Posts Tagged ‘human resources’

6 Diversity Competencies Successful People Share

Today marks the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We recognize the ever-changing demographics in our country, schools and work areas. These changes have influenced the way we relate to one another and how we do business. Based on the recent tragedy in Tucson and divisive political rhetoric, King’s dream of “one day [living] in a nation where [everyone] will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” has not been realized. Managing diversity remains a business imperative.

An organization’s success in managing and promoting diversity rests heavily on how well it harnesses the array of skills and experiences of its employees while they remain a part of its workforce. How good is it at fostering teamwork? Does it bring together people of diverse backgrounds and styles in order to enhance creativity, solve problems more effectively, and discover new Diversity - Wake Up Everybodyapproaches to old issues? The organizations must do all these things if it wants to achieve its goals and hold on to its best and brightest workers.

Many researchers and industry experts believe that the organizations that excel at managing diversity have six characteristics in common – six competencies form the foundation of a successful team of people who take pride in together achieving greater levels of success.

These six competencies are:

1. Awareness. Organizations and their employees develop and awareness of the benefits that can flow from cultural diversity, and establish and maintain a climate of mutual trust.
(Watch this video! Diversity – Wake Up Everybody - Contact us for permission to use at your next workshop or training.)

2. Inclusion. Minority groups feel a part of and are included in the major decision-making processes of the organization. Their views and ideas are genuinely valued and seen to be important.

3. Tolerance and Understanding. Different beliefs, stated views, actions, and reactions are fully understood and are naturally tolerated and accepted as part of the rich overall “tapestry” of human behavior.

4. Empathy. Warmth, sincerity, and goodwill are extended to every individual and group without applying stereotypes, so that each person feels high levels of mutual empathy.

5. Adaptation and Change. Groups and the organization as a whole permanently adapt and change when bias or prejudice toward people who are different from the majority begin to hold back the organization or the work of individual employees.

6. Persistence and Commitment.   Individuals and the organization as a whole persist in their efforts in their efforts to recognize diversity and cultural awareness shortfalls; commit to increasing overall knowledge; and seek to reap the long-term benefits from people’s differences, rather than insist on similarity.

(Source: Diversity and Cultural Awareness Profile, Jon Warner)

Click here for more diversity training aids, books, workshops.

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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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Cool Job Creation Heats Up Generation Tensions

While the economy sputters, tensions heats up between the generations.

Lost in the diversity of generational news last week was a common element – the generations are struggling to right themselves following the recession and going forward.

The just released cover story of October’s The Atlantic magazine talks about the Baby Boomers’ last chance to redeem themselves after what the writer Michael Kinsley describes as decades of self-absorbed and self-indulgent behavior.

The postwar generation is leaving a bitter legacy: crumbling infrastructure, crushing public debt, and a reflexive cynicism about all institutions, from churches to Congress to the media. It’s time for redemption…Kinsley urges fellow Boomers to cough up some cash—say, $14 trillion—to fix the mess they’re leaving.

That could be a problem.  Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research released a study last week too that exposed a retirement income deficit that few people likely found surprising. The gap between what Americans need for retirement and the amount they have saved is a staggering $6.6 trillion.

“The retirement income deficit is the gap between the pensions and retirement savings that American households have today and what they should have today to be on track to maintain their living standard in retirement,” said Karen Friedman, executive vice president and policy director of the Pension Rights Center. “The retirement income deficit shows just how bad the crisis has become.”

If Baby Boomers can’t maintain the lifestyle they’ve grown accustomed to, they will likely keep working.  An article in Fast Company last week offered harsh realities that have stymied Generation Y (also called Millennials). Topping the list was: The Baby Boomers are not voluntarily leaving the workplace! :

The Recession has decimated the Boomers’ opportunity to retire and left them with no choice but to continue to work for the foreseeable future. And, because Boomers are living during a period when medical science is going to continue to improve their ability to be healthy and work, that “foreseeable future” is a lot longer than anyone could have imagined!

As I’ve described in several articles in the past, that’s bad news for Generation X and Generation Y.  The Fast Company article goes on to describe several scenarios that will only feed the frustration felt by the jobless Gen Ys and career-stalled Gen X.

Not only are the Boomers going to remain in the workplace but they are also going to retain their positions of authority…If they are forced out of their current employment positions, Baby Boomers will actively compete with the Millennials for other jobs!

