No doubt about it, different generations are...well...different. And these differences can impact workplace relationships and productivity. But last Friday, Jeffrey Vargas, President and CEO of Generationology out of Virginia dove into into the world of generational demographics and business, talked about how to fully engage employees and clients from different generations, and identified and discussed how attendees can better manage, lead, and inspire a multigenerational workforce. Vargas' hour-long presentation was fun and interactive and was met with head nods and laughter throughout as he talked to an excited and packed room of attendees at the Chamber’s Generational Diversity in the Workplace Conference at the CNM Workforce Training Center.
"Oftentimes most people get informed about other generations from quick media clips," said Vargas. "The truth is, generational dialog is like an iceberg, where the media gets into 10 or 15 percent, and our goal is to dive into parts of the 90% that’s underwater.” His presentation was a perfect mixture of data, stats and facts, audience discussions and interaction, often-time hilarious generational profiles, and insights on how different generations connect at their workplace, and the reasons behind many points of conflict among different generations.
“Conflict is happening in the workplace… don’t think it’s just you or the company," he said. People get into their generational script and believe that the play has to be played out only by reading from their generational script, and if they read it longer and harder, and more definitively, then someone’s just going to flip and come to their side and recognize that their script is right. Actually no, what happens is a moat gets developed and people try and raise their generational script and they try to find areas of concern, issues, thoughts, ideas to challenge where a person is getting their information from and where they actually moving towards. This is happening in companies large and small, in corporations, and our government as well. Part of it is what people see in the media, because the media has a great influence on our script.”
After discussing the different characteristics of each generation and points of contention among different generations, one of the highlights of Vargas' keynote was his introduction to the audience full of Baby Boomers, X-ers, and Millenials, to the newest and most elusive generation currently entering the workforce: Generation Z. Vargas said GenZ, those born after the year 2000, will be like nothing we've seen. A video collage of short clips illustrated characteristics of GenZ including their eight second attention span, their disinterest in the wisdom of other generations, and their goal to get ahead faster than their parent’s generation. The most tech savvy generation yet, one video voice poignantly explained GenZ's DIY nature, “If our idea doesn’t exist, we will just create it ourselves in our bedroom.”
Vargas wrapped up his address to the audience by reiterating the importance of engaging all employees in the workplace, regardless of their generation, so they don't become uninspired or disconnected. He posed some engaging questions that each business should be considering when addressing cross-generational engagement including: “What generation leads/influences your strategic direction? What does your road map look like for incorporating generational diversity into your program and policy development?” "Do your teams have a distinct generational script, or generational bend and is that a good/bad/or indifferent thing?”
Vargas said some of the best ways to retain employees of all generations is to develop the best onboard and re-boarding program on the planet, emphasize learning and development opportunities, create and deploy internal certification programs, and promote and encourage peer-to-peer learning and micro learning.
If you are interested in learning more about engaging the different generations currently in the workforce, Generationology will be offering a one day certificate program on generational leadership. The program will come to Albuquerque this Fall. For details, contact email@example.com or call 571-317-1794.