Talkin' About My Generation
Scott Bidwell, President/COO
Last month, my eldest son Nate, started his second year of college. Like any parent, I want to do as much as possible to help position him for success. I do wonder what “success” looks like for Nate and any number of “millennials” poised to enter the workforce in the coming years. I recently read that, for the first time, there are four generations in the U.S. workplace:
- Silents/Traditionalists (born between 1925 and 1945)
- Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964)
- Generation Xers (born between 1965 and 1980)
- Generation Y, a.k.a. Millennials (born between 1980 and 2004)
Each has its own qualities, experiences, and expectations, creating real multi-generational management challenges for businesses. Heck, as a Gen Xer raising a household of Millennials, it creates management challenges for me as a parent!
We have highly experienced baby boomers working beside tech-savvy twenty-somethings, who have high expectations but little experience. Caught in the middle are Gen Xers who are struggling for work/life balance as they bear the brunt of managing multi-generational work teams. I suspect most of us has at least one example of what happens when the generations collide in the workplace.
It’s not all about generational conflict, however. Having different generations working together also presents opportunities for learning, mentoring and knowledge sharing. For example, the tech-savvy Gen Y employee can help the baby boomer become more technologically productive, while gaining tips on negotiation from the elder colleague.
With this in mind, this month’s ASI Archive features a great article from the American Management Association on ways to engage and manage employees from different generations. Hopefully, you’ll gain some insight on ways to facilitate a more harmonious environment between your work teams - maybe even with your kids.
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In Remembrance of a Great Friend and Colleague
On September 10th, we lost a great friend and colleague with the passing of John Wagner, founder and owner of Allegheny Shredders.
Recognized as an industry pioneer, John founded Allegheny Shredders in 1971, introducing the first high-capacity shredder in the industry. Over the next 45 years, John’s visionary leadership and an unflagging enthusiasm to provide customers with the best products helped establish Allegheny as one of the industry’s largest and most respected providers of commercial shredding equipment.
The only thing larger than John’s “big thinking” was his big heart. If you knew John you knew he was devoted to his family, to his employees, his customers and his country.
We will miss John and feel honored to have known him, as a colleague and most especially, as a friend.
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ImageKicker Coming Soon
The ASI Dev Team is putting the finishing code touches on ImageKicker, an exciting new PDF delivery utility for our records center clients. With VCKweb.NET and ImageKicker, records centers will be able to deliver digital documents to their clients upon request – quickly, easily and securely.
It does so by transporting a PDF from your existing scanner, encrypting it and attaching it to the file index for that particular record providing users with a VCKweb.NET account, the ability to view, download and/or print the document versus waiting for delivery. PDF images can later be purged from VCKweb.NET or left on the server indefinitely using the clean up feature.
Look for more info about ImageKicker in the October newsletter when it will be out of beta.
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Leading the Four Generations at Work
A core challenge over the next decade will be to attract and retain a skilled work force as the labor market continues to tighten, technology continues to evolve, and fewer foreign students immigrate to America for job opportunities.
This situation is exacerbated as companies find themselves managing four generations of American workers:
- Silents (Born between 1925 and 1946)
- Baby Boomers (Born between 1946 and 1964)
- Generation Xers (Born between 1965 and 1980)
- Generation Ys or Millennials (born after 1980)
Each group has its own distinct characteristics, values, and attitudes toward work, based on its generation’s life experiences. To successfully integrate these diverse generations into the workplace, companies will need to embrace radical changes in recruitment, benefits, and creating a corporate culture that actively demonstrates respect and inclusion for its multigenerational work force.
Let’s take a look at each generation individually:
Silents. Silents are considered among the most loyal workers. They are highly dedicated and the most risk averse. Their values were shaped by the Great Depression, World War II, and the postwar boom years. Silents possess a strong commitment to teamwork and collaboration and have high regard for developing interpersonal communication skills. Silents now consist of the most affluent elderly population in U.S. history due to their willingness to conserve and save after recovering from the financial impact of the postwar era.
Baby Boomers. Boomers are the first generation to actively declare a higher priority for work over personal life. They generally distrust authority and large systems. Their values were shaped primarily by a rise in civil rights activism, Vietnam, and inflation. They are more optimistic and open to change than the prior generation, but they are also responsible for the “Me Generation,” with its pursuit of personal gratification, which often shows up as a sense of entitlement in today’s work force.
Because of the fall of the dot.com marketplace, retirement savings of Baby Boomers were decimated and many now find themselves having to work longer than they had planned. A recent AARP survey of 2,001 people born in this era revealed that 63% plan to work at least part-time in retirement, while 5% said that they never plan to retire, some because they like working, others because they need the money to replace lost retirement savings.
Click here to read the full article, including characteristics of Gen X and the Millennial generation.
Source: Article featured June 26, 2014 on The American Management Association web site, www.amanet.org.
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