And despite being recognized as “digital natives” and the “Internet Generation,” the advantage these young Gen Y adults may be dissipating with time. The fourth harsh reality describes

“…how the Technological Edge the Millennials touted as the differentiator between them and the other Generations in the workplace is diminishing as the other Generations, faced with no choice, close the technological gap. Boomers may never be able to text as fast as Millennials but they will be able to text fast enough for the workplace! And Boomers have the interpersonal skill set to go with the texting skill set!”

Putting the shrinking technology gap into perspective, one group wonders if the technology gap is myth or reality.  The author says “I find that Millennial (Google Generation) students have the fastest thumbs in the west and can answer a cell phone call at the speed of light.  Beyond this, their technology related skills, from an academic perspective, seem quite limited.”

This was also the topic of conversation before and during a panel discussion last week at Harrisburg University. While all the panelists agree that Generation Y are the most comfortable generation using technology, they may not be the most skilled at applying it in the workplace.

Of course, the more imminent impact of the recession and delayed departure of Baby Boomers will be felt by Generation X.  Kinsley wrote in a forum response to his Atlantic article how “Gen-Xers are going to get screwed by [the entitlements and debt government is accumulating] even more than Boomers as the bills come in.”

And while the bills could be huge, the impact on society could be even bigger.

The U.S. Census Bureau released a report, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009, last week too. It revealed that that one in seven Americans are living in poverty.  It  also found that more than 8 percent of people between 25 and 34 (mostly Generation Y) are living with their parents.

Education is often prescribed as the solution to society’s ills and as the pathway to regaining our competitive position in the global marketplace.  If the prescription is correct, then the patient is dying based on a new report, Yes We Can: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males 2010. Calling it a “national crisis,” the report found that only 47 percent of black males graduated from high school in the 2007-2008 school year. And in New York City, the district with the nation’s highest enrollment in African American students, only 28% percent of its African American males students receive a high school diploma.

Poverty and poor graduation rates are unlikely to significantly increase tensions between generational gaps in the workforce.  But ignoring these problems will only add to the burden borne by future generations who will need to figure out ways to support millions of people who are unemployable.

In the short term, the longer unemployment remains high the more resentment will likely build between generations both in the workplace and in our communities.

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Round 2: Resentment Grows Between Boomers and Millennials

There appears to be a lot of white elephants in the room these days, none bigger than a generation gap between Baby Boomers and Millennials.

On this day last year I posted an article asking, “Are Generational Differences Turning From A Gap Into A Chasm?”  Today I read two articles that reveals the gap is still a very real issue that few organizations are addressing adequately.

In one corner we have Steve Israel representing the Baby Boomers. Steve posted an article titled “Millennials vs. Boomers: You twerps owe us everything.”  That about says it all.

Steve wrote:

If it weren’t for us baby boomers, most of you wouldn’t be here. Literally.

We are your parents. You sprung from our wombs, from our love.
We don’t just deserve your respect; we deserve your eternal gratitude — for the food you ate, for the clothes you wore, for the roofs over your heads. By the way, we’re still giving food, clothes and roofs to the more than 10 million of you who still live in our homes.

And what have you millennials — the 50 million Americans born between 1980 and 1995 who are becoming adults at the start of this new millennium — given us?
Nada — except the smug expectation that we should give you more.
How ungrateful can you be?

In the other corner is Millennial (aka Gen Y) Timothy Malcolm. Timothy has quite a different opinion. He urges Baby Boomers to “Give up the reins, you geezers.”

Timothy wrote:

The main reason we 20-somethings still sleep at mom’s house is because mom and dad won’t get out of the work force. They’re clogging the pipeline.

Baby boomers make up the largest generation in American history. The current 20-something generation is almost as large, ironically, thanks to the boomers having all those kids.
Because of improvements in health care, boomers are not only living longer, but they’re subjected to the salacious whispers that, yes, even in old age, they can remain vital! They can keep working, climb mountains, row boats and — gasp — have sex! Think about Lucy and Ricky or Archie and Edith cavorting in beachside bathtubs. Yeah, it is ridiculous.

Sure, we 20-somethings have some ridiculous traits, too. We waste time on Facebook, but as one of the original users, I’ve seen the boomers completely ruin that social networking site. Our music might be hard to understand, but at least I can’t take credit for Cher. And, seriously, when are the Who going to stop?

