Many of us have an intuitive sense about what makes a "best place to work." Various surveys track what employees are looking for to join and stay, and those items shift in rank from generation to generation depending on existing social, political and economic circumstances.
It’s time to revisit how the generations collaborate at work. Collaboration has become the preferred work style, and a large percentage of workplaces are multi-generational.
Generational differences in attitudes inform and influence attitudes and behaviors toward all the other types of diversity and individuals’ worldviews. They are integral, “joined at the hip,” so to speak.
People have been talking about the desire to “bring their whole selves to work” for a few generations. Particularly Boomer women have felt they had to hide their family and otherwise personal side to succeed. Now men feel about as strongly, so in this regard gender is not a divergent issue.
“Older workers reporting to younger managers” is not a totally new phenomenon. But it is a growing and potentially problematic trend, as the large generation of Baby Boomers stays on in the workforce longer and the large generation of Gen Y or Millennials eager for promotion rises along with Gen Xers. They bring new management styles and often anxieties owing to lack of management experience and training.
An intriguing article meant for college level teachers about generations of traditional and non-traditional students in the classroom set me thinking about the content's applicability to other work situations. It contains descriptors we hear about less frequently in the generational context.
Earlier this month a time span of over a week was designated as a time of reflection, atonement and rededication in the Jewish calendar. Reflection is something I do a lot of. Coincidentally, on September 4th there was a small article in the Wall Street Journal reporting on studies indicating that reflecting on the positive at the end of each day significantly reduces stress for workers. Well, that’s another persuasive reason for regular reflection, isn’t it?
As professionals and executives become more senior, there is often a desire or expectation that they will want to devote themselves to "good works" as a legacy. The philanthropic and pro bono world is watching. But pro bono, volunteering, unpaid work is not for everyone. So I had an interesting thought…