How to Manage a Multi-Generational Workforce

In the past, we’ve discussed the different outlooks of each generation; how they like to give, their values, their buying habits. But, what happens when you put them all in one place? How do you manage an office where you have employees from Baby Boomers to Generation Z all working together? Each group has given criticism of the other over the years. How can you get them to work as a team and create a cohesive work environment in which Multi Generations in the Officeindividuals of all generations and outlooks have the chance to succeed? Let’s take a look at what makes each of these generational cohorts tick as well as how to manage and motivate these groups in the office.

First let’s breakdown the main characteristics, values, and attributes of each cohort. Keep in mind these are generalizations of each group and can vary from person to person.

Baby Boomers

  • Born between the years of 1946 and 1964.
  • In 2015, Baby Boomers numbered around 74.9 million in the U.S. and at that time made up 33% of the workforce.
  • They are work-centric, competitive, and goal-oriented in the workplace; and are motivated by positions and prestige. Many are in supervisory roles.

Generation X

  • Born between the years of 1961-1981.
  • This cohort has a population of about 46 million in the U.S. Because of their relatively small size compared to that of the Baby Boomers and Millennials they often get ignored by marketers.
  • In the workplace they are looking for a work-life balance, are tech-savvy, and independent in their work.

Millennials

  • Born between 1980-2000.
  • As of 2012, Millennials numbered around 80 million in the U.S. They now edge out Baby Boomers in size and are the largest generation in Western history as well as the most educated.
  • They are entrepreneurial in nature and value collaboration, diversity, and wellness in the workplace.

Generation Z

  • Born around 1995-2010.
  • Are around 74 million in number in the U.S. This number may continue to grow depending on immigration.
  • The oldest of this cohort are around 21 and just entering the workforce. They are entrepreneurial and practical.

Looking at these generational groups there are many different values and characteristics across them. Each has different aspects about work that drives them and what they value in a job. Managing a workforce which includes members of most if not all of these groups may seem impossible, but it is not. Here are several things to keep in mind when managing a diverse group:

Create a communication standard: Each generation has its own preference when it comes to communicating and these differing opinions can cause friction between the groups. For example, Baby Boomers are more formal in their communication, Millennials and Generation Z are fine with a text message. Setting a standard for how certain information should be communicated within the office can take personal and generational preference out of the equation and help avoid any confusion and tension.

Get them talking: Bring together a diverse group of individuals from each cohort; have them get to know each other and keep it casual. Let them talk about their differences, what they care about, and how they can better workplace relationships between the generations. In this group, you can create a new hybrid group, a “cocktail cohort” which can help foster understanding throughout the office.

Consider the individual: Though we are talking about characteristics of different age groups, this does not mean you should blindly assume that depending on which generation they fall in that they embody all or any of the attributes of said group (this Millennial hates that). Get to know your employees’ interests and be flexible and open; adjust management styles when needed. All employees want to feel they are needed and the work they do matters.

As the office demographic ebbs and flows with the retiring of Baby Boomers and additions from Generation Z, management styles will be in flux. It is important to also keep the outlook of your organization in mind when managing all employees. A multi-generational office should not be looked at negatively; use the diversity it allows to your advantage.

The Perfect Fit: Finding the Right Candidate for the Job

The hiring process can be nerve racking from both ends of the spectrum. Applicants are working to tailor their resumes and cover letters for the “perfect job,” and those in charge of hiring are searching through stack upon stacks of applications hoping to find a diamond in the rough. When tasked with finding the “right applicant,” one can feel like he is Prince Charming in Cinderella (and we’re NOT talking about the Disney version); searching for the perfect fit and hoping for a happy ending. Though we might not all have fairy godmothers, following these suggestions can make the process easier, and help you select a charming new hire.cinderella candidate, the perfect fit

Be Up Front: When crafting a job posting make sure to bring the culture of your organization, specifically the environment of the position into your description. This however does not mean writing a book about your company. Giving a succinct but informative view of the job will help attract the right applicant.

Don’t stop with just the job posting; in all communications with potential hires, make sure they are aware of the full expectations of the job and what it is like to work in your organizational culture. This way they are not blindsided by a culture they may not fit into. You don’t want to push a wallflower into a loud boisterous culture and hope they come out of their shell.

