By Gary K. Pino, FMP, SFP My esteemed colleague, Donna Metallic, RID, has just written an awesome blog article entitled, “2016: The Workforce Tide has shifted”, which focuses on the emergence and influence of the “millennial generation”. Seeing that my wife, Cindy, and I have raised five (5) millennials, born between 1984 and 1994, I consider myself to be a resident expert on this topic … in my humble and unbiased opinion, of course. While reading Donna’s blog (posted 1.13.16 at 4:07 PM), she shared a lot of great information about the millennial generation, what advantages they have experienced over other generations and what they have to offer us now and in the future. There were two (2) paragraphs, outlined directly below, that really stood out to me and helped me research and provide my blog for this month “This new (millennial workforce) shift will influence every aspect of our work environments; let’s embrace this change and let them teach us a few things! Thus far we have seen these emerging trends: strong sense of community, work spaces that engage employees in personal ways; feeling more like home, autonomy to control when and where to work and how the work space can foster healthier habits and finally what every person wants no matter their generation: Enjoy work and be treated with respect as a valued member of a team.” With that information available to me, I just happened to receive my latest AARP Bulletin for January-February 2016 (Vol. 57 No.1), which provided yet another outstanding related article on “thriving in an intergenerational workplace.” The AARP article, entitled “Work Well With Young People”, by Robert L. Dilenschneider, provides us with wonderful tips on dealing with, communicating with and/or working with young professionals “25 or 30 years younger than you.” For specific details on Mr. Dilenschneider’s article, please direct your attention here. For a ‘CliffNotes’ version of that article, search no further, as I will provide you with a 59 year’s old / Boomer’s assessment …
- Listen to the young professional with an open mind, ask questions and don’t lecture – you’ll be amazed at what you will learn from them … (thanks “Commander”, “LeeB” and “Yv”)
- Whatever you, don’t patronize – offer support and encouragement. Compliment and provide recognition when truly deserved.
- Don’t pretend you fit in, as a Boomer is not a Millennial – “think of yourself as a tourist in the country of the young.” Again, you will learn how different their perspective is from yours.
- Keep up with Pop culture – be or become familiar with the popular Millennial trends and embrace “their” social networking / social media of choice (i.e., texting, Twitter, Instagram and snapshot).
- Share your Expertise – “Know when to hold and when to fold” … “In your field, you have an idea of what HAS worked and what HASN’T. Young professional may not be as attuned into the fact that traumatic events can throw things into chaos, but that chaos subsides and order returns. Explain what you know about how the workplace works.” Again, don’t lecture but share your perspective in a positive, spirited and collaborative way.
- Accept the Changing of the Guard – This is a crystal clear example of the pro-active initiation of Succession Planning … something that we are very proud of and executing here at IDO Incorporated. Helping young deserving professionals to grow, develop and succeed will only build future leaders and ultimately help to perpetuate your Firm to continue its competitive edge / dominance in your industry.
On the other side of the coin, young professionals need to know that “Boomer – Workers” have a lot to offer them.
- Boomers can see the big picture having experienced many different business swings.
- Boomers have people skills that boost morale … a simple “good morning” and recognizing a person for a job well done go a very long way.
- Boomers have learned how to work independently and without supervision, thus allowing young professionals to handle their challenges.
- Boomers can make Millennials look good because of their experience and expertise. When young professional “tap” that expertise, young professionals can then excel at their job.
- Boomers expect Leaders to lead, so it would behoove a young professional to demonstrate managerial confidence.