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Zen And The Art Of Talent Management

Bells and whistles and corner offices aside, talent management is dedicated to one basic question, right? Who’s next? From tending the pipeline right through issues of succession, we are tasked with populating a world whose needs never end. May get stormy, may get depressed, but talent needs work and work needs talent.

Downturns lead to upturns, fortunately: the BLS reported that job opportunities increased to 5.4 million this April, with a substantial rise in openings concentrated in professional and business services. The number of hires and separations (quits, layoffs and discharges) stayed nearly the same as the month before: hires were at 5 million; turnover was 4.9 million.

Parse and massage stats like this all you want (e.g. STEM jobs; entry-level; fast-tracks, geography), but anyway you shuffle it, that’s a huge deck of talent to manage. Takes a steady head and, lately, a whole lot of tech.

Given the radical transformation of tools and data available and the new imperatives posed by a global and multigenerational workforce, we also know that HR is taking on a far greater role than just staffing up. With disruption has now come a profound change: Talent is now understood as a huge value issue: most business leaders see people as the key investment for long-term growth. So the next question isn’t a who. It’s a what.

What’s next?

With all those remarkable HR tech innovations we get to feel like kids in a candy store.  All these sweet tools to facilitate onboarding, drive and track employee engagement, conduct assessments, even improve workplace culture and allow for employee movement. And: analytics, metrics; reflective and predictive. A mega-bounty of software and choices; soaring well above the $15 billion mark as an industry.

But. Here’s the what’s next part. We’re still in that candy store, picking from disparate bins, just paying attention to the basics. HR research and advisory firm Bersin by Deloitte reported that a 86% of organizations in 2013 were still focused primarily on basic (reactive) reporting.

Now what we need is protein. As in: a singular centralized, capable platform that can run the whole family of functions, so instead of reacting we’re proacting; instead of managing we’re able to lead.

So how is this going to work and what does it look like? Two essential predictions:

  1. Micro And Macro

To handle the cloud requires smarter aggregating and maintenance of talent data. The first wave of cloud-based data brought a sudden, sheer volume that triggered a kind of panic of functional diversification. Now we have multiple systems for managing data, from individual performance to larger institutional and organizational trends. It’s micro monitoring and macro future casting. But it needs to all be unified into one agile, responsive, enormous (yes) function.

  1. Three Dimensional

The past, present and future play equally in smart analytics. Instead of one data stream for depicting past trajections, another tool for investigating the present and still another for predicting future needs, they all need to work in tandem. Managing talent supply now requires that we leverage a full spectrum of data: all three dimensions, but in real time — not in the aggregate.

Notice I haven’t mentioned social, but that’s because by now, it’s a given; the way we use it is going to have an incredible impact on organizational success in the future. But I will say that it’s the changing culture of talent management that is leading us into a singular, open approach to how we answer that perennial question. Faced with a marvelous toolbox, we now need that the one single tool that can do it all.

A version of this was first posted on Forbes.

What Do Interns Really Want? [Infographic]

Developing an extraordinary internship program can be a long and winding journey. You’ll face plenty of bumps in the road, and perhaps lots of trial and error. And as we’ve seen in the news recently, you may even discover some controversy.

But overall, internships can be very beneficial for organizations — not just because enthusiastic young workers are contributing to your business goals. Internship programs can also open the door to a more diverse workforce, help add fresh perspectives to your brand, attract other young talent to your organization, and more.

Of course, employers aren’t the only ones who benefit. Although the state of the internship has shifted over time, its overarching goal remains the same — students and recent grads should gain something educational from their work experience. So, what do today’s interns really want to accomplish, and what else should employers know about them?

The following infographic, based on student employment data from InternMatch, offers insights to help employers map out a more effective internship program. Here are some highlights:

•  38% of interns want better pay
•  30% want opportunities to perform meaningful work
•  47% are interested in access to executives and mentorship
•  California, New York, and Florida are three of the top states for finding college talent

Do any of these statistics surprise you? Check out the full infographic below, and share your thoughts in the comments area.

What are your thoughts? Have you experienced these trends — as an intern or as an employer?

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Generation X at Bat #TChat Recap

Do you ever wish you could instantly capture expert advice or opinions from across the World of Work?

Here’s an easy solution: Just ask a quick question on Twitter about generational differences in today’s workplace. Even better, ask that question during a #TChat event. I guarantee that, within moments, you’ll be drinking from a fire hose of thoughtful, passionate, articulate responses!

That’s exactly what we experienced on the #TChat stream last night with special guest, Mark Babbitt. As founder + CEO of YouTern, an organization that helps young professionals grow through high-impact information, mentorships and internships, Mark has developed strong opinions about the silent strength that Generation X brings to the workforce.

Do You Mind If I Talk About Your Age?

We were curious if the TalentCulture community agrees with Mark’s perspective. And we wondered how important generational similarities and differences are in shaping tomorrow’s organizations.

The conversation exposed what at first blush, might seem like opposing viewpoints. For example, on one hand, many participants emphasized the benefits of celebrating diversity:

“It’s not one-size-fits-all.” …and… “Let’s value the differences.” …and as Tom Bolt suggested…

Meanwhile, other participants emphasized the importance of focusing on similarities:

“Empower people; stop focusing on generations.” …and… “There are inspired, innovative, connected people in every generation.” …and as Kelly Blokdijk noted…

Of course, upon reflection, these perspectives are really two sides of the same coin. Both hold truths that can propel organizations forward.

But key questions remain — HOW BEST can we bring together both ends of this spectrum to create more effective organizational cultures? And how prepared is our next wave of leaders to accomplish that mission? Whenever human behavior is involved, there are many roads to the same destination. Some paths have many more detours and roadblocks. Organizations need smart navigators. Meanwhile, the business world continues to grow more complex and challenging. That’s why we’ll need extraordinary leaders in the future — regardless of their generation.

What’s Age Got To Do With It?

In the meantime, we look to one another for guidance. It’s actually phenomenal how much information has been created and shared about generations in the workplace. And yet organizations still struggle with how to “make it work.”

Just for fun, consider this quick, unscientific peek at the magnitude of commentary available online:

GOOGLE SEARCH RESULTS:
“Millennials” work = 39,000,000
“Boomers” work = 37,000,000
“Generation X” work = 3,260,000

You’d think there are enough nuggets of wisdom in there to help us understand and resolve these issues. But ideas, alone, aren’t the answer. Action is also required.

I wonder what “old-school” sage, the late Peter Drucker, would have said about this, if he had joined #TChat Twitter last night? Perhaps only this:

“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”

After all, no matter how old or young we are, that’s really the only path to progress.

So let’s keep the ideas flowing. Let’s keep the lines of communication open. Let’s share what works, and toss out what doesn’t. But most of all, let’s encourage one another to be bold and try “something new.” Let’s keep trying, and learning, and growing, and evolving. Let’s look forward to creating that “new” future together!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Gen X — Leading From The Middle

MarkB

Watch the Hangout now

SAT 10/12:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald framed this week’s topic in a post that featured a brief G+ Hangout video with guest Mark Babbitt. Read the Preview: “Gen X: Leading From The Middle.”

SUN 10/13:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro suggested how leaders can overcome generational differences. Read: “5 Ways Leaders Bridge the Generational Divide.”

TUE 10/15:

Related Post: Dan Newman, author of “The Millennial CEO,” examined the source of effective leadership. Read: “Anatomy of a Leader: Not Just Skin Deep.”

WED 10/16:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the radio show now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with special guest, Mark Babbitt, about the unique challenges and opportunities that Generation X faces in today’s world of work. Listen to the radio recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Mark, Meghan and Kevin joined the entire community on the #TChat Twitter stream for an open conversation about 5 related questions. For highlights, check the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Highlights: Gen X: Leading From The Middle

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-gen-x-leading-from-the-middle.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Mark Babbitt for adding your voice to this week’s discussion. Your insights about Gen X have helped challenge our assumptions and expand our understanding.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about the multi-generational workforce? We’d love to share your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, we tackle another important “world of work” topic. So save the date (October 23) for another rockin #TChat double header. And keep an eye out for details in the next few days.

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues! So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and your thoughts are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Gen X: Leading From The Middle #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Are you looking for a complete overview of the week’s #TChat highlights and resource links? Read the #TChat Recap: “Generation X At Bat.”)

I just discovered that I’m exceptional! Or to be more accurate, I’m unconventional.

I’m a member of Gen X — and according to those who analyze age-related attributes, I should feel disadvantaged and overlooked in the workplace. Fortunately, I’ve had an interesting and rewarding career path, so perhaps I just got lucky. Or perhaps the assumptions aren’t as universal as we think.

But that raises some related questions — Just how “real” is the generational divide at work? And what do those differences mean, as Baby Boomers begin to retire, and a new wave of leaders steps up to drive the world of work?

Last week at #TChat Twitter, our community collectively agreed that the office is no place for age discrimination. However, for better or worse, each generation brings a unique set of shared experiences to the workplace. Are Baby Boomers and Millennials stealing attention from those of us who are “in the middle”? If so, what kind of impact will that have on the future of work?

This week, we’re addressing those questions head-on. We want to give Gen X the attention it deserves. And we’ve invited an ideal expert to lead the discussion:

Mark Babbitt, Founder + CEO of YouTern, an organization that helps young talent develop professionally through high-impact mentors, internships and information.

I spoke with Mark briefly in a joint G+ Hangout, where he set the stage for this week’s topic:

No matter what generation you represent, we want to hear your thoughts about how organizations can prepare tomorrow’s leaders for success. So please join us, and bring your ideas and opinions!

#TChat Events: Gen X — Leading From The Middle

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

#TChat Radio — Wed, Oct 16 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Mark Babbitt about the unique challenges and opportunities that Generation X faces in today’s world of work. Follow the action LIVE online, and dial-in with your feedback and questions!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Oct 16 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, we’ll move this discussion to the #TChat Twitter stream for an open chat with the entire TalentCulture community. Anyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these questions:

Q1: Gen X is “forgotten” in today’s workforce — myth or reality?
Q2: How can Gen Xers elevate their visibility and value at work?
Q3: Why is it smart for employers to empower all generations?
Q4: How can today’s leaders develop tomorrow’s decision makers?
Q5: What could technology do to remove generational barriers?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Age Bias At Work: Bad Business #TChat Recap

“Discrimination due to age is one of the great tragedies of modern life. The desire to work and be useful is what makes life worth living, and to be told your efforts are not needed because you are the wrong age is a crime.” Johnny Ball

Who wouldn’t agree with that statement, in theory? But in fact, age discrimination persists. Why? And what should talent-minded professionals do about it? These were the core issues we tackled at this week’s #TChat Twitter forum.

To help us take a collective look at the impact of age discrimination on today’s workforce, two of the HR community’s sharpest thought leaders joined our moderator, Cyndy Trivella:

Steve Levy, a prominent workforce sourcing expert and popular recruiting blogger.

Heather Bussing, an employment law attorney who is also a founding editorial advisory board member and contributor at HR Examiner.

Here are some top takeaways, followed by resource links and the #TChat highlights slideshow:

Ageism “Sniff Test”

TChatTwitter_logo_020813Age discrimination is often not as overt as other forms of bias. When interviewing for a position, older candidates may be told that they’re not the right “fit” for an organization, or they’re “overqualified” for a job. Younger job seekers may be told to pursue unpaid internships to “gain more experience.” Either scenario may be appropriate — but when a pattern emerges, it’s most likely a systemic problem. Similarly, if employees “of a certain age” are consistently left out of communication loops, meetings and business decisions, discrimination is a likely culprit.

Ageism can be a factor at any stage in our lives — and tension seems to be mounting at both ends of today’s workforce, as the economic slowdown continues and more employees are retiring later in life.

What’s The Source?