Timothy concludes his article with “So stop wasting our generation’s chance. And stop wasting our country’s possibilities.”

So far, the first round of the attitude gap between Baby Boomers and Millennials has been subdued and mostly a war of words.  But as the recession lingers on and Gen Y joblessness remains high, one can only wonder if the resentment building up will boil over in a full fledged battle.

Round two anyone?

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Generation Gaps Occur At All Ages

Like many workers, one day earlier this year former Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Donovan McNabb and Gen Xer came to work only to discover he was old.

The 6 time Pro-bowler and 5 time conference title QB was dealt to the division rival Washington Redskins.  One reason given for the trade was a generation gap, although Coach Andy Reid denied age was a part of the criteria in the decision to part ways with McNabb.

One might expect that defensive remark coming from an employer in this litigious job market.  Age discrimination is a major concern as businesses try their best to rebuild their workforces. Many businesses chose to force early retirement and layoffs to create openings for younger, cheaper workers who could keep pace in a faster paced, more dynamic, and more innovative marketplace.

The wrinkle in this generation gap story however is that McNabb is only 33 years old.

BehindTheLines-3-Ira

As I’ve said before, the gap between generations isn’t always about age, but attitude. The Eagles new twenty-something line-up plays fast and they connect in a nanosecond. It even forces 52-year-old baby boomer Eagles head coach Andy Reid to keep his Blackberry charged.  “I text,” Reid says. “I’ll text something like ‘have a great day at practice.’ Or if I go through practice at the end I might shoot a guy a text like ‘great job’ or whatever the correction might be.


Communication wasn’t quite the same with McNabb and former Eagle running back Brian Westbrook. Both players dominated much of the offense for the past seven years but both also had other life demands and interests that started to separate them for the younger players.But this year it was out with the old and in with the new generation of younger players. Kevin Kolb, McNabb’s replacement 26, is the oldest of the offensive nucleus. Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy are 22, while DeSean Jackson is 23. Tight end Brent Celek is 25. He and Kolb are the only guys in the group legally old enough to rent a car.

In addition to texting and tweeting, the new generation spends a lot of time together off the field. McNabb had a lot of different demands on his time. Jeremy Maclin felt that “being close in age you just kind of bond with guys a little more around your age. And I think it does translate to the field.”

Employers of all types of organizations could learn a lesson or two from the Eagles story.  First, generation gaps aren’t limited to Baby Boomers and Millennials. They occur between younger and older workers even when only a few years separate the workers.  Second, generations isn’t just influenced by age differences, but attitudes toward life and work.

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Employers and Employees On Collision Course

Employers and employees are obviously headed for a collision to be played out in a workplace near you.  A recently released Deloitte report called the standoff “a tale of two mindsets.”

Many employers seem to believe their employees have few options in this weak economy.  They feel employees should feel lucky they have job.

Employees, especially the most talented and qualified, see the world a bit differently. Among employees surveyed in the Deloitte survey, a significant number of workers are looking to jump ship. Thirty percent of employees are currently working the job market and nearly half are at least considering leaving their current jobs.

That stands in sharp contrast to the executives who were surveyed. Only 9 percent of executives expect voluntary turnover to increase significantly among Generation X employees. That means 9 out of 10 executives may be ignoring the elephant in the room.

The survey revealed that about 22 percent of Generation X employees are actively job hunting.  Even more alarming, only 37 percent plan to remain with their current employers.  Employers might find Generation Y a little stickier when it comes to retention but even then 44 percent plan to stay put over the next year.

Employee retention isn’t the only thing that executives and employees appear to disagree on. When asked to rank their top three retention tactics, employees chose in every instance different non-financial incentives than the executives. Even greater differences existed when executives were asked to identify retention strategies that might appeal to different generations.

For instance, Gen Y and executives agreed that additional compensation and bonuses were effective.  But that’s where agreement broke down.  While 29 percent of the executives believe flexible work arrangements were what Gen Y wanted, nearly 4 out of 10 Gen Y employees said they wanted job advancement opportunities.  Generation X wants a job with good wages but are only willing to stay if they can learn new skills too.

Like they’ve done many times in the past, Baby Boomers break the mold on retention strategies too.

Baby Boomers are looking for strong leadership, additional bonuses, and more compensation. Executives offer benefits, bonuses and flexible work arrangements.

