Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to attend M.E.E.T. training. The purpose of this training is to provide insights on how to deal with generational differences in the workplace (and frankly, can extend to situations outside of work as well). The acronym stands for:
M - Make time to discuss; There's something I'd like to discuss.
E - Explore the difference; This is important because...
E - Encourage respect; I really appreciate the way you....
T - Take responsibility; How about we agree to...
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate your need to meet!
What is in it for companies to take the time for this type of training? Provide a common language for employees and management. Provide skills to use leverage multi-generational differences. Improved morale. Enhanced teamwork. These attributes should then lead to improved performance, better recruitment and retention, and problem prevention (keep situations from escalating).
There are now four generations in the workplace:
Traditionalists, born 1925-1942, 75 million large, 10% of workforce
Baby Boomers, born 1943-1960, 80 million large, 46% of workforce
Generation X, born 1961-1981, 46 million small, 29% of workforce
Generation Y, born 1982-2002, 76 million large, 15% of workforce
Disclaimer: these are approximate numbers, the company we purchased the training material from uses these ranges. Cuspers are those born in the 3-5 years before or after a generational frame, and Cuspers tend to show characteristics of both generations.
OK, lets meet the Generations (via a few key terms, feedback preferences, and work motivators :o)
Traditionalist: Loyalty, Sacrifice, Patriotism. No news is good news. The satisfaction of a job well done.
Baby Boomers: Optimistic, Competitive, Workaholic. Feedback once a year with lots of documentation. Money, title, recognition, corner office.
Generation X: Skepticism, Informal, Self-reliant, Life-balance, Technology. Sorry to interrupt, but how am I doing? Freedom is the ultimate reward.
Generation Y: Realistic, Direct, Entrepreneurial, Value fun, Communicative, Internet. Feedback at the push of a button. Work that has meaning for me.
Bottom Line: State what you need and our willingness to help others with what they need. Communicate with respect. Acknowledge the similarities and differences that exist. Reach agreement. End on a positive note. Follow-up.
As we went through this training, and I balanced the terms and phrases, and looked at the demographics regarding our looming election, I can see why there is a divide between the older generations and the younger generations. The message is different, the target audience is different, and the response is different.