Discrimination based on age (or other arbitrary criteria) stems from our need to categorize the abundance of information that surrounds us each day. Classifying information helps us process the world more efficiently — but not always effectively.

Fear seems to be a common factor in age discrimination. We tend to feel more comfortable with things that are familiar, and we fear things that we don’t know or understand. An older worker may fear that a younger counterpart is more energetic, or offers more creative ideas. While a younger worker may fear that an older employee contributes more depth of knowledge in a particular area, or resists fresh ideas. These feelings may not be rational, but the fear can be very real. Yet, ironically, no one likes to be stereotyped.

Keeping Age Discrimination Out Of The Office

To move past age discrimination, we need to embrace diversity, in all of its forms. A culture of  inclusion starts with leaders who leave age at the door. Smart leaders know that a diverse workforce contributes to innovation, and adds to a company’s value in the marketplace. It creates a “virtuous cycle” effect that encourages more collaboration among teams and employees. On the other hand, a one-dimensional workforce can breed “group think” that weakens a company’s competitive position.

How Can Leaders Foster Workplace Diversity?

Start with the hiring process. Hire the best candidate for the job. Use performance based hiring to avoid age discrimination. Consciously strive for a fair, inclusive, transparent recruitment process.

Create a cross-mentoring program. This makes sense for employers in the face of today’s talent shortage. It encourages knowledge sharing and helps support succession planning. It can also boost employee engagement.

What Can Each Of Us Do?

Consider listening and inquiry your personal weapons in the war against age discrimination. Never stop learning — no matter what your age. Embrace technology and use it as a tool to network with others and learn from them. Look for opportunities to grow personally and professionally, and share ideas with others at social forums, like #TChat Twitter — where diverse thinking is always welcome!

For more inspiration, see resource links and #TChat event highlights in the Storify slideshow below. If this post inspires you, be sure to add a comment below or jump into the #TChat stream any time. In our world of work, everyone is welcome, at any age!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Age Discrimination Perception + Reality

SUN 10/6:

SteveandTim

Watch the #TChat Preview video now

#TChat Preview: TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald set the stage for this week’s event in a preview post that featured a fun G+ hangout video with guest Steve Levy. Check it out: “Old Dogs + New Tricks: Will HR Learn?”

TUE 10/8:

Related Post: This week’s other special guest, Heather Bussing, offered a very human perspective on discrimination in a post at HR Examiner. Read: “Why Age Discrimination Should Matter to You.”

WED 10/9:

Related Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro outlined 5 steps that business leaders should take in overcoming workplace age stereotypes. Read: “How To Break The Age Bias Habit.”

#TChat Twitter: This week, we by-passed #TChat Radio. Instead the entire community set the #TChat Twitter hashtag on fire, as our guests joined moderator Cyndy Trivella in a lively discussion about 6 key age discrimination issues. The hour flew by, as thousands of ideas and opinions hit the stream. For highlights, see the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Highlights: Age Discrimination Perception + Reality

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-age-discrimination-in-the-workplac.js?template=slideshow”]

 

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Steve Levy and Heather Bussing for shining a light on workplace age discrimination. We welcome your enthusiasm and perspectives anytime!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about age in the workplace? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week we focus on next-generation workplace leadership with our special guest, YouTern CEO, Mark Babbitt! Watch for more details in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues! So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and your thoughts are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Tim Tyrell-Smith at flickr

How To Break The Age Bias Habit

Want to know a deep, dark secret? OK then. Just between us — there’s some truth in all those stereotypes that swirl around about Baby Boomers, Millennials and other generations. That’s actually why they became stereotypes in the first place.

But wait. There’s another truth that no one in the workplace can afford to ignore. Discrimination is a career killer. Age bias may be as old as the hills, but that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable or even legal to let it poison your company culture. And in today’s transparent world of work, that kind of behavior is bound to be exposed, sooner or later. So let’s step back and re-frame this issue.

Smart Leaders Know Age Is Not A Factor

Today’s global economy is highly competitive. Successful organizations need all the creative, useful ideas they can get. It doesn’t matter if the source is old, young or in between. As French playwright Moliere said, “I take my good where I find it.”

Yet the labels persist. You’ve heard it before: Gen Yers are lazy, entitled, and preoccupied with digital connections. Gen Xers are cynical, alouf, and make lousy team players. Baby Boomers are stodgy, inflexible, and can’t relate to younger people. Can you find individuals who perfectly fit these descriptions? Sure you can. But can you find many other people who smash these cliches to pieces? I certainly hope so! I’m one of them.

Removing Age From The Workforce Equation

If you’re serious about your success — as well as your organization’s success — you’ll reach to the best and brightest no matter how old or young they are. But how can you avoid the trap of generational stereotypes? Here are 5 steps to consider:

1) Be aware and be vigilant. Take a quick personal inventory. Do you see some signals that shouldn’t be there? You’re not alone. All of us let age stereotypes creep into our thought patterns and behavior. It happens more than most of us want to admit. Come on. Own up. Face it by formalizing it. List the age-related assumptions you make about people. Become mindful. You can’t stop stereotyping until you’re willing to recognize how you do it.

2) Disprove the stereotype. Now that you have your list, find people who make a mockery of it. The Gen Xer who has worked 80 hours a week at the same company since college; the Gen Yer who created a cohesive, winning team; the Boomer who invented a wildly exciting new technology product.

3) Retrain your brain. Now that you know who and how you stereotype, and you know how false and limiting your “reality” is, train yourself to stop believing the lie. Be prepared to practice. Making snap judgments about people based on obvious attributes is deeply ingrained in us all. Unlearning this behavior takes time, but every step is a move in the right direction. When you meet someone, pay attention to your internal response — both intellectual and emotional. If you stereotype them, consciously tell yourself to look past it, and instead look at other characteristics that are more relevant.

4) Be open to “see” the person “in 3D.” There’s a word for someone who doesn’t measure individuals by their unique strengths and talents. That word is “fool.” You’re working to build a successful career, project, or enterprise. Why in the world would you limit yourself by refusing help from willing and able contributors? Embrace the talent that is available to you. Judge people by their past performance and potential to add value in the future. Age is irrelevant in that context. You need everyone to deliver their best effort. Stay open to possibilities and reach out.

5 ) Make it a habit. The goal is to build a network that transcends stereotyping. Make a conscious effort, at least once a week, to spend time with someone whom you would have stereotyped in the past. If you’re a Gen Yer, take a Boomer out to lunch. Listen to their story and soak up lessons from their experience. If you’re a Boomer, seek out a Gen Yer to mentor. Ask what’s on their mind and how you can help. Then listen closely to how they respond. No matter what age you are, be willing to discuss personal limitations and ask for input and feedback. Too often we assume it’s a sign of weakness if we admit our concerns and shortcomings. But actually it’s a strength. As Moliere suggested, take your good where you find it. I’m not sure how old he was when he penned that advice, but honestly, it doesn’t matter!

Bottom line: In the workplace and in every other aspect of life, stereotyping is self-destructive. It denies our basic humanity, and the ability we all have to transcend superficial categorization. Smash stereotypes, celebrate individuality, and you will learn, grow, and build stronger relationships. You’ll also be a business leader that others will want to follow.

(Editor’s Note: Join the TalentCulture community tonight, Oct 9 from 7-8pm ET, at #TChat Twitter,  where we’re discussing age-based discrimination in the workplace. Everyone is welcome! Learn more in the preview post…)

(Editor’s Note: Meghan M. Biro is an active contributor to Forbes.com. This article is adapted from her Forbes blog, with permission.)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Best-of-All-Ages Workplace #TChat Recap

Meeting of the Minds — Leaving Age at the Door

It can be done. Really. I’ve experienced it first-hand. I imagine you have, too. Many different people of all generations, gender, race, shapes and sizes can come together to create a unique, powerful and separate “whole.”

Think of industry conferences. Birds of a feather — flying in from near and far — converging in tiny groups — gathering around tables in a gigantic ballroom. We arrive brimming with energy and ideas to share. We offer attention and interest to others. We flock together — eager to exchange, to learn, to expand our perspective, to imagine possibilities.

Together We ARE Better

We’re united by our passion for world-of-work topics. Topics that touch us all, everyday — in the main office, the home office and the office-like locales in between. This is the beauty of social learning environments. But, of course, like all things social, this is not a homogeneous pack, and our behavior reflects that reality.

Some cluster with peers from their current work groups. Others gravitate to colleagues from long ago in their careers — reconnecting and catching up. Still others seem slightly disconnected, as they focus intently on real-time smart phone connections. On occasion, we hear a witty quip that hints at generational differences, like, “What if I’m really not Pinterested in that social site?”

Some managers and subordinates sit side-by-side, joking with one another about why they’re so afraid to tweet on behalf of their company, even after receiving formal permission. And there are thought leaders and panelists of all generations, discussing the value of trading isolated metrics for integrated analysis that can elevate business by driving growth, engagement and the bottom line.

No, we don’t all work together in the same mother ship. But then again, we kinda do. After all, with all of its many variations, there really is only one world of work.

A Collaborative Conference Snapshot

SourcingRecruiting_Summit2013_Logo-700pixelsThis model came to life for me this week at the Recruiting Trends Social Sourcing and Recruitment Summit in Washington, DC. An eclectic room, for sure, although many participants work for government agencies, or government contractors — not the first thing that springs to mind when we think of organizations at the forefront of open, transparent, social business models. However, Meghan M. Biro and I moderated a discussion with some very smart folk about social business and social HR trends and issues. And the end of the day, we all agreed that a sound social recruiting strategy comes from understanding how different social sites complement one another, not how they compete.

In many ways, it echoes what we learned from this week’s #TChat conversations about age bias in the workplace. Organizations are comprised of many people who span multiple generations. Through workplace collaboration, we can dispel harmful stereotypes, while simultaneously gaining business value by leveraging the complementary strengths of team members.

#TChat Week-in-Review: Guests

It truly takes a “village” to run a professional community — and this week proved the point, as we took on “The No Labels Workforce.” Experts from across all generations helped us examine myths and truths that perpetuate workplace stereotypes, and helped us consider how to move beyond those perceptions.

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Watch videos with Ashley Lauren Perez & John Wilson

The common thread throughout this week was Ashley Lauren Perez, a WilsonHCG Sourcing Specialist, who is also a valued #TChat Ambassador and a highly regarded HR blogger in her own right. Thank you Ashley, for your contributions to the TalentCulture community – not just this week, but on an ongoing basis! And thanks to everyone else who participated!

#TChat Week-in-Review: Resources

SAT 4/6  Google+ Hangout “sneak peek” videos:  Our community manager Tim McDonald, briefly framed the week’s issues with two human resources management experts from WilsonHCG John Wilson, Founder and CEO, and Ashley Lauren Perez.

SUN 4/7  Forbes.com column: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro, tackled generational bias head-on in her poast, 5 Ways to Smash Generational Stereotypes.

MON 4/8  We outlined the week’s theme and key questions in the #TChat Preview: Age at Work: Just a Number?

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show recording now

TUE 4/9  #TChat Radio: Host Meghan Biro examined workplace age bias with three talent management experts — WilsonHCG Recruiting Director Cynthia Cancio and Sourcing Specialist Ashley Lauren Perez; along with Recruiting Trends’ Sr. Director, Anna Brekka,

Ashley also contributed a thoughtful blog post about this topic: Age at Work: Moving Beyond Birthdays

WED 4/10  #TChat Twitter The whole community came together on the Twitter stream to talk about age in the workplace — similarities and differences, strengths and weaknesses, myths and realities. As you can imagine, there was no shortage of personal opinions, professional perspectives and ideas for how we can let go of stereotypes and leverage talent, across generations. In

#TChat Twitter Highlights Slideshow: “Age at Work: Just a Number?”

