Generations Working Together in the Workplace

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How many different generations are represented in your workplace? Depending on size and industry, it is possible for some companies to employ personnel from up to five different generations! Growing up with vastly different value systems and qualities of life, employees from each generation have distinct strengths and challenges, so how do you leverage the skill sets of your team to be as productive as it can be?

Identifying and understanding the profiles of the generations in your workplace is a good place to start:

The Traditionals (born 1933-1945): Employees in this generation were raised in the aftermath of the Great Depression, where they understood how hard work led to increased financial stability and survival. Traditionals embody discipline, self-sacrifice, loyalty and are respectful of authority.

The Baby-Boomers (born 1946-1964): Baby-Boomers were born into a culture of prosperity and affluence after World War II, valuing achievement and embracing an “anything is possible” attitude. Baby-Boomer employees in the workplace are perceived as hardworking and productive and value strong nuclear family life. Perhaps because of their more rigid upbringing, both Traditionals and Baby-Boomers are often rated low in adaptability to change and are highly motivated by health and retirement benefits.

Generation X (born 1965-1979): The first generation where more children grew up with single parents or blended families, Gen-X’ers are known for their independence, resilience and adaptability and are excellent problem-solvers. Because of their independent nature, Gen-X’ers are less likely to be regarded by their peers as team players. This generation also values work flexibility, especially with regards to family and vacation time.

Generation Y/Millennials (born 1980-1995): Highly socialized, technologically savvy and always multi-tasking, Millennials are entering the workplace in droves. This generation often prefers the group setting to individual work, and is most enthusiastic about being promoted and moving up in the ranks. This group is sometimes criticized for being entitled, especially as the world becomes more and more reliant upon technology that Millennials grew up with.

Linksters (born 1995-present): You are less likely to see this generation in your workplace just yet, as they are entering young-adulthood, post-secondary education or the workforce. Even more so than Millennials, Linksters were born into a world where technology was entrenched in their education and where they have known what a smartphone was since they were old enough to walk.

Now that you have a better sense of some of the strengths and challenges of the different generations in your office, how do you manage your team so that your business is the most productive it can be?

Invest in Training: In order to help your employees understand where they fit within your organization and with each other, Personality Assessment Training and Team-Building Training can provide a great outlet for communication and promoting self-awareness. Personality assessment encourages your employees to be aware of their own strengths and challenges and fosters an environment where emotional intelligence is as highly valued as intellectual intelligence. In combination with team training, your employees understand how they can leverage their strengths and weaknesses with those of their peers.

Forge connections: As you can see from the profiles above, some of the traits specific to one group can be highly complementary to another’s, such as the Baby-Boomers’ productivity and the Millennials’ technological knowledge. Try creating an environment for strategic mentorship, matching personalities that you believe would learn well from each other, where both employees feel like their skills are respected.

Assign tasks strategically:  Passionate employees are productive employees. When it’s possible, assign tasks that tap into what they love doing and what they are good at. Communicate openly about why you chose them for a specific task so that they are consistently made aware of their value in your eyes.

Find the appropriate motivation: If Baby-Boomers and Gen-X’ers, for example, value work-flexibility, family life and benefits, these are tools you can use to motivate their performance and achievements. For Millennials, make sure you communicate what they can do to improve in their role and how they can earn that promotion they are looking for. Try adjusting your style to tap into the distinct motivations of each group.

The whole is always greater than the sum of its parts, so no matter how much changes across the decades, collaboration will never be outdated. Invest in your employees and promote an environment of mutual appreciation for what each individual brings to the organization. Do you know of any other ways you can support your employees with regards to generational differences? I look forward to your thoughts below!

Sources:

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/183720

http://www.reliableplant.com/Read/26581/Five-generations-work-together

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-millennials-gen-x-and-boomers-shape-the-workplace-2013-9

http://www.economist.com/news/business/21586831-businesses-are-worrying-about-how-manage-different-age-groups-widely-different

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How Social Media Savvy Are You?

social-media-jigsaw-via-greyweedWith some platforms celebrating almost a decade in existence, it’s safe to say that Social Media is here to stay. Not only has it connected us to friends and family all over the world, it is now engrained in business practices and has become an essential part of connecting with our audiences.

How familiar are you with the different social platforms, either personally or professionally? Do you have a LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter account? Do you post or search for videos on YouTube? Does your company post a corporate blog?

To have a little fun, and show us where the gaps in our understanding may lay when it comes to this new medium, try your hand at the quiz I’ve assembled that asks, How Social Media Savvy Are You?

