AWE -- Alliance for Workplace Excellence
Supporting Workplaces that Benefit Employees, Communities and the Environment
2012 Q & A
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QUESTION: Generations in the Workplace - What challenges have you addressed and successes have you experienced?
How do you capitalize on the strengths of each demographic group and what are the ingredients for an inclusive culture?
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AtSite Inc.

AtSite provides appropriate training for all employees as necessary to communicate effectively internally and externally. Employees that are subject matter experts are often providing lunch and learn thought leadership seminars for any employee to participate in. All-hands meetings are held quarterly to ensure the streamlining of processes that take place within the organization.

Industry-related continuing education opportunities are available to employees that are interested in networking and learning but the latest trends and news in the industry.

Booz Allen Hamilton

Booz Allen commissioned studies on different generations in the workplace and incorporated findings into our diversity and inclusion strategy. This includes education, communication, and participation in opportunities to increase awareness about the needs of older employees. To engage older workers further, they lead Booz Allen's apprenticeship/mentorship programs to develop less experienced colleagues.

BDO USA, LLP

BDO has addressed the challenge of awareness of different generations in the workplace through training sessions with firm leadership. In these sessions, leadership learns about the general traits of each generation and how they can better communicate with others. The success of these sessions has resulted in more communication between all levels of employees. BDO thrives on an inclusive environment supported with career advisors and buddies assigned to new hires for any level. A career advisor is a manager/senior manager/director who serves as a career mentor throughout one’s career. A buddy is an employee with an additional one to two years experience than the new hire to help guide that individual by answering any questions that arise on a daily basis. This not only promotes interaction between generations, but encourages an inclusive environment for employees of all ages. The key ingredients for an inclusive culture are awareness of generational differences, acknowledgment of these differences and strong communication. In addition to focusing on firm leadership, BDO is also building awareness by advising students in college and during the first year on the job. In these sessions students/new hires, learn more about the characteristics (or “characteristic behaviors”) of different generations to enable better communications with employees of all levels and generations.

Calvert Memorial Hospital

As a hospital, CMH is faced with the challenge of placing experienced nurses in specialty areas such as the Emergency Department. The average age of a nurse at this time is 49. We have recently developed a Residency Program to help solve this problem. In the past, recently graduated nurses will work on Med/Surg units to gain experience before moving into a specialty area. New grads in this Program, who have experience as a Tech in the Emergency

Department; will spend a pre-determined amount of time on each Med/Surg level as well as in the Family Birthing Center and Operating Room to gain knowledge and experience. This Residency will be over the course of a year.

Chaney Enterprises

Our company, like most today, is a melting pot of ages and life stages. We understand that generational differences can affect employee communication styles, values, and preferred ways of doing business. An area we have found to be challenging is technology. To help bridge the generational gaps, we have created an ambassador program and a mentor program where our employees can learn from the experiences and knowledge of others (social learning/modeling). We understand that it is not simply about mentoring between older people who have more experience in their line of business, but also learning from other peers in other areas and younger folks the how things may work differently in different environments. For us the most important aspect of managing the different generations is to regard each employee as an individual with a valuable contribution to make. We always attempt to take the time to understand their perspective which helps to lessen the inevitable challenges.

CollabraSpace, Inc.

Our focus remains to make it easier for our team to communicate in their work environment. Collaboration is our focus. A place that integrates people, data and processes in a single, secure and seamless environment, allowing all participants to realize greater efficiencies, greater savings, and greater access to intellectual assets than ever before. We employ a leadership philosophy that focuses on team work, self organization and personal development. As a result, we attract and retain exceptional talent.

Dynaxys, LLC

We try to include all demographic groups in work events, and provide varied options throughout the year so that everyone can feel there is something for them. For example, we hold several lunch time wellness courses throughout the year and choose topics that will apply to different employees. Additionally, we provide services for all of our employees, like an on-site flu shot, themed fun days throughout the year and elicit employee opinions when planning our company picnic and annual party.

Federal Realty Investment Trust

We now have 3 generations within our workforce and welcome the diversity that each brings to their contribution within Federal Realty. How each generation approaches the work itself can be very different. Each generation has distinct attitudes, behaviors, expectations, habits and motivational buttons. Learning how to communicate with the different generations from a manager or peer perspective is what we focus on at Federal so we can eliminate many major confrontations and misunderstandings in our workplace. This of course can be very challenging but we find that by providing clear expectations and by providing an atmosphere that encourages our employees to keep an open mind and embrace these generational differences results in a synergy between people and departments throughout the company.

Foundation Financial Group

Foundation Financial Group hires based on talent and ability. Age and demographic groups are irrelevant in the selection and promotion processes tied to talent management. At entry level, middle management, senior management, executive, and senior executive positions we have various age groups holding those positions. Employees under 40 and over 40 are within that populous.

Honest Tea

We have not had any challenges with our generations rather it has been a rewarding experience for all sides. Our younger staff has taught them about technology and the more experience staff has exposed others to the business as a whole.