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

SPECIAL THANKS: Again, thanks to Ashley Lauren Perez, John WilsonAnna Brekka, and Cynthia Cancio for contributing your time and expertise to help us dig deeper into generational biases in the workplace. Your insights and expertise brought depth and dimension to the discussion.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about “humans as a service” or related issues? We’re happy to share your thoughts. Just post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, we’ll take a look at the trends and technologies that are defining today’s world of work, with our special guest, Elliot Clark, CEO & Chairman of SharedXpertise, the publishers of HRO Today.

Until then, we’ll continue the World of Work conversation each day. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, or on our new LinkedIn discussion group. And feel free to explore other areas of our redesigned blog/community website. The lights are always on at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image credit: Pixabay

Age at Work: Moving Beyond Birthdays

“How old are you?”

What do you feel, think, and say when you hear that question in the workplace? Do you suddenly get tense, wondering how others will perceive your answer? You’re not alone.

No matter when you were born or what kind of upbringing you’ve had, you’ve likely dealt with some sort of label. And regardless of the situation, we can all agree that no one likes to be unfairly stereotyped. Despite attempts by organizational leaders and HR to reduce discrimination and adversity, it still lingers in some forms. Not surprisingly, age-related stereotyping is on the rise, now that more organizations have a multigenerational workforce.

Generational Generalizations

As recent studies illustrate, every generation is affected by damaging biases. For example, do profiles like this sound familiar?

  • Baby Boomers = materialistic, technologically illiterate micro-managers
  • Generation Xers = cynical, disloyal and skeptical of authority
  • Generation Y “Millennials” = lazy, entitled and self-serving

Although these generalizations may have emerged for a reason, why should we assume that they are widely applicable or even relevant? Perhaps some high-profile individuals have displayed these characteristics, but their actions shouldn’t be the basis for defining a whole generation.

The Price of Stereotypes

More often than not, typecasting like this comes from lack of awareness, communication or understanding. It’s important to identify this issue quickly and bridge the gap, before it destroys our talent pools. Otherwise, organizations are at risk of missing out on the strongest talent — internally or externally.

What Can Individuals Do?

As I continue to progress in my career and become more involved in networking opportunities, I make it a point to avoid conversation about my age. Quite frankly, it’s not important. And, as a Millennial, the last thing I want others to do is marginalize my capabilities upfront. I don’t want them to presume I am a lazy or cynical person — I want them to evaluate me for my skills, abilities, goals and accomplishments. Isn’t that how it should be?

The workplace is rapidly developing into a collaborative environment, where everyone is expected to step up and contribute toward common goals. To do this effectively, employees must avoid animosity toward one another that starts with preconceived notions about age. We need to let go of misplaced biases and instead focus on the thing that matters — an individual’s capacity to contribute something valuable to the team and to the organization.

I look forward to engaging the TalentCulture community in a dialogue about this topic — not just at this week’s #TChat Twitter forum, but beyond. It’s important to every one of us. So, I ask you to consider one simple question:

How are you creating a “no labels” workplace?

(Editor’s Note: Want to hear more from Ashley? She was a featured guest last night on #TChat Radio “The No Labels Workforce.” Listen on-demand, anytime. She also moderated #TChat Twitter this week. To read the full recap of this week’s events, see “The Best-of-All-Ages Workplace #TChat Recap”)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Age at Work: Just a Number? #TChat Preview

(Editorial Note: Want to read the RECAP of this week’s events? See The Best-of-All-Ages Workplace #TChat Recap)

What’s the truth about the interplay of generations in today’s workplace? Are we moving forward, or do “generation gaps” still hold us to the past?

Is this topic old news? I feel like it might be. Not sure if it’s just me. Perhaps I’m just wishfully thinking we should have moved on by now. But it’s important. And it deserves another look.

Age Stereotypes: A Reality Check

So, just between us, let me ask: Do you still catch yourself making snap judgments about people based solely on their age? Boomers, Gen Y, Gen X…whatever.  We fret over how to recruit Millennials. We wonder how to manage them versus others. Does all this conscious attention to generational differences help or hinder progress?

Age-based stereotyping is deeply ingrained in our history, our culture and our collective social psyche. Now, in the 21st century world of work, it holds back individual advancement, business performance and innovation. But how do we move past reactions that seem almost second-nature? That’s the topic we’re tackling this week, in the TalentCulture community.

Getting Over Generational Bias: Growing Pains

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Watch the #TChat “Sneak Peek” videos now…

To begin the conversation, I suggested ways to smash age-based stereotypes in my Forbes.com column yesterday.

Rethinking stereotypes requires some deep internal soul searching. Gaining self awareness is the first step — and it’s not necessarily easy.

Facing your biases is an emotional exercise, as well as an intellectual one. But the process can be highly rewarding for professionals and the companies they serve. Fortunately, now there’s strength in numbers, as our #TChat forums take on generational stereotypes as a collaborative effort.

#TChat Weekly Topic: The “No Labels” Workforce

Leading us through this week’s conversation are two human resources management experts from WilsonHCG John Wilson, Founder and CEO, and Ashley Lauren Perez, Sourcing Specialist. Both John and Ashley helped us set the stage for this week’s topic in brief Google+ Hangout “sneak peek” videos. Check them out now!

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Tune into #TChat Radio live on Tuesday or on-demand after

I hope you’ll plan to join us at #TChat events this week, where we’ll take a closer look at labels in the workplace, and how to build cultures that value diversity in all of its forms:

As always, throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter stream and on our new LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us and share your thoughts, concerns, opinions and ideas.

#TChat Weekly Questions

Why not start now? Take a moment to consider this week’s discussion guide and tell us what you think. Your comments are welcome, early and often:

Q1:  In the world of work, how are the generations the same? Why?
Q2:  With Millennials, we have myriad misconceptions. But for all generations, what are the most pervasive?
Q3:  What is the role of leaders in helping to smash stereotypes about generations in the workforce?
Q4:  Does tech facilitate cross-generational interaction? Why/not? How can we forge more connections?
Q5:  Innovation and free-thinking go hand-in-hand. But does innovation ever encourage age stereotyping? Why?

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: Flickr – Mark Turnauckas

 

"No Labels" Workforce: Sneak Peek Videos

(Editorial Note: Want to read the RECAP of this week’s events? See The Best-of-All-Ages Workplace #TChat Recap)

Age discrimination. Sometimes it’s very subtle. Sometimes it’s painfully obvious. Either way, it still can play a role in workplace culture. How can organizations move beyond the labels that hold back individuals, teams and corporate performance?

That’s our focus this week in the TalentCulture community. Our guests sat down for several minutes in Google+ Hangouts with me to discuss several key issues. Check it out:

One of our very own #TChat Ambassadors, Ashley Lauren Perez, defines key terms and offers advice for professionals who are considered part of “Generation Y”…

Next, Ashley’s boss, John Wilson, Founder and CEO WilsonHCG.com briefly explains why labels don’t make sense in the world of work…

It promises to be a fascinating week! The more voices who join the conversation, the better.

So join us at #TChat events this week, where we’ll take a closer look at labels in the workplace, and how to build cultures that value diversity in all of its forms:

NOTE: If you don’t see the G+ Hangout videos above in this post, you can watch them on YouTube:

“No Labels” Workforce: Sneak Peek Videos

(Editorial Note: Want to read the RECAP of this week’s events? See The Best-of-All-Ages Workplace #TChat Recap)

Age discrimination. Sometimes it’s very subtle. Sometimes it’s painfully obvious. Either way, it still can play a role in workplace culture. How can organizations move beyond the labels that hold back individuals, teams and corporate performance?

That’s our focus this week in the TalentCulture community. Our guests sat down for several minutes in Google+ Hangouts with me to discuss several key issues. Check it out:

One of our very own #TChat Ambassadors, Ashley Lauren Perez, defines key terms and offers advice for professionals who are considered part of “Generation Y”…

Next, Ashley’s boss, John Wilson, Founder and CEO WilsonHCG.com briefly explains why labels don’t make sense in the world of work…

It promises to be a fascinating week! The more voices who join the conversation, the better.

So join us at #TChat events this week, where we’ll take a closer look at labels in the workplace, and how to build cultures that value diversity in all of its forms:

NOTE: If you don’t see the G+ Hangout videos above in this post, you can watch them on YouTube:

A Legacy of Leadership & Learning: #TChat Recap

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

No surprise here — the concept of lifelong learning is as popular as mom and apple pie, especially among the progressive business professionals at the core of the TalentCulture World of Work community.

But it may surprise you to discover that old-school Henry Ford is the source of that quote. Arguably one of the most successful business leaders in American history, Ford was relentless about elevating machine efficiency to a management science. And he died more than 60 years ago, when most baby boomers were still only a gleam in their parents’ eyes.

Nevertheless, imagine if Ford had tweeted during this week’s #TChat: His philosophy of continual learning would have aligned with the sentiments of our community’s participants, who shared more than 2,900 tweets this Wednesday — ideas and opinions about “Leaders Young and Old” and the dynamics of reverse mentoring. In the brushstroke of a single blog entry, it’s difficult to do justice to the breadth and depth of perspectives exchanged. A common theme did emerge, however, from the 16.4 million impressions that echoed across the Twitter universe:

The Top Takeaway

Leadership is (appropriately) tied to competence and results – independent of age or seniority.

This is an organizational imperative in today’s fluid and highly competitive business environment. What’s more, as technological innovation continues to accelerate, today’s desirable skills are just as quickly becoming outdated.

So what are the implications for today’s business leaders, who must span generations to engage and develop the best talent for a sustainable future? “The Leadership Challenge,” the popular management book, reminds us that “The Best Leaders are the Best Learners.” In other words, by modeling teachable behavior themselves, leaders not only grow professionally, but inspire others to do the same. It’s a next-generation extension of the principles established by business legends like Henry Ford, and it’s a valuable lesson that any of us can learn — at any age.

Living Laboratory

Looking for inspiration? That may be why you’re at #TChat, our forum and community for industry leaders committed to continual peer-to-peer learning. We’re grateful for this now nearly two-year adventure, a microcosm of today’s work world. We rely on digital tools to connect, communicate and collaborate 24-7, on-demand. And it works.

I have no clue how old or young my peers are, and frankly, I don’t care. I’d rather focus on key issues and shared interests. I evaluate insights based on their own merit. My impression of #TChat participants is shaped by the quality of their contributions and the street cred they develop within the community. Age and rank aren’t even on the radar.

Why do I return each week? This forum helps me quickly find relevant, useful ideas — and the smart people behind those ideas — without having to slog through the formalities of organizational structure and protocol. #TChat is a living laboratory for transparency and access in the networked age. And I gain immediate value from participating in this grand experiment.

Several months ago, during a #TChat titled “Why We Are All Generation NOW,” TalentCulture World of Work co-founder Kevin W. Grossman tweeted:

“Learning is doing and doing is knowing. So do.”

It stands to reason that if learning is an equal-opportunity endeavor, then leadership is, too. Perhaps this week’s #TChat could add another layer to Kevin’s quote:

“Leading is learning. Learning is doing and doing is knowing. So do.”

Just imagine what Henry Ford would say if he could see us doing this #TChat thing we do!

Did you miss the preview? Go here. We again thank Mark Babbitt (@YouTernMark) for guest moderating this week and for bringing along his super-smart team from YouTern (@YouTern) — e.g., @YouTernDave and @YouTernErica — to tweet alongside all of us. They brought the awesome, and you did, too: Check out the slide show below of your many insightful tweets. We wish you all a wonderful weekend and look forward to seeing you at next week’s #TChat.