Thin the Herd: When going through applications and weeding out potential candidates find one key thing, be it positive or negative, that will quickly help you decrease the number of resumes you need to comb through.

For example, I once had a manager that would automatically discard an application if the applicant asked for something to write with. They explained their logic stating “If you can’t be bothered to bring a pen to fill out your application, how can I expect you to be bothered to bring what you need to work”.

Check Social Media: Social media says a lot about potential new hires. This is who they are when they think no one is watching…even though they really are. If what you see there doesn’t match who you see on paper or in interviews, or doesn’t match your culture, move on.

Ask the Right Questions: When interviewing your most promising candidates make sure you aren’t leading them to give certain answers. Some people are pro’s at interviews, make sure you dig deeper.

help wantedHire from Within: Are you in the position to promote someone within your organization? Did you have a great intern in the past who is ready to enter the work force? These are always great options. These candidates already know the culture of your organization, know the systems, and know what is expected of them, making for an easier transition. Positives for you as a hiring manager or HR professional is that you already know what their personality is and how to motive them.

Someday your “perfect fit” will come, though you may just need to do some extra work to find him or her. The effort you put in to finding the right candidate will likely translate to the work that candidate will produce for you. So try and put to action some of the above before the carriage turns back into a pumpkin.

What Employees Want: Ways to Keep Your Workforce Engaged and Motivated

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Adulting is hard…How many times has the alarm gone off, and all you wanted to do was roll over and go back to sleep? Pretty much every morning, right? Somehow though we all get up, get ready, and go to work. Besides the obvious; what is it that keeps us all heading in day in and day out? How can employers learn what employees want and how to keep their workforce happy and motivated, and not dreading the next wake up?

One of the major issues facing employers today is how to keep and retain their employees, as well as keeping them motivated and fulfilled. With millennials embarking on their career journey, and with many baby boomers delaying retirement, employers must find ways to entice a multi-generational workplace.

What Do Millennials Want?

Let’s first take a look at the newest members of the workforce; the millennials. As this group (myself included) spreads their wings in the workplace, it is common for them to hop from job to job post-grad. Businessnewsdaily.com explains further:

“Research suggests that today’s college graduates will have a dozen or more jobs by the time they hit their 30s. In an uncertain job environment, it has become societally and culturally okay that they explore. The expectations have changed. Your 20s are used as the time where you actually figure out what you want to do, so the constant job hopping to explore multiple industries is expected.”

Their older, Gen.Y counterparts are out to change the world; but millennials have a different way of doing the changing. They want to feel like they are part of the big picture and are making a difference; if they don’t mesh with the big picture of their employer or feel things are stagnant, millennials will likely move on.

What Makes Baby Boomers Stay?

As millennials enter their careers, baby boomers are continuing at the helms of many businesses; and are extending their time in the work force before retirement. A recent study by AARP finds that 41% of baby boomers have no plans to leave their posts in the near future. There are two major factors that are keeping this group working; the economy and their health. Due to the recession and slow economic growth in the past few years, this generation is staying employed longer to make up for their losses. Though they may have lost in the stock market in the past, for the most part, this group is still healthy and still has much to contribute.

How Do You Make Them All Happy?

The quick and dirty answer is…you don’t. Each person, regardless of their education or generational background, has different needs and wants, and like how mom always says,“you can’t please ’em all.” But, there are several things an employer can do to help improve employee moral, drive, and retention rates.

Recognition

Everyone likes to know that they are doing a good job. That pat on the back lets you know the the work you do is appreciated and can go a long way. For me, this is probably what motivates me most; I aim to please, and want to continue to impress. Letting employees know that they are valued can help increase motivation and decrease the desire to look elsewhere for validation and fulfillment; especially where millennials are concerned. Here are some ideas employers can use to recognize and encourage their workforce:

  • Tell Them! – Sometimes it’s as easy as that, a few words about the good work they did on a project or the passion they show for their work can do wonders.
  • Special TreatsHas an employee been working diligently to complete a big proposal? Recognize their diligence with a special treat like a gift card to their favorite lunch spot, or if your company can swing it, maybe tickets to a special event coming to town.
  • Additional ResponsibilitiesThis may sound counterintuitive, but if you recognize an employee has the skill and drive it takes to complete a certain task, give it to them. Trusting them to leave their “comfort zone,” take on a new challenge, and recognizing their ability to learn and advance can really motivate employees who express the want to grow.