Based on the results of this survey, executives are offering money and flexibility while the three most active generations in the workplace want opportunity, bonuses, and compensation.  Executives need to learn that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to employee retention and stop using the recession as their primary retention strategy.

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The Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2014

If it’s August, it must be back-to-school time. And that means it’s time for the Mindset List for the Class of 2014.

 

Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List. It provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall. (Click here for a free download on how cultural milestones have shaped the four generations in the workforce.)

 

The list was originally created as a reminder to faculty to be aware of dated references. It has quickly become a catalog of the rapidly changing worldview of each new generation. And just for the record, most students entering college for the first time this fall were born in 1992.

 

College-Freshmen-MoveFor these students, Benny Hill, Sam Kinison, Sam Walton, Bert Parks and Tony Perkins have always been dead.  

1. Few in the class know how to write in cursive.
2. Email is just too slow, and they seldom if ever use snail mail.
3. “Caramel macchiato” and “venti half-caf vanilla latte” have always been street corner lingo.
4. John McEnroe has never played professional tennis.
5. Clint Eastwood is better known as a sensitive director than as Dirty Harry.
6. Doctor Kevorkian has never been licensed to practice medicine.
7. Korean cars have always been a staple on American highways.
8. Fergie is a pop singer, not a princess.
9. They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.
10. DNA fingerprinting and maps of the human genome have always existed.
11. Woody Allen, whose heart has wanted what it wanted, has always been with Soon-Yi Previn.
12. Unless they found one in their grandparents’ closet, they have never seen a carousel of Kodachrome slides.
13. They’ve never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day.
14. The first computer they probably touched was an Apple II; it is now in a museum.
15. Czechoslovakia has never existed.
16. Adhesive strips have always been available in varying skin tones.
17. Bud Selig has always been the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.
18. There have always been HIV positive athletes in the Olympics.
19. American companies have always done business in Vietnam.
20. The dominance of television news by the three networks passed while they were still in their cribs.
21. Children have always been trying to divorce their parents.
22. Toothpaste tubes have always stood up on their caps.
23. Beethoven has always been a dog.
24. Having hundreds of cable channels but nothing to watch has always been routine.
25. They first met Michelangelo when he was just a computer virus.

 

And if you don’t feel a bit unsettled by a few of these event passings, 2010 is the 40th anniversary of the movie M.A.S.H. and the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back! 

To read the complete list, go to the Mindset List website.

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Surge in Seniors Strains Economy and Caregivers

Republicans thought people could save for it. Democrats thought government could provide it. Both are wrong. Caring for an aging population is beginning to strain our economy and stress out a rising legion of caregivers.

Political parties have taken turns over the past 50 years controlling government and they have both failed to solve the problem. Now we are stuck in neutral and rolling backwards.

By 2020, forty-three states will see an increase of over 70 percent in their 65 and over population compared with just 20 years earlier. And 29 states will see an increase of 70 percent in their 85 and over population during the same period. In fact, only 1 state, Arkansas, will see an increase of less than 50 percent in both the 65- and 85 and older demographics.

This is an amazing success story in longevity, but a problem that the government, our friends and neighbors, and the economy is unprepared to absorb.

First of all, nearly all retirement and health care projections are based on a working population capable of supporting older residents. Unfortunately the percentage of working age adults is decreasing. In 2010, 60 percent of the U.S. is aged 20-64. By 2030, the proportion of these working ages will drop to 55 percent. The age dependency ratio, the proportion of seniors to workers, will almost double over the next 20 years — from 21 per 100 workers to 39.

This “silver tsunami” is also creating a legion of people caring for adults and the elderly. Twenty-nine percent of the U.S. adult population, or 65.7 million people, are caregivers, including 31 percent of all households. These caregivers provide an average of 20 hours of care per week.

American caregivers are predominantly female (66%) and are an average of 48 years old. That puts working Baby Boomers in their prime working years balancing a career with caring for aging parents and raising their own children. The sandwich generation, as this group had been called, often reduces the number of hours they work. An even greater number continues to work but loses focus and becomes more stressed. For employers this translates to lower productivity, more accidents and mistakes, and the loss of talent.

As the aging tsunami breaks on the shores of our economy, new challenges will alter the workplace landscape. Political parties are clearly divided on how to fix the problems. Solutions will come from individuals and local communities. Employers that recognize opportunity in this sea of change will reap the benefits as our workforce and nation grows older.

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