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#TChat INSIGHTS: Full Smorgasbord of your Tweets: Leaders Young and Old

Storified by Sean Charles · Thu, Sep 27 2012 01:34:51

Can’t we all just get along? #TChat today talking mulit-generational leadership #BringIT [PIC] http://pic.twitter.com/Fk2Z2ri6SocialMediaSean
Hello, #TChat – tweeting to you from Bsquare here in sunny (today) Bellevue, WA w/my #vinylmation Recruiting “helpers” http://pic.twitter.com/g2IVUejmMichaelRecruits
Look! I gotta #TChat stache. Get it? http://pic.twitter.com/m4oBQ2pjjocelynaucoin
Bar & grill in suburbia :) @SocialMediaSean #tchat http://pic.twitter.com/SbHeSJu6Lara Zuehlke
#Tchat outside. Bene of living in NoCA. http://pic.twitter.com/qdKJymlishawmu
@SocialMediaSean Hello from the Conservatory of #music in #Ottawa to everyone at #TChat http://pic.twitter.com/fHvDOfoJnghannoum
Q1: Age was once synchronous with seniority & management roles. How has a multi-generational workforce changed that? #TChatMark Babbitt
A cultural change in business has heightened the realization that influence is not a function of age. #TChatVala Afshar
A1: new gens carry tech insights and older gens carry cultural and industry experience. Organizations must create a leadership mesh #tchatMegan Rene Burkett
A1: More mentoring for young employees + reverse mentoring where they help older workers develop millennial generation skills. #tchatInside Jobs
A1: At the risk of sounding ageist, I think that generation-y can be best for tech jobs because we grew up with technology. #tchatAndrew Bream
A1: However advance the technology might be, the drive &passion to learn &use them has to come from the person &age is not a matter. #TChatPadma Mohanram
A1 w/ rise of networked biz, virtual teams & freelance economy, shift continues toward competence as king not arbitrary factors (age) #tchatExpertus
A1 ever wonder where the phrase “quiet leader” came from and how that person earned that title? #tchatSteve
A1: 15% of GenY workers are currently in management roles. #TChatPayScale Business
A1: Absolutely, leadership has become more based on merit than seniority… #tchatMark Salke
A1: Young or old it’s about being the best version of yourself. Confidence over age any day of the week. #TChatSean Charles
A1 #TChat – as this “new economy” emerges, I think long term will be 5 yrs, no longer 25 yrs w/org. Faster transition time, move quicklyMichael!
A1 Age matters. Experience bring wisdom and perspective. Youth bring optimism and innovation. #tchatSam Fiorella
A1: young mgrs can be effective leaders, but they gotta work at it continuously. Learning to be a leader is hard work. #TChatBill Cushard
A1: years of experience does not necessarily make anyone a good manager #tchatGeorge LaRocque
A1: Mgmt of 2day encourages all generations to collaborate, giving workplace variety of views and showcasing talent no matter the age #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A1 if you have the NEED to stay current and relevant you’ll stay current and relevant. #tchatKeith Punches
A1: Younger workers have not experienced stability so we do not value it #tchatLaTonya Wilkins
A1, #TChat – I think as the marketplace, ie tech has shifted, different gens moving up quickly as they seem to adapt faster to the changeMichael!
A1. As for age people see I have gray hair and say but you don’t act old? I take is as a complement. I do have a young mindset #TchatGuy Davis
A1 The big difference is the opportunity to work for yourself at any age #TChatBill Boorman
A1: Younger generations do not even know what “seniority” means. Normal to switch jobs every few years. #tchatLaTonya Wilkins
A1: Young leaders through hard work & integrity of purpose have shown that age does not matter. #TChatSean Charles
A1 Not sure if this age to be honest but my parents gen waited for opportunities while me (39) & my DD (21) seek them #tchatClaire Crossley
A1: Less about age now & more about aptitude. I was promoted quickly at 22 b/c I was willing to step up. Not e’one wants to #lead. #TchatLara Zuehlke
A1: Age does seem matter in the hiring process though. #TChatJanis Stacy
Hellllooo #tchat! A1:Technology means I really have to put an emphasis on continuous learning. Tech is always changing.Rebecca Jo Luke
A1: I’d say technology has had greater impact than multi-generational work force. #tchatSam Fiorella
A1: The workplace has shifted and age is not seen as inexperienced. More weight on knowledge, education & exp – not age. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A1 due to the nomadic trends, ppl only staying for shorter periods, internet gives younger empl an advantage, not intimidated by it. #TChatRobert Rojo
A1. Conscious leadership and ownership of what you rock at and what you’re “not” at, are more important than ever. #tchatSalima Nathoo
A1: The shift offers the opportunity for more knowledge sharing + mentoring possibilities. #tchatInside Jobs
A1: As babyboomers leave #workforce in droves, seasoned mindshare dwindles; younger generations fill gap. #TChatBrent Skinner
A1: The focus in many instances appears to be on skill sets over experience. Sr. Execs have to know how to develop each group. #tchatSalary School
A1: Age hasn’t been a position criteria in forward leaning corps. Judgement and capability makes one ready for higher positions. #TChatJanis Stacy
a1. Managment isn’t just for old ppl anymore – We now allow capable & competent young ppl to do it too! #TchatDave Ryan, SPHR
A1 More ppl than ever before have a college education. This has opened more doors for younger generations. #TchatCyndy Trivella
A1: Many other attributes have compensated for pure longevity…educational level, energy, people skills, drive, etc…. #tchatEarly Careerists
A1) Age aside, reaching upward in an org made much easier through SoMe, virtually flattens hierarchy, bridges stovepipes. #tchatTom Spiglanin
A1: Growing generational spectrum @ work now includes folks who expect less emphasis on position + more on collaboration + results #TChatAndrew Henck
A1: The younger generations are seen as having a fresh perspective rather than not knowing anything #TChatSpark Hire
A1) Gen Y is generally open to learning from everyone… We don’t expect that just b/c someone is older they get to be our boss. #TChatErica Roberts
A1: Age? What does that mean? I’m no longer aging ;-) #tchatKathy Herndon, GPHR
A1. I think technology has allowed younger gen’s to learn and execute so they can move up faster #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A1 – I think technology has enabled younger generations to make a more immediate impact within their organizations right out of gate #TChatmatthew papuchis
A1: Age is just a number. It doesn’t dictate experience or wisdom. #tchatJen Olney
A1 – age is just a number; the internet itself made it so – we’re in the realm of ideas now – you don’t know if I’m 18 or 81 #TChatSylvia Dahlby
A1: With technology changing as quickly as it does, everyone is on a more even playing field with keeping up. #TChatSimplicant
A1: the challenge of younger leaders managing employees who are older and often more experienced. #tchatShawn LaCroix
A1 age is now synonymous with wondering why others are treated differently than you #tchatSteve
A1: New gens on the workforce expect more than age/time in position to dictate mgmt/seniority potential. #TChatAndrew Henck
Q2: Does leadership come when experience meets the right context of strategy, tactics & soft skills? Why or not? #TChatMark Babbitt
A2. Some ppl are natural leaders & other will never be leadder regardless of training or mentoring #TchatDave Ryan, SPHR
A2 Leaders develop leaders. #tchatJoe Sanchez
Leadership opportunities are available for those who are able to inspire and influence without authority. #tchatVala Afshar
A2 Yes! Any gen mgr must have empathy & mileage to understand whole employee, personality+skills+goals! Then, frame fit in #strategy. #tchatShawna Kelly
A2: I think it also depends on how #leaders are groomed. I came up thru ranks in creative shops & WAY different than tech/corporate #TchatLara Zuehlke
A2 mgr/leadership title are synonymous wth blue ribbons everyone received as kids-just for showing up; but a title isnt leadership #tchatSteve
A2: those are helpful but it also needs #humility #passion and #dedication. #tchat a humanistic meeting of the mindsMegan Rene Burkett
#tchat A2 leadership is about content not experience…Formation
A2: Great leaders don’t create more followers, they create more leaders. Teach employees how to inspire – lead one day. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A2: Strong #leaders use strategy to listen. #TChatJulia Gabor
A2 Great leadership should show up at any time; think crisis situations, ppl you didn’t think ‘had it’ ~ shine! #TChatClaire Crossley
A2: Some ‘bosses’ are so damn smart, but just can’t lead. #ashame #TChatJulia Gabor
A2: A good leader is someone who motivates you, brings out your best – regardless of age. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A2: Leaders motivate. Managers coordinate. It takes skills to do both. #tchatInside Jobs
A2: Being around a true leader is an experience that resonates far beyond title #TChatSean Charles
A2. Experience is always nice but is it RELEVANT, up-to-date, and useful experience that can lead multi-generations? #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A2 #TChat – Also as the younger gens enter workforce, they are creating their own orgs, therefore as business grows, they are the leaders!Michael!
A2. As a leader you still have a boss, if you don’t respond to micromanaging you likely won’t succeed #TchatGuy Davis
A2 i would add perseverance and the ability to build great teams into the equation #tchatShawn LaCroix
A2: Need exp in diff environments & teams. 90s leadership is different from 2012 and beyond. Now lead via tech & dispersed workforce #tchatLaTonya Wilkins
A2 Leaders must have soft skills & strategy and most often this is gained through experience. #tchatLidia Cords
A2: Workplace is different now, technology plays huge role as does continuous learning. Younger mgrs are already used to the pace. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A2: The RIGHT experience can develop leaders. Any old experience may not. #TChat Got to stay on top of change.Janis Stacy
A2: Doing the right things and doing things right is the difference between Leadership and management. #TChatPadma Mohanram
A2: Years do not contribute to a measurement of leadership, imo. #tchatGeorge LaRocque
A2; Depends on a lot of variables & external factors, i.e. who knows who & what their relationships are. #TChatRobert Rojo
A2: Not always. Ldrshp is pulled from our experiences, background, & willingness to learn. Context reveals r ldrshp effectiveness. #tchatShawn Murphy
A2: If the org culture prizes loyalty, time worked + other criteria not open to “newer” gens, then their leadership is already failed #TChatAndrew Henck
A2 never heard leadership described that way but Yes. Helps me make sense of a situation I had where the context was all wrong for me #TchatGuy Davis
A2 I think leadership comes from experience, self-awareness, passion; once you have those, tactics & strats, easy part #TChatClaire Crossley
A2: Leadership comes about when you have the brains & the will to do difficult things…consistently! #TChatEarly Careerists
A2 you have to want to be a leader. It’s a different mindset. Nothing wrong with being a “worker amongst workers”. Depends. #tchatKeith Punches
A2. Leadership doesn’t happen bc you “paid your dues/put in your time”- you either have it or you dont- its not a privilege #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A2) Leadership comes when guts, instinct, & confidence meet in right context. Good ldrshp may/may not require experience. #tchatTom Spiglanin
A2: Leaders better have that mindful presence EQ flowin’. I don’t care how good at tactics you are. (That’ll get some calls.) #tchatKevin W. Grossman
A2: #Leadership requires humility, vision, discipline, commitment #tchatKathy Herndon, GPHR
A2 seems to be asking whether or not leaders are born, or if circumstances create leaders. It’s a bit of both, yes? #TChatBrent Skinner
A2: Some leaders don’t have years of experience that other seasoned workers have but are strong strategic thinkers, see big picture. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A2) Experience + strategy +tactics + (soft skills) = Leadership <-Sometimes but not always #TchatDave Ryan, SPHR
A2 – #TChat – Not always. Depends on person, do they want leadership? Others see the opps when others have missed seeing it.Michael!
A2: yes and no. Those are helpful but it should also include #humility, #passion, #dedication. #tchat the humanistic componentMegan Rene Burkett
A2 Good leaders also have strong emotional intelligence, which can be shaped by experiences, interactions and outcomes. #TchatCyndy Trivella
A2: Yes – leadership comes from organic growth of knwldge, soft skills. Dsn’t become mgr just as natural progression of current role. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A2: If you ask good questions & solve problems strategy & tactic are less necessary. Come in time. Soft skills are always #1 for me. #tchatLara Zuehlke
A2) Leadership comes whenever its needed. Someone needs to step up or nothing gets done. Hasn’t changed since beginning of time. #tchatTom Spiglanin
A2: Not necessarily, depends on the type of leadership. #TChatRobert Rojo
A2 leadership is more about context #TChatBill Boorman
A2 Yes & No. It depends on the person. Some ppl see opportunities where other ppl don’t. #TchatCyndy Trivella
A2 Many comps offer “fast track” program to new grads that provides mngmnt training early in the new grad’s career,so advance faster. #TchatCyndy Trivella
Q3: Beyond the usual clichés and stereotypes, why is it so hard for workforce veterans to be led by younger managers? #TChatMark Babbitt
A3 In a true team culture, informal/distributed leadership works. #tchatMark Salke
A3: We need get the job done!!. For some, age means outdated and experience can be negative. New, fast, done is important! #TChatJanis Stacy
#TChat – A3 I have had younger than me managers & learned a ton from their perspective. Loved the fresh outlook.Michael!
A3: lack of support and interaction collectively #TChatNissrine Ghannoum
A3: #tchat Younger gen needs to empathize with the veterans feeling threatened. But the veterans need to remember being a young prof too!Rebecca Jo Luke
A3: leadership seems to be 1 of the larger issues in the “skills shortage”. we need all generations to step up in most co’s #tchatGeorge LaRocque
