Board members Ruth Bramson, David Creelman and I recently met to talk about the opportunities and challenges presented by the increasingly multi-generational workforce. The picture here makes fun of one particular cliche about Millennials, but there are differences between the generations in terms of their assumptions, preferences and beliefs about how work gets done.
When I talked to co-authors Meagan and Larry Johnson a couple of years ago, they reflected on the significance of the cultural events that shaped the beliefs of workers from different generations. Increasingly, attitudes toward technology have become another aspect of difference. The newest generation, still doesn’t have an agreed upon moniker or birthdate for that matter. Re-Gen,Gen Z,Pluralist & or Homelander are all in play. But they’ll start to enter the workplace soon and what we do know about them is that they’ve never known a world without smartphones and social media. Email? That’s what their parents use to communicate.
Tammy Erickson posits that there are four main dimensions on which the generations differ in the workplace:
- Choosing where and when to work
- Communicating among team members
- Getting together; i.e. when/how to connect when collaboration is required
- Finding information or learning new things
You can listen to our discussion about these differences by listening to this podcast: Managing a Multi-Generational Workforce – Ruth Bramson and David Creelman
We’d also love to hear what you think? How important are generational differences in your workplace?
Podcast: Play in new window
Our board member, David Creelman, submits the following for your consideration. I wrote about WaaS, Workforce as a Service, recently. Is this the new reality?
In the current political campaign in Ontario, Canada, one of the candidates proposed that the number of temporary workers in any establishment should not exceed 25 percent of the total permanent work force. The candidate is unlikely to win, but what is the thinking behind this?
Jeff Nugent, managing director of Contingent Workforce solutions, says that there is still a perception that temp workers are somehow a second-class add-on to the “real” workforce. If they are second-class, a means of exploiting workers, then of course politicians will want to get involved. Yet when one actually looks at contingent workers one finds most are free agents by choice. They are often paid better than permanent staff, enjoy being removed from office politics and like the freedom of being, at least in part, their own boss.
For their part, many organizations hire contingent workers not because they are cheaper than permanent workers but because it is the best way to get the skills they need for a project. In these cases it is just a better match between the nature of the work and the nature of the available workforce. We have ended up in a fluid economy where people regularly change jobs. Contingent workers go from contract to contract, “permanent” workers go from job to job. Our thinking, or at least the thinking of some politicians, has not caught up with the reality.
So what do you think? Is it time to simply retire the concept of the permanent employee and the legislation that continues to enshrine the concept?
I chatted last week with our board member David Creelman about how companies can maximize the contribution of their frontline workforce and how they might report that value to investors in the future. David has been deeply involved in a SHRM-led effort to develop an ANSI standard for what human capital information should be reported to investors. As it turns out, some controversy has arisen about this effort between SHRM and the Human Resources Policy Association, a lobbying group that includes HR leaders from more than 300 of the largest US organizations. The former are lobbying for more transparency for investors when it comes to valuing an organization’s workforce. The latter argue that reporting these metrics would place an unecessary administrative burden on organizations.
As a special bonus, we also talked about David’s chapter in our book, Elements of Successful Organizations. Here he talks about what organizations can do to embrace employees’ unique strengths to better their business, while balancing that against the needs for product, process and services standards needed for scale.
Listen to the podcast below and take our poll to let us know where you come down on the workforce metrics issue:
9.6.12 Chat with David Creelman