If you’d like more flexibility for all generations in work arrangements and the criteria for how work is evaluated, raise your hand. OK – I see you out there.
A recent national survey of 1,000 employers by the Society for Human Resource Management and the Families and Work Institute found that while progress is being made in flexibility, facetime still counts for a lot in internal dynamics and perceptions of productivity.
The study found that organizations offer flexibility arrangements motivated by a variety of reasons:
35% for employee retention
14% for recruitment
12% to increase productivity
11% because “it’s the right thing to do”
10% to support worker morale and job satisfaction.
WILL MORE FLEXIBILITY BE COMING FOR GEN Y AND GEN X WORKERS?
The work flexibility movement has taken steps backward since the recent recession took hold. New research from the Families and Work Institute (FWI) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) surveyed 1051 employers on 18 different flextime options and considered which were increasing and decreasing in implementation and use. Overall in less formal ways or one-offs, flexibility has increased. For example, two-thirds of responding organizations allow occasional work from home, up from 50% in 2008, and 38% allow working from home regularly, up from 23% in 2008.
But when viewed by individual options, the findings are the reverse. Compared with 2008:
Job sharing is down from 29% to 18%
Sabbaticals decreased from 38% to 28%
Only 2% of U.S. employers offer any kind of voucher or subsidy for child care, down from 5%
The survey also looked at phased retirement, parental leave, ability to switch shifts, control over time of meal and bathroom breaks, health insurance coverage and other policies.
While workers’ stress has been increasing, employers during the recession and since have felt the need to reduce personnel and costs, which limits ability to be flexible.
So the question is whether as the labor market tightens and talent wars resume (if they do) the younger workers will see work/life flexibility on the upswing and benefit. Will more companies see the value of being perceived as a "best place to work"? Will workers finally experience work arrangements more in tune with their values and their ideas on how, where and when work should be done?
ACROSS GENERATIONS, LEADERS LACK INTERACTION SKILLS AND BEHAVIORS
A recent DDI study, Driving Workplace Performance through High-Quality Conversations, found both front-line and senior leaders lack fundamental interaction skills and behaviors required to be effective leaders. The study report concludes that what’s missing “is the ability to facilitate effective conversations, something that should be mastered by every business leader as part of a core set of interaction skills in order to build relationships and get work done.” This is at least as true of senior leaders as those with less experience according to the study.
The need to learn the skill of conversation is a challenge to the fast-paced, just get it done, data-driven world we are living in. Even some technology thought leaders are sounding the alarm. We have been champions of cross-generational conversation as necessary for business productivity and profitability since it is essential for knowledge transfer, attracting and retaining both clients and employees and enabling work teams to achieve high performance.
Organizations need to recognize that the skill of conversation is not typically part of business education, and they must require or provide training, especially as all generations increasingly communicate electronically and often neglect context.
Please comment and share information on any organizations you know are providing this training in-house. If you would like to learn about Cross-Generational Conversation Day, contact us (email@example.com).
new national online survey sponsored by the American Institute of Certified
Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Ad Council confirmed some widespread and
potentially troubling characteristics of young workers (age 25-34 now), the
major segment of the Gen Y/Millennial workforce. The survey provides a
foundation for the “Feed the Pig” financial literacy campaign, a series of
Public Service Announcements (PSAs) urging that generation to build long-term
financial security by thinking independently and foregoing short-term
gratification through living beyond their means.
are some of the findings, which confirm
(or reinforce) and quantify the extent Gen Yers are led by peer
pressure, fear of not belonging, and the attitude that in an uncertain and
volatile world, grab what you can now. (As the saying goes, “Life is short; start
78% model their financial habits on their friends’ habits.
66% want to keep pace with where friends live.
64% want to be in sync with what friends wear.
Similar percentages feel pressure to go to the types of places their
friends eat at and use the types of gadgets they carry.
