By Phyllis Weiss Haserot
There are many ways people of any generation can contribute to inter-generational inclusion. The items in this checklist were taken from a larger audit document I created for generational initiatives. It can apply to any generation as the action initiator. Since Gen Y/Millennials are often reluctant or uncomfortable reaching out to older generations, it is more likely that Boomers, Gen Xers and Traditionalists will take the leading oar, but we must encourage everyone to go beyond their comfort zones.
Here are some quick definitions. Generations are defined by the similar formative influences – social, cultural, political, economic – that existed as the individuals of particular birth cohorts were growing up. Given that premise, the age breakdowns for each of the four generations currently in the workplace are approximately:
Traditionalists born 1925-1942
Baby Boomers born 1943-1962
Generation X born 1963-1978
Generation Y/Millennials born 1979-1998 (under age 30 today)
Use this checklist of actions as a guide.
- Will you make a concerted effort to understand how generational differences may influence work values, communication styles and preferred media, attitudes about rewards, teamwork, motivations and definitions of success?
- Will you discuss the business case for improving inter-generational relations with professionals in your firm/organization?
- Will you add age diversity topics to team or practice groups meetings?
- Will you talk to a young professionals about career development plans and offer guidance?
- When putting together a client or other team, will you consider age diverse perspectives, backgrounds and talents of your team itself and in relation to your client’s objectives and employees?
- Do you provide prompt, direct and situation-specific feedback to young professionals on their work and professional behavior?
- Do you give young professionals advice on professional networking and how to build business and reputation?
- Do you involve professionals of other generations in your marketing and business development efforts?
- Will you encourage and support young professionals in taking active roles and leadership position s in industry, trade, and professionals organizations and not-for-profit boards?
- Will you develop a mentoring relationship with a colleague of another generation? Will you make it a mutual mentoring relationship so that you are also in a mentee role?
- Will you reach out to new hires of another generation within the first month after they join, whether in your business unit or not, have coffee or a meal and offer to answer questions, give guidance, show them the ropes”? Will you then follow up so that a relationship can develop?
- Will you offer ideas on improving inter-generational relations to the diversity, human resources, professional development or marketing directors and committees?
- Will you engage an intern in conversation at a meal or attend an event together to find out career aspirations, offer your perspectives and ask how you might help?
I encourage you to distribute this checklist to anyone who needs a nudge as well as those already interested in making the most of generational diversity – as long as it retains the credit blurb and copyright found below.
As always, I am eager for your stories, thoughts, opinions, feedback, questions and rants.
© Phyllis Weiss Haserot, 2011. All rights reserved.
Phyllis Weiss Haserot, The Cross-Generational Voice, is the president of Practice Development Counsel, a business development and organizational effectiveness consulting and coaching firm she founded over 20 years, A special focus is on the profitability of improving inter-generational relations and transitioning planning for baby boomer senior partners/executives (www.nextgeneration-nextdestination.com ).. Haserot is the author of The Rainmaking Machine” and “The Marketer’s Handbook of Tips & Checklists” (both West 2010). [email protected]. URL: www.pdcounsel.com