One thing I believe all generations are aiming for is a reputation of professionalism. It’s a hot issue in some workplaces. In a recent program I led for the new Gen XtraordinarY group of the HR/NY chapter of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), I presented some highlights from Practice Development Counsel’s recent ‘Professionalism through Generational Lenses Survey.” There were some surprises or ironies, but in general we collected a lot of data that reinforced the issues and challenges we hear about.
Responses segmented by generation revealed some interesting and notable findings I’d like to share here, each followed by my editorial comments. (Note: the number of Traditionalist generation responses was much smaller than the other generations, so we will not focus on them here except in general comments,)
Interestingly and overwhelmingly, survey respondents observed some similar unprofessional behavior across the generations. This is not to say that they believed most people behaved unprofessionally, but rather that such behavior is not primarily demonstrated by any one generation.
INTER-GENERATIONAL PROFESSIONALISM ISSUES RESPONDENTS OR THEIR ORGANIZATIONS ARE MOST INTERESTED IN SOLVING
We have much more in the detailed responses and report, but this article should give you fodder for discussion and planning for talent management of multi-generational teams and workplaces.
If you are interested in the summary report of the survey results with graphs, I’ll be happy to send it to you. Request it at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can also present the findings and implications to your organization.
© Phyllis Weiss Haserot, 2011.
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* The generational chronology for easy reference: Generations are defined by the similar formative influences – social, cultural, political, economic – that existed as the individuals of particular birth cohorts were in adolescent-early adult years. Given that premise, the age breakdowns for each of the four generations currently in the workplace are approximately:
Traditionalists: born 1925-1942
Baby Boomers born 1943-1962
Generation X born 1963-1978
Generation Y/Millennials born 1979-1998
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