Generational challenge requires fresh thinking

18891723055_9bbee0133e_oManaging different generations in the workplace is a key challenge for employers, according to experts at the Economist Talent Management conference.

Clare Moncrieff, HR executive advisor for advisory firm CEB, told delegates that expectations around performance and leadership in organisations are changing – requiring far greater levels of interpersonal co-ordination and ‘network performance’ – the extent to which individuals use and contribute to the success of others to benefit the wider enterprise.

Moncrieff added that there are many myths around demographic change in the workplace, and that actually there are more similarities between millennials and other generations than many assume, such as the value placed on work-life balance. “There are also myths about Generation Y being born texting; that they are absolute collaborators. In fact, our data suggests that Generation Y is the most competitive generation,” she added.

Hazel Keating, senior vice president and global head of talent and employee relations for State Street Corporation, said the C-suite needs to engage with millennial workers in designing talent strategies. She said State Street is involving younger workers in decisions that have traditionally been made by senior executives on recruitment.

She added that turnover of staff is healthy. “We try and move people around the company so it is less silo-ed. We want people to stay but not stay,” she said. “Mobility is going to be an important element to freshen things up.”

Matthew Schulyer, executive vice president and chief HR officer for Hilton Worldwide, told delegates that technology is changing the way employers can communicate with workers – even if they are not supplying technology for them to use. “We think technology transcends generations,” he said. “It is the ultimate equaliser. People will find a way to do it themselves.”

He added that teaching managers to manage five generations in the workplace is a big challenge and requires significant training. “Teenagers expect instant feedback. Teaching our managers how to give feedback in this day and age is probably our biggest challenge. Once a week operational feedback isn’t going to cut it.”

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  1. Hare beats tortoise in Millennial race |

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