JBS International, Inc.

One major challenge JBS has faced is the differences in communication and learning styles among different generations. We have implemented several successful strategies to address these issues and involve all demographic groups in the continued success of JBS. Our most current staff development initiative is Emerging Leaders, a program designed to identify, nurture, and train the next generation of potential leaders at JBS. The program is specifically designed to bring the experiences, perspectives, and vision of two younger generations into JBS’s thinking and planning. Participants are nominated by peers and colleagues, with final selection made by JBS officers. Emerging leaders spend a year developing their potential through interactive learning activities and in-house seminars on our business and company, as well as receiving coaching and mentoring by senior managers. JBS’s co-CEOs actively participate in and lead sections of every monthly working session, and these dialogue sessions are clearly a two-way learning laboratory. Emerging leaders are divided into two groups—one group with members who are young and new to the business world (generally under 30 years old) and one group with more experienced members (generally 30 to 40 years old). We are exploring what management and leadership styles are most appealing based on generational differences. We are discussing issues such as what each group considers the most productive work environment, what type of supervisory style works best, and how each group prefers to learn. The learning process is reciprocal because every session involves dialog with co-owners and senior managers. We also encourage engagement of younger generation groups through our cross company teams. For example, our Social Media Group provides the opportunity for young staff members to research, recommend, and help implement social media initiatives for the company. To capitalize on the experience and knowledge of our senior staff members, we have them serve as mentors to project managers and their teams when a new contract is started. All senior managers are involved in our design-thinking challenge teams, which are in the process of reimagining new approaches to ambitious growth goals and vexing operational issues. Although the challenge teams were started by senior management, we are opening them up to participation by all staff members.

KPMG LLP

KPMG's culture is strengthened by inclusive teams. Through our Team of
Choice program, we provide tools to help all teams leverage the skills and talents that all generations bring to the table to solve complex business challenges for our clients. By investing in opportunities for people of different backgrounds and skills sets to become more engaged in the workplace, we enable innovation through connectivity. Communication can be the biggest barrier to supporting any team. Through seminars we have been able to help all our people understand appropriate communication skills and techniques used by different generations, when those communication strategies are most appropriate and how others can leverage technology tools to build business.

Mental Health Association of Montgomery County

Having a diverse staff is not just important for meeting the needs of our clients –it helps to bring new ideas and ways of doing things to the table. We are in the process of putting together diversity training, which will focus on “It’s all about Respect.” Our diverse workforce is very good at providing each other with new skills to use within the workplace, as well as personal lives. Additionally, we have provided various articles about generational "cultures" and understanding.

The MITRE Corporation

Actively including a wide spectrum of individuals in work teams and corporate activities to obtain a broader perspective and maximize individual and collective contributions. Creating a work environment that provides all employees the opportunity to reach their full potential and make their maximum contribution.
Promoting values and practices that demonstrate openness, respect, collaboration, and appreciation of the validity of different points of view.

PTG International Inc.

In these past few years we as so many businesses have faced the economic challenges of keeping our business running. Although we have furloughed all of us to one degree or another we have all hung in there to keep things going.

Management has been terrific in their treatment of each and every one of us.

Now that we have turned the corner and things are looking up we will in time be able to bring back each worker in time from their furlough hours.

QIAGEN

Leadership will need to be flexible and be willing to look at non-traditional ways for employees to complete their work. Undoubtedly, technology will play a critical role in the new, transformed workplace.

SAP, NS2 (National Security Council)

We have successfully brought on several new hires while retaining our top talent as well.

United Educators

We embrace the diversity of generations within the UE culture. For those who are nearing retirement, we have worked with employees who want to shift to part-time hours so that they can gradually plan their leave from the workplace.
We have also worked to incorporate the millennial culture into UE. A recent supervisory training program focused specifically on understanding what younger generations are seeking from a workplace and how supervisors can best support them and encourage their contributions.

Verizon Wireless

Working for a global iconic technology organization takes the skills and abilities of a diverse group of individuals. Our diverse multicultural workplace doesn't happen by accident. We are highly committed to diversity and inclusion. Women and minorities make up 60% of our workplace. Our Credo states, "We embrace diversity and personal development not only because it's the right thing to do, but also because it's smart business." As we continue to build on the foundation of our business -- our nationwide wireless network -- we also know that it is the powerhouse of diverse thought and experience of our employees that allows us to connect to our customers. Verizon Wireless attracts a wide variety of talent.

By focusing on hiring the best talent, we attract an array of candidates. From recruiting for full-time, part-time, college graduates, veterans, and interns alike, we currently have four generations in the workplace. We recognize that diversity is a key business differentiator. We work diligently to ensure all voices are heard.
Our Credo stats, "We know that teamwork enables us to serve customers better and faster". We focus on that foundation of teamwork and leverage that wide array of talent and experience to provide services that enhance our customers' lives.

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