Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: generations

The Talent Development Centre includes advice for independent contractors in IT from one of Canada’s top staffing and recruitment agencies. See all posts about generations.

Designing Technology for the Aging Population

For years the relationship between seniors and technology has garnered a bad reputation where seniors are labelled as “unwilling to learn” or consistently use “The Google” when asking a younger friend/family member to help them find something. And while there may be a small nugget of truth to that fact, the statistics and scenarios where this occurs are beginning to dwindle in the reality of many IT Contractors. The problem now is designing technology that is meant for this age group (i.e. bigger fonts, simpler platforms, etc.). If you’re wondering what some examples of these technologies could be, how they were made, or even want to see the online program, here is an infographic by USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology to get you started!

https://gerontology.usc.edu/resources/infographics/designing-technology-for-the-aging-population/

What Generation are You?

The differences between generations — specifically Baby Boomers, Gen X, Y and Z — is a go-to, easy topic for nearly all HR and management blog authors. At staffing agencies, recruiters regularly notice the differences between generations on many fronts, including how they apply to jobs, what they want in an IT contract and how they typically act in an interview. It’s equally important for technology professionals to understand these generational differences. Working in teams presents a need to understand those around you and if you’re contributing to the user experience of a new program, you need to truly understand your target demographic.

Take a look at this video from Bright Side to find out some key generational differences and better understand them all, including your own.

Baby Boomers v.s. Millennials: How to Communicate and Overcome the Generation Gap

Breigh Radford By Breigh Radford,
Director, Human Resources at Eagle

How many times have you heard that the key to a good relationship is communication? Probably forever! But how well do you communicate with the different generations. Recently, I was told by a Baby Boomer (ages 54-72) that Millennials (ages 22-37) only know how to communicate through text. Shortly after, I was told by a Millennial that Baby Boomers are demanding and unappreciative. That got me thinking – they both have so much in common, but they don’t listen and tend to interpret the message into their own words.

Now, I belong to Generation X (ages 38-53) and lately I’ve been feeling a bit stuck in the middle of these two large demographic groups. It is exhausting being their mediator, so here are some tips you may want to consider:

Tips for Baby Boomers

  • Appreciate and take advantage of the energy and curiosity of a Millennial. They can likely do a task quicker via an app or a Google search. Try and get sucked into their energy and world, it could be fun!
  • Engage them! Millennials are more than an employee or an annoying team member, they want to feel that there is meaning in their life and job and be heard (so listen!). Instead of “Yes, but…” try “Yes, and…” – it is a sure way to show you are open to their ideas.

Tips for Millennials

  • Take advantage of the wisdom and experience the Baby Boomers have. They were young once and may give you a different perspective to consider.
  • Consider communicating to the Baby Boomer in their preferred method, not yours. Improve your influence factor by learning how to present to a different demographic in a way they understand. Use the original Facetime perhaps? Do your homework and when making a ‘pitch’ be professional, present all sides of the argument, and talk facts, not feelings.

Tips for All

  • Respect goes both ways. Be sure to ask questions, learn and never assume.
  • Clarify and confirm what you have discussed. For example:
    • “Just to clarify, you want me to begin the research project today and get back to you with an estimated completion date by tomorrow at the end of day?” OR
    • “Regarding our last meeting and discussion, I have thought further about working from home and I understand the policy as it relates to my role. I want to confirm that you are aware that I won’t be working in the office two days a week. I’ll start this program next Tuesday.”

Good communication always starts with a conversation, whether it be in person, phone, email or text. Either demographic can start the dialogue, but let’s start it and leave the Gen Xers out of it for a while.

A Job Search Strategy for Your Generation

Everybody has a different job search strategy that depends on their situation. Your location, target clients, preferred agencies and overall comfort with the medium are all variables that affect how your job search will look compared to the IT contractor sitting beside you.

