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Live from #WLFMX: Unleashing the Potential of Diverse Generations at Work
Apr, 24,2013
Journalist, WOBI.com
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With a charisma and energy that kept the audience smiling and on the edge of their seats throughout the entire session, the Vice President of Latin American Division Training at a Great Place to Work Institute® Raciel Sosa gave a panoramic view of the current work scenario: environments where four generations coexist with differences and conflicts. How to successfully lead such diverse groups? It comes from within the organization, and particularly from the people who make it up.

From Baby Boomers to Generation Z, discover the characteristics of each generation and how businesses, leaders and collaborators can work together to coexist, unleash potential and achieve a better place to work.

The Four Groups Forming Part of the New Multigenerational World

Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1960).They are the group born after the Second World World. And their mission? To reconstruct the world (and what a mission!). For that reason they are oriented towards hard work and authority. In their mind authority is synonymous with control and they have a strong resistance to change.

Generation X (born between 1961-1982). They are a transitional generation. They play the same games as their parents and grandparents, but also face the era of video games. They prefer flat organizations, and hoped to become bilingual. “It is the most obedient group of all,” Sosa kidded, “They obey both their parents and their children.”

Generation Y (born between 1980-1995). Born in the age of the Internet, they are adaptable to change. Oriented towards their personal more than professional lives, they are direct and independent, and to them authority is based on confidence. They are more loyal to the people they work with than to the organization in itself. They aren’t afraid to work hard, and with a click resolve just about any issue. Today 25% of the labor force is comprised of this group; in 2016 they will make up 50%; in 2018 75%. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Generation Z (born between 1992 to today).  Characterized by the four “C”s: concise, concrete, clear and “changing the subject”. According to Sosa, this young generation doesn’t want to listen to people going in circles on ideas. They love instant reaction and were born immersed in social networks (in fact, they probably can’t imagine their life without them) and have access to and manage impactful information. Multitaskers, they are accustomed to juggle a lot of tasks at the same time.

With such diverse generations what is the limit to each that prevents them from unleashing their potential? According to Sosa, limits come from their environment, the people and the place. Sosa invited everyone in the audience to think about making a paradigm shift in their thinking in order to better understand and work together with diversity.

The key to generating an environment that unleashes potential of all four generations simultaneously come from the following three pillars:

1)      The company. Its role is fundamental for making change happen. “The greatest organizational changes come from within. It is the people who have to change,” assures Sosa. In order to do so they need to value the following tools:

Control,the processes that maintain the company.

Confidence, in a business innovation has to happen, and that only can happen with confidence. “Confidence is the new paradigm of leadership,” said Sosa.  

 

 

2)      The leaders. Bosses and managers are responsible for the climate produced within the company. It is essential that they learn how to take care of their teams.  “Good intention isn’t enough, you have to know how to demonstrate it,” stated Sosa. And that comes from learning each and every day. According to him, a leader of a great place to work is paid by his or her results and for the atmosphere produced within the office. Understanding what people are worried about, what they need, and what motivates them will make a great contribution towards the successful coexistence of different generations.

 

3)      The collaborators. They also need to contribute to a healthy multigenerational environment. Collaborators must learn to communicate in order to compromise. Sosa advises them to engage in crucial conversations as they imply discussing important factors, opposing opinions and strong emotions.

 

 

In your company can you talk about any theme, with anyone and at any time?

Ask yourself that question and if the answer is yes, you’ve started in the right direction towards an improved multigenerational coexistence.