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Interesting Work

I’ve worked a lot of menial repetitive jobs in my day, (in my defense these were high school/college era jobs) and can tell you there is nothing that makes me dread working more, and want to look for an alternative to the monotony, than work that doesn’t interest me. Believe me I know that these “boring” jobs are necessary; but sometimes you need to break up these “uninteresting” tasks and do something more challenging or different. There are many ways to prevent boredom and burn out; here are a few suggestions:

  • Unrelated Work – Is your company big on giving back? Pull one of your employees and have them organize a company fundraiser. Give interested employees the ability to work on a project outside of their daily tasks. It will give them a break from the funk they may be in.
  • Outside Learning – Employees do have interests outside the work they do daily; try sponsoring an “activity night” and get your employees using their brain cells as they work on non-work related projects.

 Keep Them in the Loop

Millennials want to feel like they are part of the bigger picture. Baby boomers need to be reassured that they aren’t being pushed to the wayside as the younger crowd moves in. Keeping employees “in the know” and active in company culture can help avoid employees feeling alienated and detached. Involving employees in activities would be a good way to reinforce company culture and keep them in the loop; these ideas would be a great place to start:

  • Company Activities – Like suggested above, organize an activity in which all employees are invited to take part in; maybe a 5k run/walk. Or, again, if your company can accommodate it, plan an outing and get the team together outside of work.
  • Newsletter/blog – Keep employees updated with key happening in the company by creating an internal newsletter or blog; make it ever more inclusive by letting the employees submit their own content.

Just another Friday at ABG

Well isn’t today just a rainy day in Pittsburgh? Despite this weather today, we’ve had a beautiful and sunny week! It’s also been a week full of excitement for us here at ABG Capital.

The first piece of exciting news we have to share with you is that we have another new employee to welcome to the ABG Capital family! Her name is Jenn and she is Inspira’s newest Customer Service Representative. If you missed the post we wrote about her this week, click here and get to know her better.

This week Jeff Tapolci, CEO of ABG Capital and Jason Tapolci, President of VoIP Innovations took Tyler Weimerskirch and Natalie Decario to lunch at the Rivers Club. They do this for every new hire at ABG Capital because it’s a great way to get

Natalie and Tyler from ABG Capital

to know the new employees on a more personal basis. Here’s a picture of Tyler and Natalie before they left!

We also need to address our lunch from today. All employees at ABG Capital are assigned to a lunch committee. Once a month a different committee has to prepare a lunch for the entire office. For April, we had Dan Ravenstahl, Mark Fleckenstein, Justin Cornish, and Tyler Weimerskirch. These guys did a great job ordering Chinese for everyone. We had a great variety of food and it was all delicious. Thanks for arranging that today guys! Chinese at ABG

The last newsworthy piece of info we want to share with you today is about the geese we have in the front of our office. These geese have a long standing history with ABG Capital and we feel it’s important that we share it with you. These geese have been in this complex just about as long as we have and they have surely made it their home. Look for a blog post next week that talks more about these geese and their history with us.

As always, thanks for reading and have a great weekend 🙂

Another New Employee for Inspira!

Jenn WIlliam, InspiraWe’d like to give a warm welcome to our newest employee Jennifer Williams! Jenn is joining us from Equifax in Moon Township where she worked as a Vendor Manager of appraisals. Jenn also has experience from working as an appraisal representative for Lenders Services. She is the newest addition to the Inspira team and will be taking on the role of a Customer Service Representative.  She will be working with Collin and Kathy who just joined the team not too long ago themselves.

Let’s get to know Jenn a little better! She is the mother of a 12 year old son who will be celebrating his 13th birthday on May 5th, Cinco de Mayo! Her son is a seventh grade honor student and athlete who loves baseball. Jenn is an outdoors enthusiast who loves to take bike rides and walks. She also enjoys being with friends and watching movies on a rainy day. When she’s not busy with these other activities, she’s scouring the Food Network channel for great baking tips. She says cupcakes are her specialty… Maybe we’ll get to try some one day!

As a new addition to the Inspira team, Jenn will be working in our temporary office space while the renovations continue to move along. Everyone, please offer Jenn a warm welcome to the ABG Capital family!