“It takes a different mindset to understand different generations at work today”

The headline captures one of many fascinating quotes gathered across the past two years of research and discussion with multi-generational workforces.  Here are some key takeaways from a discussion in the GCC. 

We share a common definition on productivity but HOW we deliver it is where we diverge

Whilst Millennials and Gen X-ers both agree that productivity is about producing quality work in efficient timelines, Millennials feels that Parkinson Law was often in play – that work expands to use up the amount of time allocated for it – which is frustrating.  EFFICIENCY is important to Millennials – “we often have smarter, faster, more efficient hacks of doing things via technology – much better than your old ways of doing them” is often cited by the Millennials when challenging Gen X-ers “my way is the right way”.

A substantial lack of trust around flexible working

Millennials express strongly a desire to work flexibly and the “where” is particularly important.  The desire for efficiency cited earlier plays out here too as Millennials express considerable frustration at wasting time in a daily commute – they feel that time can be spent much more productively by making necessary travel for meetings or group events outside of the morning rush hour.  Gen X-ers feel when flexibility programs are put in place, the Millennials take advantage of them disproportionately which creates issues of fairness across a multi-generational workforce.  Gen X-ers also felt Millennials underplay the informal productivity gains and collaboration opportunities by shared time spent in the office.

Middle Managers hold some of the keys to a solution

Both groups agree that the role of middle managers is key.  Millennials find the lack of autonomy often afforded them by middle managers is hugely detrimental to their engagement.  Senior managers recognise that middle managers are often squeezed between demands of senior management and the Millennials who work for them – providing support, training and coaching to this managerial layer can hold substantial benefits for influencing a healthy organisational culture and Millennial engagement.

Our values aren’t fundamentally different but the speed & pace of their application is vastly accelerated

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