Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Generation work

[Left: Manpower's April Clark and the four generations in the workplace]

Have you ever wondered why your co-workers are so different? If you are a member of the baby boom generation, you might wonder why that millennial next to you seems to spend most of his/her day waiting for the clock to strike five, so they can scoot out and see their favorite band. Meanwhile, you’re wondering if you’ll make it home by seven, because you need to get that proposal finished.

If you’ve never had the good fortune of hearing Manpower’s April Clark give her presentation, about the four generations in today’s workforce, then you’ve missed one of the keys to understanding one of the prevalent dynamics in the 21st century workplace.

Clark is the state’s regional director for Manpower Inc., a leading staffing firm, with offices worldwide. She self-identifies as a baby boomer and because of that, like other “boomers,” tends to put career ahead of other priorities, which is foreign to younger workers, like members of Generation X (born 1964 to 1978), or millennials, also known as Generation Y, (born after 1978). These younger workers are all about balancing life and work. They tend to thrive on workplace creativity and excitement, and, especially in the case of millennials, they also switch jobs on average once every 16 months to keep that spark alive.

Manpower’s Clark is featured in an article posted at Mainebiz Online. You can read the entire article here.

Oh, and try to catch Clark's presentation live, coming to a town near you!


g2bn2wn said...

Well I thought I'd enter the blogosphere as I have not seen any comments to any posts yet. Someone's got to start. I have not seen April's presentation but agree that there are striking differences in the generations currently in the workforce. I am wondering how employers are approaching these generational differences. Are employers more likely to look for older workers who are more likely to stay and be dedicated employees or are they seeking those Gen Yers not likely to be around in a couple years. Does this lead to "generation discrimination"? Is this information shared with folks participating in Workready? Is there training available for CC staff assisting customers so the mostly Baby Boomers doing the CC trainings and workshops understand the nuances of the generational differences?

bizdirector said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comment, g2bn2wn. You make some excellent points.

My experience in working with employers, at least in Central/Western ME, is that they are more open now, to discussions about generational differences.

We have been conducting a series of "seasoned" worker forums in Lewiston, with Seasoned Workforce, LLC, which has helped begin a dialogue between HR professionals and workers 50 years of age and older. These have been well-attended and the feedback has been excellent. Our goal is to have two more in March. Additionally, we'd like to expand these to Kennebec County, later in the spring.

WorkReady, being a 60-hour course, is focused primarily on preparing people, regardless of age/generation for success in the workplace.

Many CareerCenter staff have attended Manpower's presentation on the generational differences and I know both co-managers in Lewiston are attuned to these issues.

I hope I was able to answer your points and I appreciate that you took the time to make them.

One of the goals of starting this blog is to create avenues of communication around issues that affect the workforce.