A3: Successful leaders realize that each generation learns differently and taps into each generations strengths. Creates unity, team. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A3 The bottom line is you have to create a culture of #Meritocracy – regardless of age or experience #tchatRobert Moore
A3: Ego, Ego, Ego #TChatSean Charles
A3: Very important that respect goes both ways. <-> Younger managers can learn something from seasoned workers, too. Learn together. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A3: Knowing yourself is critical to know & #lead others. Self-awareness, growth, and authenticity are ageless. #TchatLara Zuehlke
A3. Ego for the older is a sign of earned title/insecurity where for the younger its a sign of entitlement/ambition. #tchatSalima Nathoo
A3: Older workers may view younger workers’ leadership style differences as incompetence #tchatLaTonya Wilkins
A3 one side had to earn their stripes, the other was given theirs just for showing up (yes a bit simplistic); so why all the rancor? #tchatSteve
A3: Orgs who can create environment for diversity and communication values upfront will have an easier time w veterans & young folks. #TChatJulia Gabor
A3: It’s all approach. Some older people should have a problem working with culturally immature leaders #TChatSean Charles
A3 Younger workers tend to stray away from the safety net of what they know works & lean more on vision & make it work. #tchatBeverly Davis
A3: The young and the older need one another! Let work together to bridge gaps. #tchatTara Markus
A3: Experience used to go hand-in-hand with age. Not that way anymore and some have a hard time having an open mind. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A3. It doesn’t have to be that way. With some time and effort on both sides it can be an awesome relationship@TalentCulture #TChat”Garret Meikle
A3: We were sold a bill of goods that the aged breed success, while the youngsters all get trophies. Gotta break ’em down. #tchatKevin W. Grossman
A3: I think so many firms still have the earn it mindset vs. the collaborative mindset. So it’s me vs. you mentality. #TchatLara Zuehlke
A3 Some comps R getting smarter & not looking at tenure & time-on-job. Who’s innovative; works smarter rather than harder, flexible? #TchatCyndy Trivella
A3: Everyone struggles to accept change sometimes. Working for someone younger could be one of those challenges #TChatSpark Hire
A3: There is something exciting about the young dynamic minds & mature ripened minds working together! #tchatTara Markus
A3 do you jump into a raging stream or do you survey the surroundings first? each side has its prefs but both sides are “right” #tchatSteve
A3) Raised on hard work and experience is what makes you climb that ladder, having someone with less experience lead you is daunting. #TChatTim McDonald
A3 Insecurity, esp if org culture encourages this; of losing job, not being the go-to anymore perhaps. Culture matters! #tchatClaire Crossley
A3: So hard for veterans to let their work be seen and viewed by a younger colleague w/out feeling threatened. #TChatJulia Gabor
A3 “Tradition” has it that mngmnt is a position you earn once you’ve paid a certain number of dues in your career. #TchatCyndy Trivella
A3: Great leaders create more opportunities for all. #TChatJanis Stacy
A3: In industries where moving fast is the key to success, like tech, it seems to be more common and accepted. #TChatPayScale Business
A3: Trust & Respect are hard for some people working with younger leaders #TChatSean Charles
A3: Great leaders have respect from their employees because they lead by example and will jump in the trenches w/ them. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A3. Different views of opportunity: Veterans are about borrowed time. Younger generation is about borrowed authority. #tchatSalima Nathoo
A3 Comes down 2 this: communication. When 1 person doesn’t communicate in the way another understands, misunderstandings will ensue. #TchatCyndy Trivella
A3: It could be hard to see today’s jobs as actual skills. Social Media jobs don’t make sense to some members of older generations #TChatSimplicant
A3: Great Leaders don’t see age – they see maturity, wisdom and the courage to celebrate young ideas and people! #tchatTara Markus
A3 The answer may be in the question. Are younger managers managing or leading? There is a difference. #tchatJoe Sanchez
A3 #TChat Not always the older worker, maybe younger managers need 2 take some life lessons from their older workers, rework, move forward!Michael!
A3 #tchat Trust is a rare and precious thing that people give carefully. Developing confidence in a younger colleagues can feel riskyMichael Leiter
A3 Every(every)one suffers from pride and righteous indignation at some point. Question is do you CARE “who moved my cheese” #tchatKeith Punches
A3: it is the cultural mindset the older generation grew up with. It is what they have always known. Change is challenging #tchatMegan Rene Burkett
A3: Sometimes it is hard for #babyboomers to be led by #GenX or #GenY managers because of “old school” thoughts and views. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A3. Older gen’s might see gen y as lacking exp but thats not always the case… sometimes they’re more evolved in other aspects #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
#TChat A3: New technology; new techniques; new rules; new jobs; new authorityAbby
A3: It isn’t harder if the younger leader has authenticity, integrity and actually has believable plans for growth. #TChatJanis Stacy
A3: upbringing that bosses need grey hair #TChatBill Boorman
A3. Sometimes veterans assume that new pros don’t understand the biz (whatever biz) I resist that and collaborate with new pros #TchatGuy Davis
A3: Lack of trust, doubt, fear of being reorganized out. #TChatAndrew Henck
A3, Speaking as an “old white guy” It somehow seems outside the natural order of things #TchatDave Ryan, SPHR
A3 both parties lacking a solid understanding of generational differences and how to appeal to each other #tchatShawn LaCroix
A3. I think its hard to accept change- in other gens you worked hard and put in your time and waited to move up. now its different #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
Q4: What can orgs do better to assess & execute cultural fit… as well as employee & leadership development? #TChatMark Babbitt
A4: I’ve met some really smart people who are smart about getting stuff done. But dumb about #leading people. #Justsaying #TchatLara Zuehlke
A4: My last interviewed, they really believe I have the talent, culture et all, but concerned I’ve become obsolete. Age.. #TChatJanis Stacy
A4: giving every employee access to knowledge, and resources that can potentially be exchanged #TChatNissrine Ghannoum
A4: Who’s got a trendier word for Leader? Feels a bit dated! #TChatSean Charles
A4: Spotting a leader is when you look at the person not their birth certificate #tchatJen Olney
A4: Peer mentoring, highlighting differences, sharing roles, transparency. #TChatJulia Gabor
#tchat A4: #socialtech will make culture easier, added transparency, collaboration and cross functional aptitude, builds interconnected orgsFormation
A4: Great leaders can get their team to put their differences aside to work towards a common goal. Reward goals met, deadlines beat. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A4: People and Positive communication come first! #tchatTara Markus
A4: Lateral #leadership helps to break down the emotional barriers that stunt progress. #tchatBrent Skinner
A4 find ways to reward collaboration..up and down the chain. #tchatKeith Punches
A4: Give all your employees a leadership responsibility & see who shines with passion #TChatSean Charles
A4: Focus on accomplishments and acts of innovation & greatness, not so much on yrs of exp or age. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A4. Engage from the core…not top down or bottom up. The dots need to be connected with 360 peripheral vision. #tchatSalima Nathoo
A4: Stop trying to be everything to everybody. Realize not e’one is going to fit in your culture even if they have the experience. #TchatLara Zuehlke
A4 If orgs want to assess fit & development, become a learning culture, supporting ppl working & learning in various ways #tchatClaire Crossley
A4: The culture of a company all comes down to how the employees are treated. #TChatSpark Hire
#TChat A4 – New Economic Culture = more collaboration, lot less micro-managing. generations working together & solving issues.Michael!
A4: Listen & Learn – stretch out & shape new ideas – build relationship & trust. Lead with truth & best of intentions. #tchatTara Markus
A4: Define “Cultural Fit” upfront and understand it is the first step I think. #TChatJanis Stacy
A4: Don’t emphasize the variety of generations in your workforce, focus on the talent. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A4. Make your culture transparent. Flaunt it. Candidates will apply if it matches their values #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A4: Orgs need to spend time to define their values and understand what contributes to culture. only then can they discern who fits #tchatGeorge LaRocque
A4: Communication. It always comes back to the basics. Management listens to employees and vice versa. #TChatSimplicant
#TChat A4 – I think with the economy changing the workforce, culture is being redefined, even as we speak.Michael!
A4: Increase managers’ understanding of generational characteristics+the impact of their own management practices on these groups. #tchatInside Jobs
#TChat A4: Create an environment where different workers and skills work together and learn together. Otherwise there’s always divisionAbby
A4: Trust your gut. Too many times we rely on BS metrics & fail to listen to our intuition & fail to watch things like body language. #TchatLara Zuehlke
A4: Recognize generations learn differently & are motivated by different things. What works for #babyboomers wn’t work for #GenX, etc #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A4. set up networking events for candidates to meet-greet-learn. it’s like a job fair but SOOOOOO much better #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
#TChat A4 – Asking candidates what they want in a company culture, how will they help get the org there? What do they bring to the table?Michael!
A4 #teamability @DrJanice #tchatSteve
A4. Listen->Listen->Learn->Let Go->Lead #tchatSalima Nathoo
A4 I really dont think culture fit is going to mean the same thing in the new world of work #TChatBill Boorman
A4: Need to take full advantage of the knowledge of their experienced workers+rethink paradigms about what work is+how it gets done. #tchatInside Jobs
A4. Only on-board those who fit the culture #TchatDave Ryan, SPHR
A4 how about listen and learn vs following the status quo???? #TchatRebel Brown
Q5: Can technologies help facilitate the older employee/younger manager dynamic… and how? #TChatMark Babbitt
A5: That’s assuming tech’s a barrier! Part of taking time to understand employees is finding HOW to best connect—ask & experiment. #tchatShawna Kelly
A5 you don’t have to lose your edge to old age. Technology is the great equalizer. A yearn to learn is cancer to ignorance. #tchatKeith Punches
A5: Regardless of technology, u should know manual methold for a task. What if power goes out? Learn the basics, appreciate the tech. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A5: #tchat Technology is a tool to enhance relationships. Make sure you do the work to start the relationship off on the right foot.Rebecca Jo Luke
A5: Tech is a great connector. Still comes down to integrity of the interaction, intention of the communication & mutual openness #tchatLara Zuehlke
A5: Anything that gets people talking and recognising each other helps integration #TChatBill Boorman
I think: Knowledge knows no age, only limit is the WANT to get the education at any age! #TChat A5Michael!
A5:Tech provides opportunity 4 experiential moments & productivity btwn any staff. Leaders must set the groundwork for it to happen. #TChatJulia Gabor
A5: #Tech engages all who are willing and interested #tchatKathy Herndon, GPHR
A5: technologies inspire connectivity and community- fueling leadership. Provide tech for open internal dialogue #tchatMegan Rene Burkett
A5: Tech bridges the gap in generation – both young and old are still learning how to adapt to the changing environment #tchatJen Olney
#Tchat A5 Tech has allowed older workers to be active for more years, the young talent helps them stay relevant & this includes leadership.ALEX BOTTOM
A5: I have #GenX friends who don’t have a FB profile, while I also know #Babyboomers who are tech savvy. Age knows no boundaries. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A5 I’m not quite sold that tech is age issue; I know some fine tech peeps, from 3 yrs old (no kidding) to 90yrs. Comfort? #tchatClaire Crossley
A5: Yes, technology brings increased engagement opportunities which builds trust & rapport #TChatSean Charles
A5: Technology erases physical age. Know the technology or become history! #TChatJanis Stacy
#TChat A5: Absolutely. Look at what how we’re communicating right nowAbby
A5 yes, but if done correctly, no differently than enabling other human interactions. It’s an issue of leadership, culture, adoption #TChatBrian Rensing
A5: With workplace technology advances, older/younger employees’ experience & knwldge can compliment ea other. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A5 a time machine seems like it would help out generational understanding. #tchat #billandtedsexcellentadventureShawn LaCroix
A5. each gen needs to embrace it– if used well, it can increase communication and build/maintain relationships #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5 Technology is native to younger, a learning curve to older #tchat Young-dont be arrogant, Old-dont be defensiveRobert Moore
#TChat A5::: absolutely, enough said.Formation
A5: Technology bridges a divide that often keeps barriers of position/title based on age/experience. #TChatAndrew Henck
A5 – #TChat – as Tech becomes more “social” older using it, younger get it and are teaching others to use in day to day.Michael!
#truelife #truestory #badgirl #facebook #tchat #woman #women #funny #lol #jokescosa76
Attention, #TChat! See #HRTechChat Fri 9/28 @ 2pmET/11amPT -> #HRTech & the Free Agent #Workforce: http://ht.ly/e1iVpBrent Skinner
#HRTechChat: They Used to Pick Up the Telephone for That | Talent Management TechThere’s a technology for that. It’s called the telephone. They should pick it up and call their staff. That’s rich. #HRTechChat Lead Co-h…