  1. According to Business Insider, 5 million affluent investors are using social media to research financial decisions. True or False.
  2. Which day is the most popular day for tweets: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. (Choose one)
  3. What is the symbol for hashtag?
  4. You can use a hashtag to mention another user on Twitter. (True or False)
  5. What is the maximum amount of characters you can use in a Tweet?
  6. A live-tweet is the action of sending tweets in order to comment on an event happening live. (True or False)
  7. Google is the most popular search engine. What is the second most popular? Yahoo, YouTube, Bing or Vista. (Choose one)
  8. Which social media platform tops Google as the most trafficked site? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube. (Choose one)
  9. A Facebook Page is a profile specifically made for businesses, brands and celebrities. (True or False)
  10. Someone who likes a Facebook Page is called a: Liker, Follower, Fan or Connection. (Choose one)
  11. You can permanently erase a social media post. (True or False)
  12. LinkedIn is NOT:
    • A) The leading online professional directory of individuals and companies
    • B) An online resume
    • C) A platform to share online photo albums
    • D) A networking tool

Quiz Answers:

  1. True
  2. Tuesday
  3. Symbol for hashtag is #
  4. False. Use their handle @User to mention another Twitter user
  5. 140
  6. True
  7. YouTube
  8. Facebook
  9. True
  10. Fan
  11. False
  12. C: You cannot share online photo albums on LinkedIn

How did you do?

If you didn’t do as well as you hoped, don’t write off your social media skills just yet! There are plenty of articles and YouTube videos out there that can take you through the ins and outs of each platform so that you can make use of each tool effectively. Ultimately, your engagement with these tools will support your brand’s online presence so that, at every touch point, your audience receives a consistent message.

If anything, the growth and prevalence of social media in business has shown us that our learning is never done – we must constantly be adding to our inventory of knowledge and adapting with the times, even if it is uncomfortable at first.

Has your business fully incorporated social media into your business strategy? Are you still struggling to see the value of social media to your business? I look forward to you thoughts below.


Creating & Implementing Your Referral Marketing System

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So far we have discussed the benefits of referral marketing and some great referral marketing ideas to get you started. Now let’s focus on developing your referral referral marketing systemmarketing system. This post will discuss when and how to ask for a referral, and how to capitalize on those referrals by bringing them on has clients.

When to Ask for a Referral

As discussed in 4 Referral Marketing Ideas to Jumpstart Your Referral Marketing Program, at least 80% of your communication with referral sources should not focus on asking for referrals. Rather, these conversations should focus on the referrer. Naturally, conversations with current clients will mainly focus on the current project. Communications will all sources—client and non-client—can be centered on educational topics (for example, about business, their industry, their target market, etc.) or more personal areas of interest. Take care to learn about your top referral sources’ interests and hobbies…

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So you have a Business Mentor…Now What?

one on oneAfter careful consideration and research, you have decided to enlist the support of a business mentor to help you and your business. You have found a coach with plenty of experience, who is easy to talk to and interested in embarking on this journey with you.

So what now?

How do you ensure that you reap the value of your business mentor, and see improvements and growth in your business? Unsurprisingly, this is where the work begins. Before you meet with your mentor, you must be prepared to take a good, hard look at your business and be ready to make objective observations about how it is performing. Take some time to decide where you want your business to be in a year, five years or ten years, because thorough reflection will ensure that your business mentor knows how to challenge and push you to reach your goals. Take inventory of the strengths and weaknesses of your business so that you are prepared to discuss and tackle issues that need improvement as well as ways to further strengthen your attributes.

In short, you must do your homework before every meeting with your mentor in order to make the most of the time you spend with him or her. This ensures that this time is spent instead on learning from their experience, asking thoughtful questions and developing tactical steps to reach your goals. I’ve compiled some questions that could be helpful for provoking conversation with your mentor:

1. What advice can you give me in developing or improving my business plan?

2. From your experience, what lesson did you learn that would be most valuable to me?

3. What are the ways that will help me determine the risks and benefits of an important business decision?

4. From your observations thus far, what do you identify as my areas of weakness?

5. What does my business do well?

6. This is where I am, and this is where I want to be. What needs to change for me to get there?

7. With my goals in mind, how should I be spending my time?

8. How can I help you?

The last question, while different from the rest, becomes just as important because it signals the strength of the relationship between mentor and mentee. Mentorship is never a one-way street and by investing in this relationship and looking to contribute to it, you are communicating your commitment to the mentorship process and ensuring your mentor sees value in playing the role of your mentor.

What other questions would add value to a meeting with your mentor? Do you think that taking time to reflect on your business beforehand enriches the mentorship process? I look forward to your comments below!