A useful playbook for managing an intergenerational workforce.
Corporate consultant Grubb (Planes, Canes, and Automobiles, 2015) draws on her management experience at numerous firms to focus on the challenge of employing people from different generations in the same company. She aptly points out, for example, that managers must respect each person as an individual rather than assigning him or her to a generational stereotype. She also mentions the phenomenon of baby boomers “prolonging their time in the workplace,” which can result in a “generational culture clash” with younger staff. Grubb delves deeply into distinct generational characteristics to provide managers with clear understandings of various age groups; the book’s chart of “Generational Influences and Attributes” offers a tidy overview of how baby boomers, Generation Xers, millennials, and Generation Zers think, feel, and act in a workplace. For instance, boomers are said to be “team oriented,” “optimistic,” and “informal,” while Generation Xers are “self-reliant,” “cynical,” and “informal.” This kind of valuable insight from an executive who’s managed multigenerational teams brings a practical, hands-on perspective to the book as a whole. In addition to making a strong case for “creating an age-diverse culture,” Grubb offers specific advice for managing and motivating employees. Readers will find a portion of this material, including discussions of goal-setting, evaluating employee performance, and managing employee expectations and career development, to be familiar from more general management books, but the author does a solid job of slanting the content to address generational divides. Some of the more engaging sections address “managing workers older than you,” recognizing different styles of learning and communicating, and highlighting the difference between “work-life blending” and work-life balancing. Six case studies at the end of the book depict how specific companies have addressed issues surrounding company culture, recruitment, career development, and benefits as they relate to employees of all ages.
A well-organized, nimbly written, and insightful book that should be a key resource for corporate leaders.