Talent Management

Dr. Gustavo Grodnitzky Webinar Summary—Ready or Not, Here They Come! Understanding and Motivating the Millennial Generation

gustavo grodnitzky headshotIn the very near future, there will be 84 million retiring Baby Boomers, followed by 68 million Gen Xers to replace them. This will create a vacuum in the workforce that only Millennials, or Generation Y, can fill. In a recent Fridays with Vistage webinar titled “Ready or Not, Here They Come! Understanding and Motivating the Millennial Generation,” Dr. Gustavo Grodnitzky, Ph.D. discussed how to ensure success for your company, given the reality of the demographics. Dr. Gustavo has a Ph.D. in clinical and school psychology and has worked with management and staff to increase their effectiveness at numerous Fortune 500, mid-sized and smaller companies.

The webinar was delivered in two parts: first, understanding generational differences, and second, how to recruit and retain members of Generation Y in your organization. To understand each generation, Dr. Gustavo offered the following breakdown:

The G.I. Generation refers to the five million people born between 1900 and 1924. The formative events shared by this generation were WWI, the Great Depression, WWII and Hiroshima. They are what’s called a “Civic Generation,” which means they were born into a period of time of unraveling when social institutions were coming apart, and they came of age in a period of time that’s called a crisis. They were the adults and decision-makers who overcame these crises. Civic generations produce great leaders.

The Silent Generation refers to the 35 million people born between 1925 and 1945. The formative events shared by this generation were the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor and WWII. They are what’s called an “Adaptive Generation,” which means they were born into a period of time called a crisis, and they came of age during a period of time called an economic high. This generation’s core values are loyalty and legacy. Most of them worked for one employer throughout their entire career and received a gold watch upon retirement.

The Baby Boomer generation refers to the 84 million people born between 1946 and 1964. The formative events shared by this generation were Vietnam war protests, the Civil Rights movement, Woodstock, and the assassinations of JFK, MLK, and RFK. They are an “Idealist Generation,” which means they were born in a period of time of economic high, and came of age during an awakening. What’s important to this generation are time and money. Boomers measure their career success by material and financial acquisition.

Generation X refers to the 68 million people born between 1965 and 1981. The formative events shared by this generation were “downsizing,” dual-income families, increasing divorce rates and the PC Boom. They’re a “Reactive Generation,” which means they were born into a period of time called an awakening, and came of age during a period of time called an unraveling, or a time when social institutions start to fall apart. These are the independent and pragmatic “latch-key kids” who value productivity and work-life balance above all else.

Generation Y refers to the 79 million people born between 1982 and 2000. The formative events shared by this generation were the Oklahoma City Bombing, 9/11 attacks, Columbine and Virginia Tech. They’re another “Civic Generation,” coming of age during such crises as renewable energy, religious fundamentalism, banking, housing and foreign war.

Furthermore, Generation Y is the first generation of technological natives. The other generations are technological immigrants. This has turned social learning on its head. Historically, when a person wanted to learn something, they learned it through an apprenticeship from an older teacher. Today, when you buy a SmartPhone, you ask your children to teach you how to use it. Generation Y is the first generation even to have adults go to them to learn anything.

The core values of Generation Y are relationships, cause and blended life. They come to work to make friends and they don’t stay where they’re not engaged. They need to know the meaning, big picture, and deeper significance of their work. It doesn’t matter to them where or when they get their work done—it matters only that they get it done.

To recruit and retain Generation Y at your company, you must use the following five Magnet Factors:

1) Time: Traditional companies give employees vacation days, holidays and sick days. Progressive companies use PTO (paid time off) and LWOP (leave without pay.) Progressive companies see much less time abuse from employees.

2) Flexibility: Generation Y wants time as a reward in the form of comp time, flexible scheduling, a four-day work week, job sharing, self-managed teams and self-directed teams. Create a menu of rewards and allow your employees to choose.

3) Growth: Generation Y is interested in continuous learning in a relaxed and friendly culture, idea sharing, career development and taking on more responsibility. Focus less on “career path” for your employees and more on “skill set development.”

4) Relationships: Generation Y will show tremendous loyalty to a great boss or supervisor who takes an interest in them. Provide and request feedback, be a friend at work, and offer opportunities for social networking.

5) Cause: Can you explain to your Generation Y employee how what you do changes the world or changes human experience in the world? Generation Y wants to be part of something bigger than themselves and have a sense of purpose.

By addressing each of these five factors in your company culture, and offering choices based on the core values of each generation, workers from every generation will remain loyal and motivated at their jobs. For more information on Dr. Gustavo’s methods, please visit his website www.DrGustavo.com.

Category: Talent Management

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About the Author: Rebecca McCarthy

Rebecca L. McCarthy is the owner of the The Written Coach in San Diego, California where she gives business professionals the tools they need to write and publish their books. She has published more than 40 books—some se

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  1. Shan

    July 10, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    It’s interesting to see how “events” have affected each generation.
    Apart from “youth”, why the emphasis on keeping Generation Y happy at work when Generation X has more experience?

  2. Holly

    July 10, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Rebecca, you’ve managed to describe the different generations without inflammatory language, which is rare. This sounds like the webinar was a good one.

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