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Generational Awareness

“There was no respect for youth when I was young, and now that I am old, there is no respect for age - I missed it coming and going.”
-- J.B. Priestly --

Four Generations and the New Employment Contract
How to Deliver More With Less
Reducing Turnover and Increasing Productivity
The EPIC Edge


Four Generations and the New Employment Contract

You belong to one of four generations of workers in terms of workplace trends. It is always most important to manage to the individual through an understanding of DiSC and other tools first. That said, the context and influence of the societal and business trends of each generation do have an impact on the attitudes, skills, and behaviors of individuals. The rules of engagement have changed and will continue to do so. Do you know how to effectively communicate and work with the members of the other generations you must interact with in the new world of work?

In just about every organization in just about every industry, managers are under increasing pressure from senior executives to deliver on more challenging directives. The directives amount to “get more and better work out of fewer employees using fewer resources.” At the same time, a free agency attitude prevails for a number of reasons.

You’ll recall, the 1990’s began with a downsizing, restructuring, and reengineering revolution that attacked people’s fundamental beliefs about long-term job security. Portability of skills became the new employment contract. Changes in the way business was conducted due to the influx of technology and globalization contributed to the need to respond to greater complexity with more speed. The worldwide business environment became one of high risk and unpredictability. By the end of the 90’s, few employees of any age believed that paying their dues and climbing the corporate ladder would be rewarded with long-term job security and financial payoffs.

Many people have misinterpreted the “Gen X” employee attitude observed when working with millennials as a form of youthful arrogance. Instead, it can be seen as a logical response to the first stages of transformation in the workplace. It was about employees leveraging their talents, skills, time and energy to take care of themselves. It was about employees trying to get what they can from their employer today as there was no assurance that any job or any company for that matter would still exist tomorrow.

How to Deliver More With Less

So the continuing directive of “get more done with less” and the new needs, demands, and expectations of the new employee regardless of age, are understandably going to clash. Managers find that managing and motivating employees now requires more time and skill than ever before. The most effective leaders and managers have learned the power of effective interpersonal communication skills and consistently engage their direct reports in ongoing coaching dialogues about their expectations, goals, performance, and plans for the future. Two such tools include the Adventures in Attitudes training program and the Work Expectations Profile.
Laura A. Davis & Associates can assist you in designing training and coaching programs to facilitate cross-generational dialogue and conversation for improved working relationships in service of a healthier work environment. You can learn to manage the clash between Veterans or Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials, the Internet Generation and whatever comes next. It is another form of inclusion and diversity training whereby people dispel stereotypes and come to understand the worldview of the other person. It is people-whispering at its best in terms of understanding one’s self, understanding the other, crossing the bridge into their world, and learning to partner together going forward.

Reducing Turnover and Increasing Productivity

Attracting and retaining the best talent is and will always be a need for all generations. One solution we offer to assist in bridging the generational gaps is to use the Work Expectations Profile as a tool. Research shows that people who have clearly defined, well-communicated expectations have better attitudes and enjoy greater job satisfaction than people whose expectations go unspoken or unrealized. And companies that employ satisfied, successful people have increased productivity, reduced turnover, and greater employee and customer satisfaction.
In a typical employment situation, certain expectations, such as salary, hours, and job duties are discussed. In our experience, however, many expectations go unspoken or unacknowledged particularly across the generations. The Work Expectations Profile helps people explore 10 work expectations including: Autonomy, Balance, Career Growth, Diversity, Environment, Expression, Recognition, Stability, Structure, and Teamwork.
The employee situations in which this can be a useful tool include the following:
  • Working on a team
  • Transitioning to a new position or experiencing organizational restructuring
  • Creating meaningful performance reviews
  • Making the most of daily routines


Individual Report

The Work Expectations Profile Individual Report makes it even easier for managers and employees to dialogue about their work expectations. The Gap Analysis provides participants with an at-a-glance look at how important each Work Expectations category is to them and to what degree each is being met. This helps them to quickly pinpoint which Work Expectations categories need attention.

Group Report

The Group Report provides a group summary of the Gap Analysis information, which supervisors and managers can use to identify likely sources of dissatisfaction within the group. The organization can use the information to better align the organizational culture with the collective expectations of the group. The report is anonymous, so it can be used in a variety of situations without breaching confidentiality.