In a study by Robert Half, chief financial officers were asked: In which one of the following areas do you see the greatest differences among your company’s employees who are from different generations? (See the study here>>)
Where do you see generational differences?
- 30% communication skills
- 26% adapting to change
- 23% technical skills
- 14% cross-departmental collaboration
- 7% none
Seriously? This information is meaningless. My business partner and I could have cited the same things about each other (we frequently do) and we’re six months apart in age.
Question: have you ever been in any organization where all communications are smooth? Well, of course not! Stop blaming millennials! Do you want to fix what’s wrong or keep blaming ghosts that will never go away?
Here’s my fix, not some boondoggle of an intergenerational management philosophy.
- Communicate the soul of the company to your employees; your “core values.” What behaviors are expected and non-negotiable in your organization? I don’t care how old you are, properly documented, your core values are either being carried out by employees no matter their age – or they’re not. If someone doesn’t embrace your core values, help them find another place to work.
- Clearly communicate your vision for teams and the company. Communicate expectations. Then communicate your vision and expectations again. And again…until people are making fun of you. Everybody wants to know WHY they are doing what they’re doing. I don’t care if you’re 80 or 18. If employees understand the “why,” they’ll better understand your expectations and decide if they want to be part of the organization. If they’re never going to ‘get it,’ why do you want them around? If you’re coddling anyone, trust me; everyone knows you’re doing it. Stop it. Help them find another place to work.
- Consider what each individual can bring to your organization. Forget about their generation and age. Even people who are exactly the same age can think and operate in diametrically opposed ways. Mike Miller and I are oil and water in many respects…but we complement each other and appreciate what the other brings to the equation. Amazingly, we’ve created a company that just entered its 15th year despite our vast differences. How can we co-exist and be so different, you may ask? Our core values are the same.
“I know better. You should know better, too.”
Descriptions of Generation X in the media made us out to be the end of humanity. If you saw Mike and me at age 16, you’d probably have agreed with the media. Come to find out, it was actually millennials who were sent to destroy civilization!…
I know better. You should know better, too. We’ve employed some awesome millennials, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for them and their peers who we will surely employ someday. But, we’ll only hire the ones who we have determined are a good fit…and the ones who fooled us? We’ll wish them the best as they find other employment that is a better fit with their core values – the measure that really matters.