Leaders Young & Old: #TChat Preview

Here’s a pop quiz: When was the last time you reported to a manager older than yourself? Younger than yourself? The workforce is multi-generational, but unlike 10 or even 20 years ago, age is not the primary determinant of management status. Many organizations are less hierarchical by design; matrix management may have fallen out of favor as a leadership style, but in many workplaces it’s the de facto organizational structure.

From an HR or leadership point of view it’s clear talent shouldn’t be chosen by age, but for raw ability, skills and vision. Leaders must combine strategic understanding of the business’s goals with tactical ability to execute to plan. They need soft skills too — lots of capable individuals don’t have what it takes to lead.

So we’re puzzling here at TalentCulture World of Work about multi-generational workforces, why (or if) it’s problematic for older workers to be led by the younger ones (because they say “like” every other word, perhaps?), and how to achieve cultural fit when managers are younger than their staffs.

The term “reverse mentoring” has come up, but we’re curious what the crowd thinks, so we’re throwing it open to our #TChat tribe to help us find clarity. We’re also wondering if there’s technology out there that may help smooth out the younger manager–older worker dynamic. Here are a few of the questions we’ll be discussing this week:

Q1: Used to be, age was synchronous with seniority & mgmt. How has the multi-generational workforce changed that?

Q2: Does leadership come when experience meets the right context of strategy, tactics & soft skills? Why or not?

Q3: Why is it so hard for older workers to be led by younger ones beyond the usual cliches?

Q4: What can orgs do better to assess & execute cultural fit as well as employee & leadership development?

Q5: What technologies can help facilitate the older employee/younger manager dynamic and how?

Please join us Wednesday night, Sept. 26, from 7-8pm ET (6-7pm CT, 4-5pm PT, or wherever you are). Look for yours truly (@MeghanMBiro) and Kevin W. Grossman (@KevinWGrossman) on the #TChat stream. We’re open to your thoughts on reverse mentoring, culture and multi-generational workforces, so bring your thoughts (in 120-character blocks) to this week’s TalentCulture #TChat.

We’re fortunate to have guest moderator Mark Babbitt (@YouTernMark) and the team at YouTern (@YouTern), where Mark is CEO and founder, lending their wisdom this week as we all explore reverse mentoring, culture and the many roles workers will fill as they progress through life.

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

The State of the Multigenerational World of Work: #TChat Preview

Here’s an interesting people factoid: At least three generations are playing in the workplace sandbox today, with a fourth set to join soon. The Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y are about to welcome Gen Z, sometimes called Gen 9/11. And we have more expected to arrive in the next decade.

While the entrance of a new generation into the workplace often signals the exit of another, we don’t expect Boomers to move on to retirement as quickly as anticipated. Longer lifespans, better healthcare and a failing economy are creating unusual pressure on would-be retirees, keeping many in the workplace — and skewing the demand curve for younger workers. Plus, Boomers are a populous generation, and their sheer numbers constitute a variable contributing to these circumstances.

All of this puts enormous pressure on leadership and HR. What some may miss, however, is how much pressure it puts on workers in the multigenerational workplace. Older workers may fear layoffs designed to bring in younger, cheaper labor. They are scrambling to keep skills current. Young workers may be exasperated by mature workers who are perceived as less hip to social technologies, yet the younger ones may lack the ability and seasoning to be strategic and make good decisions.

So how do HR professionals, their leadership and other business leaders keep the peace in the multigenerational workforce? And how do they keep pace? Fresh blood needs to be coming in — even when there’s a hiring freeze. How can you ensure that everyone has access to the training necessary to keep skills current? How do you keep talent motivated for that training? A mixed team must pull in the same direction. That’s a challenge.

Join us Wednesday for “#TChat, The World of Work,” when we’ll be looking at the impact of the multigenerational workplace on leadership, HR and recruiting. Here are this week’s questions:

Q1: There are fewer jobs today for all generations, so what are we to do?
Q2: How do the generations adapt their skill sets to what’s needed today in business?
Q3: Who are we loyal to today? The employer, the brand, the work and/or the team? And why?
Q4: What generation are you and what kind of communication and collaboration tech do you use for work? And why?
Q5: How do business leaders best marshal the talents of a multigenerational team?

Again, that’s #TChat on Wednesday, May 30, from 7-8 pm ET (6-7 pm CT, 4-5 pm PT, or wherever you are). Please join us to talk about the multigenerational workforce. Marla Gottschalk, a friend of mine who happens to be an industrial & organizational psychologist specializing in corporate culture, innovation strategies and organizational change, will be your moderator, backed up by me (@MeghanMBiro) and Kevin W. Grossman (@KevinWGrossman). Supporting us as we all field and respond to your many tweets will be Sean Charles (@SocialMediaSean), Salima Nathoo (@SocialSalima) and Brent Skinner (@BrentSkinner). We’ve got multiple generations on our minds, so join us. See you there!

image credit: Generation Gap, by xflickrx

Gen Z in the Workplace

There was a great discussion, and at times, debate, on #TChat last week, all about Generation Z and the workplace.  It feels like we just learned about Gen Y and how to engage them in the workplace, and it’s already time to prepare for Gen Z!

Most people consider Gen Z, also called “Digital Natives”, to be those young people born around the mid 1990s to the mid 2000s.  They are the first generation to be born into a completely digital age, hence the name “digital natives”.

Before I get into some research and predictions around this next generation, let me say this: I don’t believe in generalizing an entire generation.  I have worked with amazing Gen Yers who had work ethic in spades, with Gen Xers who weren’t latchkey kids who depended on mom for many things, and with Boomers who know more about computers than I ever will (I’m a Gen Xer).  However, there are bound to be some trends as different generations are brought up through such different social, economic, and technological times.

Intro to Gen Z

Gen Z’s most formative years have seen America attacked by terrorists, people losing jobs and homes in a severe economic recession, and the first black President of the United States. They have seen the power of social media in creating superstars and taking down governments. They have computers in their classrooms and many have their own websites or at least Facebook pages by age 10. Gen Zers have a benefit that Gen Yers missed: Their parents – mostly Gen X – were already adept at navigating social media, had seen mistakes made, and are more prepared to coach their kids through that space strategically.

Now for a few predictions and suggestions for the workplace.

Recruitment Efforts

If you’re not going social, you’re not going to get the best talent. Building a community around your brand and its values will help to engage these new workers. They were born on Facebook, quite literally. Use Youtube, use humour, go viral with your recruitment efforts.

Organizational Culture

Posting your company culture statement on the wall and preaching it to your employees never worked, but as time goes on, it continues to be less and less effective. Your employees, your customers, your business partners, are all talking about you. Publicly. If you’re not living up to the words on your poster, they will know. It will become more and more important for companies to build positive, transparent, and trusted cultures in order to attract talent.

Types of Jobs

By 2019, when Gen Zers are hitting the workplace, they will be working jobs that we never heard of or could imagine, even in the year 2011.  Contract work will be the new normal.  Multi-tasking will also be more prevalent – and more productive. Gen Y is the first generation who actually can multitask effectively, as shown in recent studies. Gen Z will be even more adept at paying attention and working productively at more than one thing at a time. They will expect it, and will be bored if they don’t get it.

Diversity

It will finally be time to do away with Diversity departments and initiatives. For these workers, Diversity is a given. If you have to focus on it, you don’t get it yet. And they won’t get you. Gen Z will expect that everyone has a voice regardless of opinion, socio-economic background, or race.

Collaboration

Gen Zers don’t quite have the entitlement mentality often associated with Gen Y. Their parents, while protective and micro-managing, saw the effects of the Trophy generation and are trying to resist it. But Gen Zers will still expect to be involved. They see sharing and collaboration everywhere, from social media sharing to Taylor Swift partnering with T-Pain.

Social and Technology at Work

By 2019, forms of social networking for collaboration on projects and recognition will be a given. HR needs to get involved now, or be left in the dust. Innovative companies are employing internal blogs, newsfeeds, e-recognition, and socially networked performance management to align everyone towards the same goals. Check out companies and applications like Rypple, TribeHR, Careerify, Yammer and Achievers for examples of this type of technology. Email is not as popular with this generation. Texting, IM’ing, and Facebook is how they communicate.

Learning

Learning will need to be byte-sized and bite-sized. I picture Gen Zers with the iPhone 23S, scanning QR codes to watch a bite-sized video of learning they need, just in time to complete work. I picture them collaborating in building training, adding to Wikis to build content.

Communication

Gen Zers are used to communicating by text and in status updates on Facebook profiles. They are used to brevity. They may need additional training and coaching in business communication and grammar. Some say their propensity to blog will make them better at written communication, but I have to disagree. The form of communication in a blog is often not grammatically correct, and often times may not be entirely appropriate in business. Although, by the time Gen Zers are running the business world, that will likely change too.

It’s hard to say whether these predictions will come to fruition. We’ll know in about 10 years. In any case, I’m excited to see the impact Gen Z will have, and how the workplace will change. What do you think?

Get Back to Work with Generation Now: #TChat Recap

And then there’s this:

The term was used in a 1964 study of British youth by Jane Deverson. Deverson was asked by Woman’s Own magazine to interview teenagers of the time. The study revealed a generation of teenagers who “sleep together before they are married, were not taught to believe in God as ‘much’, dislike the Queen, and don’t respect parents.” Because of these controversial findings, the piece was deemed unsuitable for the magazine. Deverson, in an attempt to save her research, worked with Hollywood correspondent Charles Hamblett to create a book about the study. Hamblett decided to name it Generation X. (Whatever happened to the original Generation X?. The Observer. January 23, 2005.)

