I’m teaming up with my former high school student to deliver online training in nutrition and at-home exercise.
Working with Millenials
Working with Millenials and The Dark Side
Darth Vader struggled against his Dark Side that was made up of anger, lust for power, and possessiveness. He and Luke Skywalker were mortal enemies. Yet, in the end, he sacrifices himself out of love for his son, Luke.
Imagine if they had figured this stuff out at the start. It would have made for fewer sequels and prequels but together they would have ruled the galaxy.
Statistics say that the most dangerous part of my day is when I’m getting in an out of the shower.
That’s right… I’m a Baby Boomer.
I’m no different than most of my generation. Be clear, we have greater aspirations than installing an easy-to-grasp safety bar. Economic realities reinforce those feelings.
Additionally, we are told that we share a cultural and workplace nemesis – The Millenials.
It’s YOLO (You Only Live Once) vs. WTHH (What The Hell Happened!?). One generation needs immediate gratification and stimulation. The other lives with regret and the nostalgia of Woodstock and the Peace Movement.
Observers have other names for the respective groups. Time Magazine called the Millenials “The Me, Me, Me Generation” – http://time.com/247/millennials-the-me-me-me-generation/. Boomers have been called “The Worst Generation” due to their perceived mismanagement of the environment, the economy, and international relations.
Millenials have taken the lead as the largest generation. They are defined as the group between the ages of 18 and 34 (as of 2015). Baby Boomers are that portion of the population between ages 51 to 69. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/01/16/this-year-millennials-will-overtake-baby-boomers/
It’s critical for this country’s economy that Baby Boomers and Millenials work together. That doesn’t mean we just tolerate each other. Millenials comprise the largest part of the work force. Their drive, creativity, and desire for teamwork can be great assets to any business.
Baby Boomers represent a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience that can’t be ignored. This is particularly true in mature industries like oil and gas, where they form the brain trust. Replacing the top engineers and executives in industries like these will be difficult.
Some businesses will have five generations working in one place. The organizing question for employees of all ages should be “how can I bring value to the workplace and the community?”
Some people have figured out how to bring in the best young talent –http://www.brazen.com/blog/archive/uncategorized/hiring-millennials-6-tips-recruiting-best-young-talent/ but how do you help them to be productive?
How do you make sure that Boomers transmit their knowledge and wisdom and serve as a resource? For starters, Baby Boomers should have the opportunity to share their view of work life reality.
The things that Boomers can teach range from how to limit personal and professional regrets, managing and reframing failure, to more deliberative decision-making. Mentorship training could provide tremendous value. Millenials have shown themselves eager to receive direction. Boomers who have the desire and temperament can get the skills to assume a more official mentorship role.
Millenials can provide the refreshing perspective of valuing experiences over possessions. Boomers willing to learn this lesson would be doing themselves a favor as they move into retirement. Millenials can also provide guidance to Boomers in the area of technology.
Workplaces can adapt by creating structures and teams that are less hierarchical. They will need to adapt by becoming more flexible in how they conduct training. It’s a given that Millenials are digitally literate. What’s less well known is that Baby Boomers are entering the digital space in increasing numbers.
Millenials and Boomers can both embrace the possibilities that technology holds. An example is telecommuting. Telecommuting provides the flexibility that Millenials crave. It prevents them from being victims of the cubicle syndrome that they dread. It could ease the burden for older workers who would relish the ability to work from home.
Businesses could use technology to improve training for Boomers and Millenials by making it personalized and contextual. This would eliminate inter-group tension from one-size-fits-all programs.
Co-stars for Diversity
When diverse groups openly and respectfully share perceptions, they create space for dialogue and cooperation. It’s no different when it comes to diverse age groups.
Ultimately, if a business is to succeed, it needs to be about talent and performance rather than age.
Sylvester Stallone had written all six (or is it seven?) of the Rocky movies. They provided the soundtrack for a lot of Baby Boomers as young adults. This time around, he’s doing something different with the latest installment, “Creed.” He’s taking the lead from the young African-American writer, Ryan Coogler. If Sylvester Stallone can do it, so can the rest of us.
If that doesn’t work for you, Google Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. Working with Millenials can be easy and the payoff for the future can be big.
You might be surprised at your own preconceptions about the two generations. Take this quiz to find out: