Posts Tagged ‘Baby Boomer’

Memories of a Baby Boomer – Were the 50s and 60s Really That Good?

Baby Boomers are the last generation who played stick ball in the streets and sled downhill during snowfalls crossing major intersections. We were the first generation to play play video games & the last to record songs off the radio on a cassette tape. We walked over a mile to school with no worries about being kidnapped or attacked. We learned how to program the VCR before anyone else. We played Pong, then Atari, until we graduated to the Commodore 64.  We are the generation of Tom and Jerry, Looney Toons, Three Stooges and Captain Kangaroo..We traveled (and lived to talk about it) in cars without car seats,  seat belts, and airbags. Our bikes had one speed. Our televisions received 3 channels which went off the air at night and the TV cabinet had doors.  We watched Ed Sullivan and Mickey Mouse Club. We dialed our friends using a rotary phone. We paid a lot of money for long distance calls and forget about calling overseas. Our clothes were washed with wringer washers and our mothers cooed with lard.  We screamed our friend’s name outside his or her house instead of knocking on the door and ran down the street chasing the ice cream man. We even lived without cell phones. We did not have flat screens, surround sound, iPods, Facebook, Twitter, computers & the Internet. But nevertheless we had a GREAT time (or is that just the way we remember it?)

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Effective Generational Strategies for Retaining Employees

For those businesses just about ready to hit the reset button and pick up where you left off in 2007, STOP!  This is not your grandfather’s workplace anymore.

Once upon a time, work was about getting a paycheck – a way to put food on the table and a roof over your family’s head.   Health care benefits, vacation pay, and other perks were exceptions not the rule. Sundays were a day off to rest, pray, and recoup for next week’s work.  That changed with the formation of guilds and later labor unions, when the process of representation for the workers began in the hopes of achieving fair wages and reasonable work schedules.   

But thanks to a recession and a world marketplace where dramatic change occurs in months not decades, the definition of work and what constitutes quality of life has been indelibly altered.  Welcome to Talent Management 2011!

Recruitment and retention strategies that were considered best practices and highly competitive just a few years ago are now ineffective and even detrimental. New pressures coming from aging demographics, globalization, and technology are turning workplaces upside down and inside out. In fact, it’s even hard to tell anymore who is working when and where. Many traditional workplaces of the past are gone – caput. Others have gone virtual, invisible to the passerby but very real in terms of productivity and profitability.  And for the first time in history, four generations are working side by side all but killing one-size-fits-all recruitment and retention strategies. 

All these changes – both gradual and dramatic – have converged to put many companies at risk for losing their top talent.  New and innovative talent strategies must be put in place to position companies for success.

Executives confirmed this need to change in a recent Deloitte survey and white paper titled Talent Edge 2020.  Forty-one percent of executives said “competing for talent” was a top concern, followed by developing leaders and succession planning (38%), and retaining employees at all levels (37%).  Severe talent shortages are expected over the next year in Research & Development (34%), executive leadership (25%), and sales (19%).  Even positions like customer service and marketing are expected to be tough to fill positions with severe shortages, 19 percent and 16 percent respectively, expected by executives.

The executives and senior talent managers who participated in this survey clearly recognize the importance of developing a strategy to retain key employees. Over the next twelve months, nearly seven in ten executives surveyed (68%) reported they have a high (39%) or very high (29%) level of concern about retaining critical talent.  Another six in ten (64%) have a high (40%) or very high (24%) fear of losing high-potential talent and leadership.

The problem is most of the companies surveyed, by their own admission, are not doing a very good job of holding onto key employees. Worse, many do not even have a clear understanding about what factors are driving voluntary turnover at their organizations.  With a return to some economic normalcy and the well-documented skills shortage among applicants, the need to recruit for new openings will be hard enough without having to replace the home-grown talent pipeline. 

While the white paper highlighted numerous best practices, one stood out: “Companies differentiate themselves by culture, compensation and future opportunities…and deploy different strategies to appeal to different generations.”

The executives broke down their most effective retention initiatives as follows (each generation listed by priority rank):

Veterans (over age 65)

  1. Additional bonuses or financial incentives (25%)
  2. Additional benefits (health and pensions) (24%)
  3. Flexible work arrangements (20%) -  Corporate social responsibility (20%)

Baby Boomers (ages 45-64)

  1. Additional benefits (health and pensions) (26%)
  2. Additional bonuses or financial incentives (23%)
  3. Additional compensation (21%) – Strong leadership/organizational support (21%)

Generation X (ages 30-44)

  1. Additional bonuses or financial incentives (21%)
  2. Additional compensation (19%) – Strong leadership/organizational support (19%)
  3. Customized/individualized career planning (18%) – Succession planning (18%)

Generation Y (under age 30)

  1. Company culture (21%)
  2. Flexible work arrangements (20%)
  3. New training programs (19%) - Support and recognition from supervisors or managers (19%)

Recruitment and retention of critical talent is sure to stay on the radar of executives for years to come as shortages and losses of skilled workers deepen.  As a result, an effective talent management program becomes a much sought-after competitive advantage as less than one company in five participating in the Talent Edge 2020 survey could describe themselves as “world class.”  

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A Senior’s Guide to Texting: BTW, JK & LOL

Texting has gone mainstream and popular abbreviations like  JK,  LOL, BTW, BFF, L8R, and CYA are now part of our everyday vocabulary. 

For those of you who still require an interpreter:

BTW = By The Way

JK = Just Kidding

LOL = Laugh Out Loud

BFF = Best Friend Forever

L8R = Later

CYA = See Ya

More and more seniors are texting, tweeting, and “Facebooking,” especially if they expect to communicate with the kids and grandkids. Not to be outdone by the digital natives (Generation Y), seniors (aka older Baby Boomers and the Veteran generation) have developed a texting code of their own. As you will soon read, this has created some confusion depending on the generation doing the writing and reading. For instance: when a 20-something writes LOL, he or she is “laughing out loud.”  But a senior might read “living on Lipitor.”  Or the teen who might write nonchalantly add BTW, meaning “by the way,”  a senior might read it as “bring the wheelchair.”  Of course, this code is all in jest…so far!  But just in case you do receive a text message from a senior, here’s a short list of senior texting codes (not to be confused with sexting!)  Enjoy the read.

ATD = At The Doctor’s
BFF = Best Friend Farted
BTW = Bring The Wheelchair
BYOT = Bring Your Own Teeth
CBM = Covered By Medicare
CUATSC = See You At The Senior Center
DWI = Driving While Incontinent
FWB = Friend With Beta Blockers
FWIW = Forgot Where I Was
FYI = Found Your Insulin
GGPBL = Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low!
GHA = Got Heartburn Again
HGBM = Had Good Bowel Movement
IMHO = Is My Hearing-Aid On?
LMDO = Laughing My Dentures Out
LOL = Living On Lipitor
LWO = Lawrence Welk’s On
OMMR = On My Massage Recliner
OMSG = Oh My! Sorry, Gas.
ROFL…CGU = Rolling On The Floor Laughing… And Can’t Get Up
SGGP = Sorry, Gotta Go Poop
TTYL = Talk To You Louder
WAITT = Who Am I Talking To?
WTFA = Wet The Furniture Again
WTP = Where’s The Prunes?
WWNO = Walker Wheels Need Oil
LMGA= Lost My Glasses Again
GLKI (Gotta Go, Laxative Kicking In)

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Older Adults Catching Up To Young People Online

Older adults are catching up to young people when it comes to online social networking and other activities.

Social networking is growing at a faster rate among those ages 74 and up compared to any other demographic, a report says from the Pew Internet and American Life project released this week. The rate has quadrupled in the last two years, from 4 percent to 16 percent

While the Millennial Generation is more likely to access the Internet wirelessly than older adults, older generations are watching more online videos, listening to online music, and visiting online classified ad sites.

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Record 55 and Older Holding Jobs Squeezes Out Gen Ys

Better health, longer lives and less physically demanding jobs have prompted people to work longer. That’s good news for Baby Boomers who both long to work and have to work.  But it’s not good news for younger generations, a USA TODAY analysis finds.

Percent-of-working-population-by-age-2010The number of people 55 and older holding jobs is on track to hit a record 28 million in 2010. People in their 50s, 60s or 70s are staying employed longer than at any time on record. For example, 55% of people ages 60 to 64 were in the labor market during the first 11 months of 2010, up from 47% for the same period in 2000.

With job creation creeping along, young people increasingly are squeezed out of the labor market. The portion of people ages 16-24 in the labor market is at the lowest level since the government began keeping track in 1948, falling from 66% in 2000 to 55% this year. There are 17 million in that age group who are employed, the fewest since 1971 when the population was much smaller.

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Baby Boomer Retirement Plan Bust Bad News for Gen Y

The average American has saved less than 7 percent of his desired retirement nest egg. Even those fast approaching retirement age are not well-funded. Respondents aged 50 to 59 have saved an average of only $29,000 for retirement.

Middle-class Americans think they need $300,000 to fund their retirement, but on average have only saved $20,000, according to a survey released by Wells Fargo & Co.  Consequently, more than a third of respondents believe they will have to work during retirement in order to afford the things they want or just to make ends meet.    

“Middle class” is defined as those aged 30 to 69 with $40,000 to $100,000 in househoAld income or $25,000 to $100,000 in investable assets and those aged 25 to 29 with income or investable assets of $25,000 to $100,000.

This is another blow for Generation Y.  The percentage of Americans with at least a bachelor’s degree who are unemployed reached 5.1 percent, the highest figure since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking the number in 1970.

Meanwhile, national unemployment rose to 9.8 percent from 9.6 percent last month. Those with advanced educations have a massive impact on the overall rate of unemployment as that group accounts for 30 percent of the labor force.

Unemployment levels for lower-educated individuals however, still remain much higher. Ten percent of high school graduates are unemployed and an even larger 15.7 percent without high schools diplomas are jobless. That’s particularly troubling when you consider that 30 percent of young people still drop out of high school in the United States.

Creating jobs is obviously a priority for government and business to revitalize our economy.  But the unemployment rate will remain high for years to come with so many unemployed workers who have achieved a high school diploma or less.

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6 Ways Parents Can Help Millennial Children Job Hunt

It can be hard for parents of Millennials to let go.  It is so hard that parents of this group of young adults – both Baby Boomers and Generation X – now entering the workforce have been labeled “helicopter parents” and “snowplow parents.”

Likewise, it is equally hard for many Millennials, also called Generation Y, to escape their parents’ sphere of influence.  The recession has only made matters worse. Tough economic times have forced many 20, 30 and even 40 year olds to return home. Recent statistics from the Census Bureau tell us that 49% of 18- to 24-year-olds live at home with their parent(s), compared with 35% in 1960. In 2008, 10% of 25- to 34-year-olds reported living at home. That is a 56% increase since 1970—such an increase that we now have another label for this generation: “Boomerangers.”

It’s natural for parents to care about their children’s future.  But escorting your 20-something to an interview or acting as your child’s agent with the CEO or VP of Human Resources to negotiate his or her salary and benefits may be carrying the relationship too far.  And parents – school days are over for your adult children.  You don’t to harass your child’s manager over a poor performance review like you did your child’s teacher during his elementary and high school years.

As Millennials and their parents stress out about finding jobs, it’s the right thing to do to discuss options.  And it’s not wrong for parents to want to hover like you’ve done for the past two decades. It’s just that there’s a limit to the value of your good intentions.  There’s a fine line between taking a heartfelt interest and becoming a co-dependent in a non-productive relationship.

Here are six ways parents can help their Millennial children job hunt, offered by Dan Finnigan, the former head of Yahoo HotJobs and now CEO of Jobvite.

  • Read over his resume to give you a fresh perspective, but NOT write the resume, word for word.
  • Coach her on how to negotiate a salary offer, but NOT negotiate on her behalf, term by term.
  • Brainstorm ideas for his job search, but NOT do the search, job by job.
  • Practice interview questions with your child, but NOT serve as her reference.
  • Alert your child to a local job fair, but NOT attend it with him (or worse yet, as his “agent”).
  • Talk over the pros and cons of job choices, but NOT make the final job decision.
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Holy Toledo, Batman: Elderly Life Begins At 50!

Last night I was inducted into the Hall of Elderly Citizens. At least that’s how I felt.

It happened while I was the guest lecturer at a business consulting class at Salisbury University. The instructor invites business people to share their real-life experiences about marketing, hiring consultants, economic trends and more. This is the fourth semester I’ve spoken to the class.

At last night’s class I spoke about how social media was really a revolution, changing the way business was done much like what happened during the Industrial Revolution more than a century ago. For these students, I truly believe the upheaval in the labor markets and economy will create new opportunities for those prepared and motivated to take advantage.

I had their attention for the moment and believed I had bridged a generation gap of nearly 40 years effortlessly. But I quickly learned that for some of these young adults, anyone over 50 is … not just old but elderly. Yes, 50 years old is elderly in the minds of our youth. For anyone who believes that 50 is the 30 or 60 is the 40 here’s a reality check.  To a 22 year old, 50 is still old!

The scene unfolded like this. One team of students is working on a marketing project to help a local community attract the “elderly.” More specifically the group asked me “if Facebook is a good option for the 50 and older demographic?” That’s when I polled the rest of the class. One student responded “no, I don’t think the elderly use Facebook.” Another agreed.

Elderly = 50 years and older.  Holy Toledo, Batman.  I must have missed that memo…or maybe I just don’t remember!

I suggested to the student team that most Baby Boomers would not likely be attracted to a marketing campaign that referred to them as elderly or senior citizens. Active adults, maybe. Elderly? No chance.

The question ignited an interesting discussion about “older people” using Facebook.  One student “just couldn’t imagine his Dad being on Facebook.”Another replied that her grandmother was on Facebook every day. Of course, I quickly realized that I could be as old as or older than her grandmother. Ouch!

Thankfully, several other students chimed in and validated my point that not all 50 year olds are over the hill and living the life of a fuddy-duddy. The truth is that the fastest growing segment of Facebook active subscribers are 55 and older and that Facebook could well be an important marketing strategy to attract the aging Baby Boomers.

My day of confronting generation gaps was not over. I left the class to meet with three Perdue School of Business students who started up a new online business.  The purpose?  They wanted help in developing an Internet marketing campaign and revenue model for their new venture.  Generation gap?  Hardly. This was a business opportunity and consulting meeting. Age never entered the conversation.

And moments after that meeting ended, I spoke with my 87 year old mother who was depressed because her Internet connection was down for almost a week. And when she finally resorted to walking to the library because “she just couldn’t stand [being unplugged from the Internet] anymore,” she found nearly 400 emails waiting for her. Even for the “elderly,” staying connected and doing business via the Internet is part of their daily lives.

For me, yesterday was the epitome and paradox of contrasting attitudes toward different generations. The day’s events offered an important lesson for all of us – do not pass judgment blindly. Most fifty year olds are not elderly and Gen Ys are not slackers, sloppy, and self-centered.  At least for a few minutes yesterday I was able to demonstrate how technology and especially social media can effectively disrupt generational stereotypes and bridge cohorts separated by over 65 years.

Fortunately for many, the gap is invisible.  For others, different generations live worlds apart. Hopefully, technology can bridge the gap and open communication.

