Mixing It Up! Amy Hirsh Robinson Featured in HR Magazine

I’d like to share a fascinating examination of generational issues in the workplace. “Mixing it Up,” is the cover story in the May 2011 issue of HR Magazine, in which I am quoted extensively. As an expert on the impact of generational differences in both the for-profit and non-profit worlds, my consulting has evolved over the years to enable organizations to create agile workforces adaptive to change. Through my work, my clients gain a cost effective and competitive advantage in attracting, retaining and managing multigenerational talent. In addition, my strategic expertise refines their business models and practices to address generational trends in the market.

I invite you to read the article and share your thoughts with me on these compelling issues. It’s also not too late to register for my May 19 webinar, “Recruiting The Class Of 2011: Managing the Expectation of Millennials --- And Yours!” If you can't make the webinar, but would like to discuss the intergenerational issues of your company, feel free to contact me at ahr@interchange-group.com.

- Amy Hirsh Robinson, Principal, Interchange Group (www.interchange-group.com)

Predictions For The Next Generation

What’s the youngest generation in America called and what will they be like? As the holidays approach and the focus inevitably shifts to children, we thought we’d take the opportunity to offer some predictions and pose this question to the greater community.

Though their beginning birth years have yet to be conclusively decided, children of America’s youngest generation are roughly 0-10 years old. They are currently the offspring of Generation X (born ca. 1963-1981) but many will have parents from the Millennial generation (born ca. 1982-2000) as time goes on. While demographers use a variety of names to refer to this generation -- Generation Net, Generation Z, the Homeland Generation -- none of them has yet to stick. And while it’s clear that the members of this generation will be the most technologically savvy in history, most of their other values and characteristics have yet to crystallize. Here are some of our predictions:
  • Self-Directed - In reaction to the “helicopter” parenting style of the Baby Boomers, “slow” or “free range” parenting styles of Gen Xers and Millennials will emphasize unstructured time over overachievement and result in the ability to self-direct.
  • Adaptive & Resilient - Not having experienced or remembered the years of prosperity prior to the “Great Recession,” this generation will come of age accustomed to living with less and working with what they have.
  • Conforming – Growing up in the wake of 9/11, Columbine and mobile surveillance technology will produce a generation of children highly tolerant of protective environments and imposed rules and boundaries.
  • Inclusive - This generation’s child- and young adulthood will be marked by political polarity, global instability and deepening divides between the rich and poor. As a result they will adopt values of fairness and due process in an effort to right the inequities they see around them.
Because a generation is shaped by the first 16 years of life, we’ll need more time to monitor all the influences (e.g. family upbringing, school systems, world events, etc.) of today’s youth. What do you think this next generation will be like in society? How will their values and behaviors shape the workplace of the future? We welcome your comments!

For more information and tips on recruiting, engaging and managing the different generations in your workplace, contact us at www.interchange-group.com.

Onboarding Generation X

Over 1/3 of Generation Xers (born ca. 1963-1981) would rather go to the dentist than attend their company's orientation program. That's no surprise, since the needs of this generation are often overshadowed by those of the Baby Boomer and Millennial generations that sandwich Gen X in the workplace. However, failure to engage this independent cohort up front will prove costly for employers in the years to come as America's 80 million Baby Boomers attempt to pass on their roles to a mere 46 million Gen Xers.

Effective employee onboarding (i.e. the process of integrating new hires into an organization) will be critical for Gen X engagement and retention in the future. As a result, onboarding practices like the ones described below will need to echo Gen X themes of self-reliance, candor and transferable skills to be successful.

  • Offload employment forms and other HR information onto your company's intranet for new hires to access on an "as needed basis."
  • Use 30-60-90 day performance reviews to let Gen Xers know if they are on track.
  • Provide professional development opportunities to employees during their first 12 months of employment.
  • Be open about the challenges, opportunities and career paths available at your organization so that Gen Xers know what they have to work with.

Gen Xers who feel challenged and empowered during the first year of employment will reward companies with loyalty and productivity. Those who feel overlooked or marginalized will eventually leave for opportunities that better meet their needs. To what extent does your onboarding process fit the needs and expectations of Generation X?

To learn how to create a successful onboarding process across the generations, join us for our for our September 16 webinar, "New Hire Onboarding: Strategic Insights and Practical Guidelines for Boosting Employee Performance and Retention."