61% still get financial help from their families.
a consequences a large portion of that age groups miss bill payments and rack up
substantial credit card debt paying for necessities. Financial stability means
paying all their bills each month for 70%. This is a short-term view, the
desire for immediate gratification.
fact that Gen Y/Millennials are strongly influenced by peers’ lifestyle
purchases indicates the depth of their need to “belong.” Also they expect to be
able to rely on their families. These attributes are portrayed humorously in
the ad campaign developed pro bono by kirshenbaum, bond, senecal + partners
there is a very serious side emotionally, beyond financial literacy. In his
essay, Looking for “Likes” in the New York Times Education Life section (11/3/13). Andrew Reiner, who teaches at
Towson University in the Honors College and English Department, comments on the
self-pressure he observes in his students’ generation: “ A small but growing
body of evidence suggests that excessive social media use can lead to an
unhealthy fixation on how one is perceived and an obsessive competitiveness.
Perhaps not surprisingly, this angsting can also lead to an unhealthy quest for
perfection, a social perfection, which breeds an aperture-narrowing
few brave souls, wrote Reiner, admitted to fearing peers’ judgments for writing
something stupid, or worse, something that “set them apart.” They feared
expressing a different opinion would make others dislike them. “The ultimate
goal? Racking up ‘Likes.’”
Yes,of course there has been some degree of fear, peer pressure and conformity in every (young)
generation. But the level of parental protection and social media exposure the
youngest generations have experienced does magnify the problem.
hopes the Feed the Pig campaign makes many converts. The independent thinking
habits regarding financial security can result in growth and self-actualization
in other aspects of life and work.
recent study conducted by Harris/Decima for Ceridian) found that job rewards of
various types favored by different generations are a strong driver of
engagement. The three top drivers overall are:
receiving monetary or non-monetary rewards for a job well done (47%)
job recognition (42%)
job motivation (11%)
specific employees value must align with the rewards to be effective. Rewards
must be tailored to consider generational differences, individual preferences
and technological innovation. There are several types of popular non-monetary
rewards, and Gen Y/Millennials are more interested in them than the other
generations. 70% of Gen Yers in the survey said they would like their company
to offer non-monetary rewards such: as personal days off: free meals: sports
events, concert and show tickets.
employers need to know what employees think makes a job worthwhile. All
generations want interesting work (39%), autonomy (32%) and good compensation
(31%) but in differing order of priority. Interesting work ranks first for Gen
Y and Boomers. Gen X is most interested in good salary followed by good job
opinions of what makes the job more rewarding also differed in how they ranked
the top four overall. Boomers find training opportunities and flexible hours
more rewarding; Gen Xers also most favor flexible hours; and Gen Yers are more
likely to want the opportunity to take o more responsibility at work.
is a heads up for employers to take into account generational differences and
wants and needs if they want to have more productive workforces, retain their
people and be considered best places to work.
We are moving toward favoring more transparent,
participatory leadership and management styles. Results of a study by the
National Federation of Independent Business revealed these as the top
demotivators to employees and co-workers. My brief commentary follows each on
#1 – Particularly hated by Generations X and Y/Millennials
– Not only offensive to all, but discourages anything not deemed “safe”
Implied threats –
Be direct and honest
Failing to provide
praise – Demotivates everyone and most craved by Gen Y
Not explaining your
actions – Discourages trust; people want transparency
Not following up
– Why bother? Is the item/task not important?
Not sharing company
data –The call for transparency is growing stronger
Failing to honor creative
thinking and problem solving – Why bother?
What else would you add or substitute to the top 10? Please comment.
A new survey of 4,200 people in the US, UK and Germany by Calling Brands consultancy found a high level of desire to work for an employer organization with an underlying spirit that goes beyond commercial and operational goals. The study consisted of interviews with HR and Communications chiefs from major multinational organizations. In reporting on the findings, it was said that this is a change in attitude. No demographics were given except the country of residence.
Related but not the same thing as Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Purpose now appears to be a powerful driver for retention and attraction of employees as well as productivity.
