Managing Across the Generations

By Edward Cone

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."

This article was originally published on 12-12-2007