That’s part of my generation’s namesake. A proud moment indeed, although I was taught to believe in God and I respected my parents. Just sayin’.

For us to better understand the generations around us, we’ve named, we’ve labeled, we’ve classified, we’ve categorized, we’ve stereotyped. We’ve taken date ranges and created generational groups and aligned specific traits with each, knowing that the long tail on either end will have fewer of those shared traits.

And as it applies to the workforce today, we’ve created a booming industry around how best to assess and place the generations in the workplace, because we all know how unmanageable those wily Millennials are (i.e., Gen Y, those born somewhere between the mid-1970′s and the mid 1990′s). Plus, there’s these Gen Z kids today with their digital nativism and hyper-connective collaboration while us Gen Xers and Boomers destroy the global economic engine.

Right, that last part is already in play unfortunately; it’s not just the younger generations that shred the societal fabric.

It’s been said that Millenials will have at least 7-8 careers in their lifetimes. Again, I’m a Gen Xer and I’ve already had 7 to date. Many of my peers can relate to the path of “I wanted to be this but I fell into that, and that, and that.” There are now five generations in the workplace who are scrambling to stay afloat in this post-apocalyptic economy, even with the hot spots in emerging economies such as Brasil, India and China.

Months ago I wrote that some of the most exciting business startup activity in over a decade is coming from a mixed generational group, young and old alike, all re-imaging the way and why of work within an emotional connectivity and cultural inclusivity. I still say that’s the trend, as well as the fact that contingent workers, consultants, and independent contractors of all ages will make up as much as 35% of the total U.S. workforce within a decade.

But it’s the bucket generalizations that bother me the most, because if we’re truly focused on getting the job engine started again, and hiring and promoting for the highest quality of fit and productivity, then each individual needs to be assessed on their own merits including experiences, skills, education, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, collaboration, adaptability and the like, not based on a broad-stroke labels that help sell books and create media soundbytes, but aren’t going to help businesses thrive.

Stop the name calling. Let’s just call us all Generation Now and get the world back to work.

Read Matt Charney’s precap here as well as the questions.

The #TChat Twitter chat and #TChat Radio are created and hosted by MeghanMBiro and KevinWGrossman, and powered by our friends and partners:  TalentCultureMonster_WORKSMonsterCareersHRmarketer, and of course Focus.

The World of Work for New Grads: #TChat Preview

Originally posted by Charles Purdy, one of #TChat’s moderators, on Monster Thinking Blog

It’s not just that many recent grads are new to the world of work — it’s also that the world of work has changed quite a lot in recent years. The tumultuous economy, fast-changing technologies, and the social-media revolution (just to name a few factors) have made the workplace 2011′s grads are entering a very different place from the one 2oo1′s experienced.

Of course, many of the questions new grads face — such as “Should I follow my passions or work on finding a stable career?” “What mistakes should I beware of?” and even “Was my four-year degree really necessary?” — aren’t questions that only young people ask. We’re all dealing with these questions to some extent.

If you’re a new or recent grad looking for answers, a job seeker with questions about the new world of work, or anyone who has career wisdom to share, join #TChat tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern (5 p.m. Pacific). This is sure to be a lively discussion!

#TChat Questions and Recommended Reading (06.07.11)

Here are tonight’s questions, along with some posts on emerging workforce issues we think are worth checking out.  This background reading isn’t mandatory to get in on tonight’s #TChat action, but we suggest checking out these articles by top career-advice and talent-management thought leaders before the chat (or if you missed it):

Q1: Should 2011’s new grads follow their passions, or focus on finding a stable career?

Read: How to Find Your Calling: Lessons from Larry Crowne by Monster College

Q2: What rookie mistakes are new grads in danger of making in the workplace?

Read: The Worst Career Advice Continually Given to College Seniors by Emily Bennington

Q3: What are some tactics a new grad needs to employ in a troubled employment market?

Read: Job Search Tips for New Grads: Standing Out From the Growd by Charles Purdy

Q4: Do you think a four-year degree (at least) is necessary for career security?

Read: Should You Go Back To School? by Jacob Milner

Q5: What makes this generation of young workers different from those of 20 years ago?

Read: Workplace Entitlement? C’mon, Mom Told Us All We Were Special by Kevin Grossman

Q6: How do you think this decade’s crop of new grads will transform the workplace?

Read: The Non-Generational Talent of American Workers by Peter Weddle

Q7: What’s the best piece of career advice new grads need to hear right now?

Read: Recession Job-Search Tips for New Grads by Margot Carmichael Lester

Monster’s social media team supports #TChat’s mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate — the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”

We’ll be joining the conversation every Tuesday night as co-hosts with Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman from 8-9 p.m. (Eastern) via @MonsterCareers and @Monster_Works.

GenY: Challenge of "Doing It All" and Technology Overload

Today’s post is by Katrina Kibben — Social Media Manager at Care.com, an innovative and resourceful social media marketing professional who enjoys helping companies of all sizes use traditional and nontraditional tactics to increase profitability and product awareness. She is working with Care.com’s annual event, Care@Work, which develops smarter ways to work by using new tools, technologies and strategies to find the balance between life at work and at home.

This is not your father’s workplace anymore – literally. This year, the oldest Baby Boomers are turning 65 years old, including President Bill Clinton. This means that the 79 million baby boomers, about 26 percent of this country’s population will be retiring in the next few years.

Another generation will make an important milestone this year – Generation Y, the Millennials – are turning 30 years old. The 30’s are known as the decade of “middle management” and parenthood.  But Generation Y feels differently about the “ladder” of success.

As the country comes out of the recession, the Millennals are looking for a sense of mission. They want a sense of ownership over their lives, either in the place that they work or in the lives they create for themselves outside of it. A workplace is relative and all preconceptions about job security are shattered. Their lives and desires aren’t dramatically different from generations before them, but the confluence of circumstances are – and more and more, this generation believes that they too can “do it all” but their definition of how and what that means is dramatically different.

Between these two generations, there has been a revolution in the office that has increased the influence of women and transformed the paradigm of the workplace. At the same time technology has revolutionized the way we work and our understanding of how we can work differently.

While current working parents, particularly working moms, have been told that they can “do it all,” modern working parents have found that having a Blackberry doesn’t necessarily help them to be flexible so much as feeling tethered, perpetuating a generation of working parents that find a blurred line between work and life that has inspired a generation of workers who are in a constant state of distraction, leading to the social acceptance of the furtive glances down and the feverish tapping everywhere – from office meetings to family dinners.

But as we innovate are we working more efficiently or are we simply working more?

Care.com’s Focus Forward conference is about designing the future of work where companies work for people, and people work for companies in ways that are smarter, faster, higher impact—and more sustainable, too. At a time when there have never been more distractions–and more pressure to deliver results–the event will examine how great companies command attention from customers by, first, holding the attention of their employees.

IMAGE VIA eirikso

The Changing Identities of Today’s Workforce: #TChat Preview

Originally posted by Matt Charneyone of #TChat’s moderators, on MonsterThinking Blog

Last week’s #TChat asked the question, “Should I Stay Or Should I Go,” and the conversation underscored compelling data that suggests that a mass exodus of talent seems imminent, a trend that threatens to impact employers irrespective of company size or overall headcount.

Employees and job seekers with small business experience and their counterparts from large company backgrounds face a similar career conundrum: what kind of employer is right for me? For an increasingly large percentage of the workforce, that answer comes down to transforming their personal brand into, well, a personal brand.

But what, exactly, does this new class of independent workers call themselves? Terms like consultant, contractor and contingent worker are frequently used interchangeably on resumes and job descriptions alike, but what, exactly, is the difference?

For many of us, what we do forms, in large part, who we are; but what do non-traditional, non-employees, well, call themselves? Are they marketing a small business or a start-up? Are they an entrepreneur or a gun for hire? It even seems looking for a job has increasingly turned into a business development proposition.

Whether building a brand or a bottom line, identity matters. But it’s often lost in today’s increasingly complex world of work. Tonight’s #TChat: “Am I A Temp, A Consultant, An Entrepreneur or a Small Business?” will take a look at the changing identities of today’s workforce – and its repercussions for employers and job seekers alike.

Join the conversation at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT with hosts @meghanmbiro @TalentCulture @kevinwgrossman and @monster_works and let us know what you think about the seismically shifting employment mix – and where you fit in.

For the first time this week, we’re asking a question in advance. So if you can’t wait until 8, let us know, “How Do You Classify Yourself In Today’s Workforce?” You don’t have to vote in advance; will let you submit your answer and we’ll reveal the results live on #TChat!

The Changing Identities of Today’s Workforce: 4.12.11 #TChat Questions and Recommended Reading

Here are tonight’s #TChat questions, along with some recommended reading, to help prepare, and inform, your participation in tonight’s conversation about personal identity and career management in today’s workforce.

Q1 (Poll): How do you classify yourself in today’s workforce? Full-time, part-time, temp – what?

Take The Survey

Q2: Has the latest downturn created more independents and “entrepreneurs”? Why?

Read: The Great Recession’s Effect on Entrepreneurship by Scott Shane (Federal Reserve)

Q3: What challenges are there transitioning from employed to independent or vice versa?

Read: More Jobs Shifting from Full Time to Contract by Larry Buhl

Q4: What’s the difference between a contractor, a temp or a consultant, if any?

Read: 5 Tips for Engaging Contingent Workers by Kevin Sheridan

Q5: What’s behind the rise in companies use in contingent workers and contractors? Good thing? Bad?

Read: From One to Many by Alice Snell

Q6: Do companies have different hiring standards for contingent workers? Should they?

Read: Why Are Hiring Managers Scared of Entrepreneurs? by David Mesicek

Q7: How has technology changed the employment mix? Increased startups?

EMBED: 2011 IT Job Market Report

Q8: So, are job titles now obsolete? How should we rethink careers and the why of work?

Read: If You Think Job Titles Don’t Matter… by Dawn Hrdlica

Visit www.talentculture.com for more great information on #TChat and resources on culture fatigue and how to overcome it!

Our Monster social media team supports the effort behind #TChat and its mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate – the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”

We’ll be joining the conversation live every Tuesday night as co-hosts with Kevin Grossman and Meghan M. Biro from 8-9 PM E.T. via @monster_works and @MonsterWW. Hope to see you tonight at 8 PM ET for #TChat!

Embracing Generational Differences in the Workplace?

On a recent #TChat, the topic was Generations in the Workplace.  It’s always intriguing to hear people talk about this in HR because this isn’t a “new” issue.  There have been generations in the workplace – FOREVER!

Also, many HR people and consultants alike tend to want to take this topic to the point of emphasizing the differences between generations instead of focusing on their strengths.  HR would be such a powerful force in organizations if we broke the paradigm of “Let’s fix what’s wrong or different” and instead approached issues from a position of strength and identified how these differences make us more valuable.

Let me give you an example . . .

Growing up, I got hooked on rock music and one of the first mind-blowing groups I couldn’t get enough of was Led Zeppelin.  Now, even though this may date me, I listened to these rock gods on vinyl – Glorious, crackly vinyl.  I wore out my albums listening to them over and over.

When I got towards the end of high school, people starting recording music on cassettes.  Now you could take your music with you to play in your car, in other people’s houses on their stereo systems, or even in your Sony Walkman.  We were amazed that music could travel with us.

Then, in college I actually remember the day when a fellow student brought in a shiny round disc and said it was music.  I didn’t believe him, but as he laid the disc into this gigantic box of a player – here came Led Zeppelin in crystal clear sound.  No cracks, no skips – just Jimmy Page and Robert Plant bringing the rock.

