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Three simple ways to give Millennials the feedback they want


Here’s an excerpt from my latest column in the Huffington Post:

“Is feedback really as important to Millennials as we’ve heard?” The accounting senior manager asked me in a workshop I was giving on best work practices for each generation.

Yes, I told them. Millennials’ expectations are different from the older generations’. Millennials grew up with highly involved parents coaching them, instant access online to grades, and thousands of texts with their friends. Mentoring programs are one of the top two soft benefits Millennials look for at an organization. Less than one in ten Millennials think weekly communication is enough. In fact, 35 percent want it multiple times a day, while 25 percent think once a day is fine.

“Especially if you’re a Boomer, take the amount of feedback you would want, and then double it. Then double it again, and you’ll meet the Millennials halfway,” I said.

The group erupted in an audible moan. One manager said what the others were clearly thinking: “I’m already working way too much. How am I going to find the time to give Millennials all the feedback they want?”

One of the biggest challenges to feedback is that we’re making it too difficult. You can give more feedback without adding another two hours to your day….

Read my entire column here.

[Image via blog.cuvitt.com]

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Four approaches to dealing with four generations


The approach we take in dealing with the four generations determines the results we get. You, your boss, and your organization are using one of these four approaches – but which should be used to get the desired outcomes?

  1. Ignore them

    If you want to ignore generational issues, it’s easy: don’t hire people you don’t understand. Hire people like you… until they’re all dead.

    When a generation first hits the workplace, it’s easiest to ignore them. Their numbers are small, so they’re easy to miss. Even more, since they are a minority, they tend to adapt to the dress, communication styles, and approaches of the other generations. They’re wearing flip flops in the car to work, but changing before they walk in – and we are fooled into thinking that because they don’t complain about the work dress code, they don’t have a problem with it.

    I had taught about half my session in Phoenix when a man approached me and said that based on what he had learned about the generations, he had decided to hire only Baby Boomers (or Generation Xers who thought like Boomers) until he flipped his business in five years. I told him he had best find a stupid buyer for his business, because he didn’t have a sustainable business model. He hadn’t thought about passing on the knowledge of his company to younger generations. But this example is not an extreme one. In the past year, I’ve heard fifty managers or executives tell me they are done hiring Millennials.

    But with close to 50% of post-college Millennials already in the workplace, it’s hard to ignore them. And once we can no longer ignore a generation, we have three remaining choices….

  2. [Read More…]

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FAQ #4: Do your generalizations apply to ALL Millennials?


Today I’d like to address the final question I’m most frequently asked about the generations….

Do the generalizations in Sticking Points describe all Millennials or just the ones who are middle-class with professional jobs?

There are actually four different subgroups of Millennials worldwide, and even in the U.S. there are differences due to our increasing ethnic diversity. So while there are commonalities, cultural distinctives add nuances to generational generalizations, and unfortunately, in my book I was not able to cover them all.

Primarily, I focus on the workplace, and the research I utilize has come from the study of both white- and blue-collar workers and occasionally even the unemployed. Because of this focus on the workplace, my book, Sticking Points, leaves out those of each generation who live in poverty (but other resources on this segment’s important story can be found through a quick internet search).

No one book can tell the whole story for a generation of over 80 million. But this is also a reminder that we must lead rather than manage people.

We’ve all got stories that we want to tell, and we’ll never stick together unless we listen.

(View FAQ’s #1, #2, and #3.)

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Mentoring: It’s not just a one-way street


When we think of mentoring, many of us have the “old school” idea in mind.

Traditional mentoring programs, in which younger employees are assigned to older mentors, never worked well for all participants. Many mentors didn’t commit the time necessary to the process, and for half of those involved, the chemistry between the mentor and protege just didn’t “click”.

Today, the big issue is knowledge. With information changing so quickly, the classic mentor/protégé relationship really can’t work because it’s impossible for one mentor to know enough to provide the protégé with everything he or she needs. That’s why effective mentoring should no longer be a mentor/protégé relationship (with all its complicated dynamics); it should be more of a mutual mentoring relationship.

Younger, less experienced employees can actually mentor their older colleagues in two ways: First, this digital generation is more familiar with technology than their elders, and they want to help their elders learn. Sixty-five percent of Millennials say, “I should be mentoring older coworkers when it comes to tech and getting things done.” Secondly, the younger generation can mentor older colleagues by helping them learn the language and perspective of a different generation.

The world is too complex for the mentor/protégé approach. Today each of us needs a network of mentors both inside and outside our organization, both superiors and peers. Peers are especially important because there aren’t enough managers for all the people who would like a mentor. Besides this, it has been shown that we want to learn from our peers. Randstad learned in 2009 that employees were more likely to turn to coworkers, teachers, or professors as role models rather than business leaders. Therefore, a network of mentors that includes peers would be more relevant to those who don’t aspire to management. Peer groups are being used effectively to mentor people in organizations.

I’ve asked thousands of managers what they find most rewarding in their jobs, and the most frequent answer is mentoring – helping younger and less experience people grow, develop, and achieve what they didn’t believe they were capable of. It would be tragic if some managers never got to experience this thrill because they thought they were too busy, or because they were stuck in the past.

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Register for my FREE Soundview Executive Book Summaries webinar!


Be sure to register for my FREE 1 hour webinar with Soundview Executive Book Summaries, coming up this Thursday, June 19th at 12p EDT. Registration IS required, and all who register will also receive a FREE copy of my Sticking Points executive book summary. Too good of a deal to pass up!

Register today!

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FAQ #3 – Generational generalizations: Does location matter?


Today I’ll address another question I’m most frequently asked about the generations…

To what extent do generational generalizations apply in different regions of the U.S. and in other countries?

People are shaped by so many things – culture, family values, age, religious affiliation, access to media, education, socioeconomic status – and generational differences are only one of those lenses by which we can view and understand them. In general, though, the closer people are to farming, the more conservative they are, and the more they are a blend of their own and the previous generation. Because of this, the coasts are more likely to match the generational generalizations, whereas people in the South and Midwest tend to have more characteristics of the preceding generation.

While the generational generalizations I present in Sticking Points are primarily drawn from research in the U.S. and Canada, there are some common factors that made a similar impact on many other parts of the world: the Industrial Revolution, World War II, and access to Western media.

  • Industrial Revolution – The move from rural to urban areas created greater discontinuity with the past and greater openness to new ideas. Many of the generational differences are more pronounced in cities.
  • World War II – Countries that participated in the war most likely had their own “baby booms”, though they may have had them later. Many European countries had booms six or seven years after the U.S. and Canada due to the time it took them to rebuild after the war.
  • Access to Western media – The more experiences people share, especially when young, the more common characteristics they have, even if they live in different parts of the world. Access to global media has made the world smaller.
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Sticking points helps the readers sort out how to get all four generations working together rather than complaining about each other. Very insightful and well balanced.

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