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81 Percent Of Kids Have “Digital Footprint”; Boomers Delay Retirement

This Week’s Top Stories from the Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization Grapevine

Geeks

Working in a call center does not seem to be the Millennial’s generation cup of tea. According to a survey released by Sodexo Motivation Solutions, only 5 percent of the respondents regard working in a call center as exciting. More troubling for call center management is that only 55 percent consider call center work negatively. And the nail in the coffin is that one in three of those surveyed who are currently seeking work would rather claim unemployment benefits than work in a call center.

Geezers

Some 40 percent of U.S. workers say they’re going to have to delay retirement because they can’t afford to stop working, according to a survey released this week by consultants Towers Watson. The biggest reasons cited were the losses suffered in their retirement savings and the need to maintain company-sponsored health care coverage.

Googlization

They may not know how to use a computer yet, but a recent poll revealed that some children as young as six months already have an online presence, including their own email address. Antivirus maker AVG conducted a poll of mothers with children under two years old to see when they began uploading pictures of their kids to the web. According to the survey, the average age children acquire an online presence is six months, with more than 70 percent of mothers posting baby and toddler pictures online and sharing them through social networking sites. By the time they are two, 81 percent of kids have what AVG CEO J.R. Smith called a “digital footprint.” Other findings include:

  • 33 percent of children have had pictures posted online from birth.
  • 23 percent of parents uploaded their child’s pre-birth scan to the Internet.
  • 7 percent of babies even have an email address set up by their parents at birth.
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Grandmothers and Gen Y On Facebook Make Digital Odd Couple

“Is your grandmother on Facebook?” asks Kelly Steffen in her post titled Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation.  A year ago that might seem like an odd question because in 2009, social networking use by folks 65 and older stood at 13 percent. But this year social networking use among Internet users 65 and older grew by a staggering 100 percent, a recent Pew Research Center survey reports. That’s more than 1 out of 4 people in that age group are using the Internet are using Facebook and other social networking sites to connect with long lost friends and distant grandchildren.

This new odd couple is creating a digital conundrum for Kelly and her Gen Y cohorts. She writes, “As happy as I am to connect with her more easily, it’s still a bit strange to have her commenting on my pictures and updates. Another side of me says “way to go grandma!” As a millennial, I often take new technology for granted. Because I’ve been exposed to the growing advances in technology, it comes more easily to me than my grandmother who is completely out of place in the digital world.”

Kelly then did a great job at summarizing how different generations use social media. What follows are her findings:

Millennials (age 18-29)

According to Pew, Millennials are on course to become the most educated generation in American history, largely due to the exposure of modern technology at an early age. As a Millennial, I’ve had more opportunities to have hands on experience with technology than my parents and grandparents. We embrace multiple modes of self-expression by exploring multiple social networking sites and create a large amount of online content.

Social media is just one of their uses of the Internet, and it’s not even the most important. They access the Internet continuously first and foremost for information and for entertainment and secondarily for connection.

Millennials far outpace older Americans in the use of social networking sites, with 75 percent having created a social networking profile.

Generation X (age 30-45)

Generation X uses technology as much as Millennials but primarily when it when it supports a particular lifestyle need. Much of the online content that this generation participates in is geared to online shopping and banking with less socializing than Millennials.

Boomers (age 46-64)

Baby Boomers use the internet and various social networks for travel and recreation information. Although email continues to be the primary way that older users maintain contact with friends, families and colleagues, many Boomers now rely on social network platforms to help manage their daily communications. These include sharing links, photos, videos, news and status updates with a growing network of contacts.

Veterans (age 65+)

Seniors are less likely to use internet resources for simple lack of broadband access. Pew states that only 6 percent have created a social networking profile. The primary form of communication is email with 89 percent of those ages 65 and older send or read emails and more than twice of any other cohort on a typical day. Maybe this explains why I get at least three “chain emails” a week from my grandmother!

For another perspective on how different personalities approach social media, read 4 Social Networking Personalities. Which One’s Yours?

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