, since far fewer teens own a Mac.

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To be 65 or not to be?

David Knox, Worldwide Partner at Mercer, has published a paper exploring Australia’s position on the age pension.

As our population ages and a larger percentage of people sit in that over 65 age bracket, he asks whether a pension at 65 is still appropriate.

Knox outlines a number of adjustments to pensions around the world, including:

  • The US is gradually increasing its normal retirement age for Social Security from 65 to 66 between 2002 and 2009 and then increasing it again from 66 to 67 between 2020 and 2027; 
  • The UK announced in a 2006 White Paper discussing their new pensions system that they will gradually increase their State Pension age from 65 in 2024 to 68 in 2046; 
  • Germany is gradually increasing its pension age from 65 in 2012 to 66 in 2024 and then to 67 in 2029; 
  • Denmark is increasing the age threshold for the public old-age pension from 65 in 2024 to 67 in 2027. Furthermore from 2025, the eligibility age will be directly linked to changes in life expectancy at age 60; 
  • Japan is increasing its age for access to the earnings-related component of its pension from 60 to 65 by 2025 for males and by 2030 for females; 
  • Increases in pension age that affect both men and women are being implemented in the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Korea (OECD, 2007).

What’s my point?  I’m certainly not suggesting that people don’t deserve the aged pension.  What I’m suggesting is that we need to look at the fact that, as our population ages, we are going to lose a pool of high skilled, knowledgeable and experienced workers who will retire when they still have many good years in them.  Is 65 really still the right age to retire?

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