Perhaps the need to spend so much time at work is driving people to seek meaningful intangibles during the course of their work and to feel they are fulfilling a greater purpose than merely profitability. Survey results indicated that an average of 57% of respondents (58% in the US) would favor joining an organization that has a clearly defined “Purpose, ” and an average of 65% said that Purpose would motivate them to “go the extra mile.”
Financial Planning: MultiGenerational Living Is Working
Gen Y/Millennials are contributing at home as they save, not simply living on parental support. A Pew Research Center survey of over 2,000 adults in the U.S. in early 2012 yielded these statistics:
Over 20% of 25-34 year olds live in multigenerational households, nearly double the percentage in 1980 (the more independent Boomer and Gen X generations).
24% of young adults 18-24moved back in with their parents in the last few years owing to economic conditions.
Even more, 41% of adults 25-29, live with or moved back in with their parents.
Of adults 30-34, 17% did the same.
And both parents and children report they are positive, neutral or satisfied with the arrangement.
It’s not totally a parental handout. Survey findings indicated that 75% of the young adult children contribute to household expenses, e.g., groceries and utility bills, and 35% say they pay rent. 96% say they do chores around the house. The report didn’t specify how long the arrangements have continued and whether there will be a tipping point at which either side or both will no longer feel positive about the arrangements.
Financial planners advise that a plan be developed and agreed to by both parents and live-in young adults, including charging rent, so expectations are clear and there be an exit strategy and parents don’t jeopardize their retirement savings.
This experience is probably working because Gen Y/Millennials and their parents, to generalize, have closer relationships than any parent-child relationship in history. That is a positive thing for the most part, but when possible, adult children should build independent and self-sufficient lives.
How long do you think the current trend will last? How does this impact work attitudes positively or negatively?
BAD NEWS ON WOMEN’S NETWORKS and generations and gender diversity
The Wall Street Journal reported on a Simmons School of Management survey of 166 female professionals, all of whom had women’s support groups at their workplace. The news was quite disheartening in terms of the overall attitude toward the groups, participation and results.
But first the good news: what worked. The women who said they were actively involved in the women’s networks and thought they were very effective described these characteristics of the groups: They met frequently, had financial support from the company – and they were open to both men and women.
Now the bad news. 29% of the women responding were not involved in any workplace women’s network. Most said they didn’t have the time. Other reasons given were they didn’t share the network’s goals or they didn’t see the value or they weren’t eligible. Another 16% beyond those 29% were a member of a network at their organization but rarely got involved. And of those belonging, more than 75% found their networks only somewhat or not at all effective in meeting the group’s goals. Goals most often included networking, retention and promotion of women and professional development.
What are we to conclude? Perhaps the formation of many women’s networks is still a matter of lip service on the part of senior management, or at least believed to be by many women. Maybe they are getting mixed messages: "We’ll let you form women’s networks, but you’ll be rewarded by other uses of your time." And if the more senior women are not committed to regularly attend, younger women may take their lead from them or feel the value is much reduced without the mentoring possibilities from more experienced professionals.
Going back to the networks that were effective, the reasons are no surprise. For women’s networks to be taken seriously in a still male-dominated culture as far as clout is concerned, there has to be solid and visible support from management, and that includes financial support as well as praising and otherwise recognizing the active members of the networks and their accomplishments. Frequent meetings are needed to establish bonds and trust and build confidence among members.
And, I think, very important (as I have said for many years), men must be part of the process. They need to be welcomed to help and sponsor the women as well as to learn from them. Attending some of the meetings will enable them to better understand how diversity strengthens the organization and what the obstacles are. Gender separation is not a long-term solution. And generationally there are different views on gender separation. To generalize, the Gen Y/Millennials and youngest Gen Xers don’t recognize the gender differences as much as the older generations and have different expectations about how they will be treated.
I hope to see women adjust their approach and attitudes toward women’s networks and get real buy-in from male colleagues so they can be more effective in reaching stated goals and the day when they will no longer be considered necessary because the goals have been achieved.