After college, music continued to evolve and this thing called the iPod came along and now I could get music digitally.  Not only that, but I could add the other 5,000+ songs from my CD, cassette and vinyl collections all on one player AND take it with me!

So, what does Led Zeppelin and modes of music have to do with generations?  It’s simple . . . even though I have listened to Led Zeppelin on albums, cassettes, CDs and an iPod . . . the music remained the same.

Just as the four generations in our current workplaces are from different eras, the value and quality of their skills, knowledge and work remain the same.  Our modes may be different with technology or flextime or other cultural issues, but in the end the generations are always working to the same goal of great work and a great company,

So, quit trying to tear generations apart.  Let’s focus on the strengths that every generation brings to work every day!

Why Do We Have Workplace Culture Clashes? #TChat Recap

It’s the way we organize the universe.

We categorize and label everything; there’s just too much stuff out there and in our heads to manage otherwise.  We’d be blathering fools if we didn’t.

Sure, Mr. Steve Levy and I would agree that there are still too many blathering idiots in the world today, regardless of how organized they are, and they span generations.

Don’t look at us that way.

Generations — those categorizations we give to groups born over specific timeframes, like the Traditionalists (the silent generation), Baby Boomers, Gen X (the me generation, which is mine), Gen Y, Gen Z…

The over-arching question last night on #TChat was:  Do generations matter at work? The easy answer for most of those who participated was no, even though for many of us we know the answer is still unfortunately yes.

Kind of.

We expect the Traditionalists to be non-technical and Gen Y and Z to be, well, androids.  But that’s not the case — my 78-year-old dad is pretty darn good with computers, while I’ve met some young folk who couldn’t find their bottom from a hole in the ground (that’s my dad talking, not me).  No Justin Bieber fever here, and never in 3-D.

We expect our elders to be the more seasoned and smarter leaders and mentors in the workplace today, but there have been plenty of less experienced and younger, more emotionally intelligent leaders and mentors who’s impulse control trumps that of fallible old folks.

Don’t look at me that way.

Which is why mentoring shouldn’t be based on the supposed pro-rookie partnership; it should encompass bi-directional ages and experiences of all kinds.

Of course I’m speaking in generalities, but that’s the way I keep the universe organized.  The reality is we try to wrap macros around that which is unique to an individual, and when you try to wrap your head around that, you can get blathering-idiot syndrome.

But that’s now we’re supposed to recruiting and hire and develop — based on what is unique to the individual that helps to fill a specific role in a company.  I really liked the way Jillian Walker summed it up last night:

Recruit > hire on ability; Engage > determine wants; Manage > be flexible; Lead > push their limits, encourage best of the best.

Hey, the opacity in the world and the workplace is getting thinner, allowing for more of the now clichéd “transparency” to light our way.

The new transparency allows the light to shine where it never shone before.  Now, that’s not always a good thing, but more often than not, it keeps most of us honest when it comes to revealing our experience and knowledge and where the “skills” gaps are (LinkedIn profiles, blogs).  Although this is a stereotypical trend since most younger generations brought up online and in social media embrace transparency easier than older generations.  And there are still lots of folks who don’t play online, across generations.  Just check out the stats and demographics at Pew Internet.

Because we label is why we have workplace culture clashes, which is why I prefer Gen Zen, especially in our highly integrated work/life globally dispersed worlds.

I agree with Matt Charney and how he put it all together in his preview:  It  turns out that generations in the workplace share more in common than a workplace.

Indeed it does.

Mercy, it was a record turnout last night on #TChat — over 300 fine folk participated during the hour.  Thank you everyone!  Check out last night’s transcript and here were the questions we asked:

  • Q1)  What myths exist about workplace generational dynamics? Generational realities?
  • Q2)  Are there emerging personality traits, skill sets for hiring GenY, GenX, Baby Boomers, etc.?
  • Q3)  Who is currently the most “invisible” generation in the workplace and why? Most “visible”?
  • Q4) How do savvy workplace cultures recruit, engage, manage and lead all generations?
  • Q5) How does new media and global connectivity help/hinder generational gaps in the workplace?
  • Q6) How can inter-generational workforces spark innovation and evolve culture?
  • Q7) How does the term “reverse mentoring” help bridge generational divides in the workplace?

Thanks again everyone for joining us last night!  We’re taking next week off (March 8), so we’ll see you the week after on March 15.

Join the conversation live every Tuesday night as co-hosts with Kevin Grossman and Meghan M. Biro from 8-9 PM E.T. via @monster_works and @MonsterWW.  Hope to see you next time on March 15 at 8 PM ET for #TChat!

Do Generations Matter At Work?: #TChat Preview

Originally posted by Matt Charneyone of #TChat’s moderators, on MonsterThinking Blog

In 2012, the first members of Gen Y turn 30.  And while thought leaders and academics continue to depict millennials as this strange, unprecedented breed to be studied and analyzed (Bieber fever being an obvious symptom), that generation’s cutting edge has been busy acclimating into the workforce, where they’ve been for over 5 years.

Of course, this potentially disruptive force on the workplace entered a market where the workplace was already disrupted by forces far stronger than helicopter parents and socialized narcissism.

Contrary to popular myth, it’s not Gen Y who’s changing the workplace; it’s the workplace that’s changing Gen Y.  Those lucky enough to get the paucity of jobs are no longer naïve idealists, but battle hardened survivors.

While some Gen X and Boomers struggle with being overqualified, most of Gen Y haven’t had the chance to pick up those qualifications.  This new world of work, of virtual offices and inter-connectivity and contract gigs, looks a lot like the kind of impact Gen Y workers were supposed to have made. Instead, they’ve inherited what’s become their – and our – collective reality.

They call Gen Y digital natives, but in fact, most of those millennials in the workforce remember life without an internet; those who can’t remember life without social media are still in diapers.  When those true “digital natives” enter the workforce, the millennials of today are going to look a lot like Gen Xers do now.  Who’ll look a lot like Boomers today.

For Gen Y, home ownership is likely a dream that will never be realized; so too is the possibility of a defined and linear career path, job security, employer benefits, pensions or a gold watch at retirement.  Even retirement itself looks iffy.

So, it  turns out that generations in the workplace share more in common than a workplace.

We’re all just trying to do the best we can, while learning as much as we can along the way.  And aspiration is a trait that transcends generations.  We’re hoping to do the same with tonight’s #TChat, where the topic tonight is: “Do Generations Matter At Work?”

Do Generations Matter at Work?  – #TChat Questions and Recommended Reading (3.1.11)

Whether you’re a Boomer, a Gen Xer, a Millennial or an “other,” we hope you can join the #TChat conversation about generations at work tonight at 8 PM ET.

Here are the questions we’ll be discussing, along with some recommended reading to help inform, and inspire, your understanding of tonight’s topic of generations in the workplace.

Q1)  What myths exist about workplace generational dynamics? Generational realities?

Read: Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number by Matt Charney

Q2)  Are there emerging personality traits, skill sets for hiring GenY, GenX, Baby Boomers, etc.?

Read: The Non-Generational Talent of American Workers by Peter Weddle

Q3)  Who is currently the most “invisible” generation in the workplace and why? Most “visible”?

Read: Just Shut Up and Listen to What Younger Workers Have to Say by Ron Thomas

Q4) How do savvy workplace cultures recruit, engage, manage and lead all generations?

Read:A Modern Perspective on Generations and Engagement by Ryan Estis

Q5) How does new media and global connectivity help/hinder generational gaps in the workplace?

Read: The Aging Workforce and Gen Y: Bridge the Social Media Generation Gap by Rob Salkowitz

Q6) How can inter-generational workforces spark innovation and evolve culture?

Read: The ‘Whys’ for Gen Y: Workplace Culture Considerations by Heather Huhman

Q7) How does the term “reverse mentoring” help bridge generational divides in the workplace?

Read: Manager’s Tips to Mend Intergenerational Communication by Kate Wildrick

Visit www.talentculture.com for more great information on #TChat and resources on culture fatigue and how to overcome it!

Our Monster social media team supports the effort behind #TChat and its mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate – the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”

We’ll be joining the conversation live every Tuesday night as co-hosts with Kevin Grossman and Meghan M. Biro from 8-9 PM E.T. via @monster_works and @MonsterWW.  Hope to see you tonight at 8 PM ET for #TChat!

The 'Whys' for Gen Y: Workplace Culture Considerations

Today’s young professionals want different things than previous generations before them. Organizations are learning they need to adapt in order to attract these talented Millennials to their workplaces. What does Gen Y seek in an ideal workplace culture?

Flexibility

Gen Y values a high starting salary and financial security, but they also value flexibility in their work schedule and benefits. According to statistics, about 85% of Gen Y members want to spend 30-70% of their time working from home. In order to attract top talent from Generation Y, an organization’s workplace must provide some degree of flexibility.

Mentorship

Young professionals need someone to help guide them through their first years as entry-level professionals. When choosing an ideal workplace, their number one request was to work with a manager they could respect and learn from. Not sure where to start? Read my previous post about how to create and sustain a mentorship program.

Professional Tevelopment

Members of Generation Y thrive on ongoing learning and professional development opportunities. They typically are already thinking beyond their current role and realize they need con

State-of-the-Art Technology

According to statistics, Millennials rank working with state-of-the-art technology number six on their list of ideal workplace environment. Because young professionals grew up in the age of quickly evolving technology and trends, they expect the same in their place of work.

A Challenge

Although many people peg Gen Y as “job hoppers,” they often leave their jobs because they’re simply bored. Provide a challenge for them in the workplace by giving them more responsibility or the lead on a new project to keep them interested in their work.

Opportunity for Advancement

Show Gen Y employees they’ll have more than just a job if they work for you—they’ll have the opportunity to have increased responsibility, gain new skills and make more money if they stick around.

For more on what Gen Y expects in a workplace, check out this infographic loaded with statistics here.

5 Important Workplace Factors: Recruiting & Retaining Today’s Young Professionals

The young professionals you will be trying to attract to your organization today are members of Generation Y, also known as Millennials or The Internet Generation. Technology was a part of their childhood and still plays a huge role in their everyday lives. They don’t have many boundaries between work and life, are tech-savvy and innovative, and in high-demand.

Opportunity

Generation Y expects several types of opportunities in their professional career. Number one, they are looking for a chance to grow and excel in a company – somewhere that will give them opportunity for promotions and other perks if they perform well and choose to stay there long enough.

They also are looking for opportunities to be challenged. Millennials aren’t looking for “just a job” or to “go through the motions” everyday – they want a job that will utilize their expertise and education in new, challenging and exciting ways.

Finally, Millennials want opportunity for personal and professional growth. This can be through challenging projects, collaborative tasks, conferences, etc. This generation is easily bored, and you need to be able to retain them through offering these types of opportunity.

Flexibility

Gen Y expects flexibility in their work hours, schedule and work environment. Many Millennials want to telecommute or work remotely at their ideal jobs. Although they expect flexible hours and schedule, this generation is more plugged in than any other –meaning they will likely work after their “scheduled” hours and have less boundaries between life and work.

Technology

Since they’ve grown up with the latest gadgets, Millennials expect them in the workplace, as well. They’re used to constant connectivity, and if your workplace doesn’t offer that, they’ll likely look elsewhere.

Culture

In order to recruit today’s young professionals, you need to have a great corporate culture that will intrigue them. Think: socially responsible, innovative and great people to work around. Millennials tend to work for companies that they believe in and share in their mission.

Mentorship

Members of Generation Y want to learn something if they work for you. That’s why providing a mentor for each new young professional is vital to keeping him or her at your organization longer. Not only can a mentor aid in skill development, but also they become a personal connection that the employee trusts in your workplace.

With more than 80 million members of this generation, you’ll need to understand them in order to attract and retain them at your company. For more information on Generation Y in the workplace, download an infographic loaded with statistics here.