Managing Across the Generations

Generational issues are questions of diversity.
But as with any type of diversity, just bringing
people together without accounting for differences
won’t work.

“Too many managers have the same old conversations
about the next generation, as if they
could just memorize a few things about them
and be successful,” says Corey Jamison, president
of Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group, which assists
businesses in developing workplace cultures. “They
need to think about ways that involve everyone
doing their best work, recognizing that one group
can’t be successful without the others.”

A good place to start is with a recruiting and
retention strategy. “Many organizations think
they can find enough people to replace the baby
boomers if they recruit well,” she says. But that
doesn’t do you much good if new hires don’t stick
around. Jamison advocates working on retention
strategies that incorporate younger workers into
the corporate culture by focusing on their needs
from the start.

That means listening to younger workers and
involving them as early as possible in the mainstream
of the business. “We tend to go to younger
people for technology advice or fashion advice,”
Jamison says. “That is limiting to them. Younger
people are used to conversation, to shaping things
together. If a company says ‘welcome’ and then
tells them not to speak their minds and share
their perspective, something is wrong.”

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