Facing a career decision? Puzzled by a co-worker’s point of view? Struggling with a specific workplace dilemma? Looking for ways to improving engagement, collaboration, or innovation within your organization? Wanting to learn more about something I said in one of my books?
I’ll do my best to offer some suggestions, if you “Ask Tammy.”
Q&A: Implementing Gen Y-Friendly Practices in the Workplace
I have been following you for the last 4 years and have been dealing with Gen Y implications on organizations in Israel. I wondered if you can point out global companies that started strategizing and implementing those strategies. I am looking at global organizations in Israel (HP, IBM, UNILEVER, APPLIED MATERIALS, SAP, Nestle) and cannot see it. Please give me some examples of successful applications, especially with collaboration and knowledge management.
Thanks a lot in advance,
Thank you very much for your note.
I work with a number of global organizations that are trying hard to develop generationally-sensitive approaches for employees around the world, although most would be quick to say that they’ve still got work to do.
Of the companies you mentioned, IBM has implemented a number of interesting practices. They have legitimized virtual work—a practice that appeals to many, but particularly to Gen Y’s. They train leaders in generational sensitivity—how to recognize and respond to legitimate differences among the generations. And their staffing approach encourages teams to tap into the best qualified person for the job—regardless of the individual’s seniority or location.
Here’s a quick re-cap of some of the Y-friendly practices I think are most helpful:
•Communicate, particularly during the recruiting process, in Y-friendly ways
•Address parents as an explicit part of your recruiting strategy – messaging, awareness, concerns
•Shift performance management to focus on task completion, not time spent
•Embrace time shifting, asynchronous work, and flexible schedules
•Invest in technology . . . and in your technology skills – leverage technology to create efficient processes
•Provide frequent feedback – coach first-line managers to teach, rather than assess
•Create a collaborative, team-based environment
•Encourage Boomers in your midst to mentor Y’s
•Don’t over-define the task – let Y’s “figure it out”
•Re-design career paths to offer frequent, lateral moves – not necessarily up
•Provide world-class learning opportunities in all forms
I hope this helps. I’d love to hear of interesting practices you uncover as you continue to study firms in Israel.
And thank you for following my work.
Filed under: Generation Y | Published: 11/10/11
Q&A: Views on Workplace Loyalty
What are your views on workplace loyalty? Is it a rare commodity?
I have written about the evolution of loyalty between employees and their respective corporations. In one of my blogs at Harvard Business Review, I look at this loyalty question. I call it trust.
Here’s the equation I believe will form the basis of trust between corporations and workers for the decades ahead: The organization will provide interesting and challenging work. The individual will invest discretionary effort in the task and produce relevant results. When one or both sides of this equation are no longer possible (for whatever reasons) the relationship will end. So if the organization no longer has interesting or challenging work for the individual to do, or if the individual is no longer willing or able to engage in the work — to invest the levels of discretionary effort required for excellent results — it is in everyone’s best interest to part ways.
The implications to this new way of working together will clearly change business talent management practices. It will require strengthening engagement and the quality of the immediate opportunities within the organization.
Filed under: Surviving in Today's Economy | Published: 10/27/11
Q&A: Perspective on the Economic Recovery
I don’t dispute your viewpoint, Tammy, but would add that (as an economist) the period of economic recovery will be long and fragile. Many Boomers (I’m 54) have already decided that they will have to work for much longer, especially with their 401Ks having melted away. The emergence of tough global competitors will add to the problems, not to mention the massive US debt. I’m not as optimistic as you are, unfortunately.
Thanks very much for sharing your perspective. I do agree that the recovery period will be long, in large part because we are working our way through a structural change in the economy. I don’t think manufacturing jobs will return in significant numbers—and opportunities for individuals without a college education will remain limited. I am optimistic, however, for a growing demand for individuals with relevant knowledge and expertise.
Filed under: Surviving in Today's Economy | Published: 01/15/11
Q&A: Variations in Motivation According to Context
How do you deal with fundamental attribution error in motivation? Does the fact that people behave differently in context impact motivation needs in context?
I’m not sure I totally understand your question, but let me give it a try. If I’ve missed the mark, please come back with clarification.
I don’t find that the drivers of motivation vary with context. I do find that they vary by individual: different people are motivated by different things. Some work environments, some contexts, are closely aligned with some people’s drivers, but not with others. As a result, in any given context, people who are aligned with the characteristics of that environment are more likely to be motivated than others.
If leaders don’t have a good understanding of what matters to employees, they won’t understand why people are or are not motivated.
Does that help?
Filed under: Talent Management Approaches | Published: 01/15/11
Q&A: The Generations in Brazil
I read an article on the magazine HSM Management here in Brazil where I could read also an interview you gave about Generation Y and the generation conflits in the companies nowadays.
Then I’d like you to answer one of my questions: are the situation and the results the same for this age group in emerging countries, like in Brazil? Because here these young people started working before, when they were 17 years old usually, so could this fact influence anyway?
Thanks for your attention!
Because the generations are shaped by the events that occurred during their formative years (roughly ages 11 - 14+), they vary significantly from country to country around the world.
A summary of my research on Brazil is included, below. I hope you find it helpful.
The four generations in Brazil’s workforce today developed under conditions spanning from the Vargas dictatorship of the 1940’s, through the military coup of the 1960’s, to today’s democratic government. Under these varying political environments, young people’s early experiences with authority and views of institutions were significantly different, as were the economic opportunities they were able to pursue. They developed different attitudes toward risk, varying investment horizons, and a range of expectations toward the workplace.
During the Traditionalist’s formative years in the 1940’s and 1950’s, Vargas’ rule nationalized natural resources, created the country’s first industrialization plan, and saw the growth of small local industry. However, after his death in 1956, a rapid influx of foreign investment and capital rapidly shrank domestic industry. This generation grew up accustomed to a dominant authority, with modest expectations. Members had limited expertise or confidence in how to build a business; most were more comfortable being part of the multinational enterprises that dominated the economy after Vargas’ rule.
The economy struggled during the 1960’s and 1970’s, marked by hyperinflation. A right-wing military coup d’état expanded the executive branch’s powers, giving the leaders unchecked authority over the country’s direction and radicalizing a generation of left-wing student groups in opposition. This generation of Boomers developed idealism for a better future and an anti-authoritarian point of view, although most were cautious about expressing their true feelings. Worried about the economy and in constant fear of hyperinflation, this generation developed a short-term orientation and became excessive consumers.
The economy continued to struggle in the late 1970’s and 1980’s, resulting in strikes for higher wages. Opposition to authority became more vocal and widespread. Civilians protested to end the military government rule and demand a direct vote. In 1989, the first democratically elected president in 29 years brought free trade and privatization, although the transition was fiscally arduous. This difficult path left members of Generation X risk-adverse, with a strong sense of self-reliance and a strong commitment to their families.
From the mid-1990’s forward, Brazil’s economy has stabilized and grown. Brazil has emerged as a major player on the world stage with strengthening international relations, although charges of corruption have tainted the local government. Generation Y’s developed with excitement about participating in the global economy and proud of Brazil’s emerging international status. Although disdainful of politics, this generation is optimistic and immediate, with a desire to make things better and gain success now. Like other Gen Y’s around the world, they grew up as “digital natives,” highly comfortable with today’s technology.
Filed under: Comparisons Among the Generations | Published: 01/15/11
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