According to a recent article from Recruiting Blogs, your generation also plays a role in how you seek out opportunities. They claim you should adjust your process to what’s most comfortable for you, rather than what the trends say you should do. Obviously they make many generalizations, but here are a few job search tips for each generation:

  • Baby Boomers: Keep up with times, be flexible and active. You have the most experience and potential, so have the enthusiasm to work and submit your resume in whichever format you feel makes most sense.
  • Generation-X: Take the time to find the job that is suitable to your lifestyle, it is possible, If being interviewed by a Millennial, they’ll want to see your enthusiasm and passion. Baby Boomers may be set-off if they feel your values do not align with theirs, so prepare your answers carefully.
  • Millennials: Millennials need to ruin the stereotype often associated with the generation. Do this with an outstanding CV and personality, emphasizing flexibility, tech skills and teambuilding abilities.

In general, Recruiting Blogs also recommend that to be successful in a job search, people from all generations should:

  • Combine online and offline job searches
  • Expand your network
  • Gather all documentation
  • Send thank you notes after the interview

How do you think your job search differs from those in other generations? Have you consciously changed strategies or decided to go against the trends and seen more success? We’d love to learn more about your job search strategy in the comments below.

Boomers and Gen X Find Common Ground With Millennials

This article by Mark Swartz was originally published in Monster’s Career Advice

Boomers and Gen X Find Common Ground With MillennialsAre young workers resentful of older ones? Do employees over 40 fear and loathe Millennials?

Much has been written of generations clashing at work. Boomers clinging to privilege and rank. Gen X pushing out 60 year olds while blocking Millennials from rising. Youth fighting tooth and nail for a leg up.

To diffuse possible resentments, it helps to find common ground with other age groups. An understanding of shared values (or experiences) can smooth tensions. It can even lead to mutual gain.

What Generation X And Millennials Have In Common

The age gap between these two cohorts is significant, not vast. Gen Xers range from their mid-30s to early 50s. Millennials are in their 20s and early 30s. As a result there’s much these generations both relate to.

Comfort With Technology

  • Who entered the workforce just as computers hit it big? Gen X! They started with “dumb terminals” and sluggish desktop PC’s. Faxes evolved into email; the Internet sprouted, and mobile phones shrank from the size and weight of a brick to today’s pocket marvels.
  • Millennials have been wired from the get go. Their comfort level with virtual transactions is remarkable.

Difficulty Getting First Good Job

  • Millennials are struggling to get established. Competition is intense. 20-somethings may have to take on unpaid internships plus big student loans. Underemploymentis a real issue.
  • Gen X’ers also graduated into tough times. A recession left many to take first jobs substantially beneath their level of education.

Blocked From Advancing Quickly

  • Ask anyone in their 20s what’s holding back their career progress. “All those people over 40 clinging white-knuckled to their jobs,” is a likely reply. Boomers and Gen Xers make up nearly two thirds of the workforce.
  • Gen Xers also must deal with older workers hanging on longer. The financial crisis of 2007 – 2010 scaled back retirement plans for many 60+ workers.

Importance of Worklife Balance

  • Gen Xers wanted jobs that left time for other priorities. Unfortunately workplace demands, family obligations and economic realities made it tougher to achieve balance.
  • Millennials are using technology to free themselvesfrom workplace shackles. Remote work and flexible scheduling can mean greater freedom. Except employer demands continue to conflict with personal time.

What Boomers And Millennials Have In Common

Four long decades separate a 60 year old from someone turning 20. The world’s values have shifted in that time. And technologies that futurists could only dream of back then have altered almost every single job.

So what could Boomers and Millennials possibly have in common?

A Shared Sense Of Self-Management

  • Boomers (and older Gen Xers) lived through a drastic change in employer-employee relations. It used to be that a job for life was common. Loyalty to an employer was repaid by security and upward mobility. That’s all shifted since the mid 1980’s. Managing your own career path is now essential.
  • Millennials saw their parents work hard yet get tossed by employers. These days younger workers face less stability than before. Hence 20-somethings are practicing self-direction, grudgingly or otherwise.

Gender and Orientation Are Much Less Of An Issue

  • Boomers were pioneers on gender and orientation equality. Before them, discrimination against females and LGBQTs was mostly unchecked. Current laws that protect everyone’s human rights at work were advocated for by people who are now in their 60’s and 70’s.
  • Building on those initial successes, Millennials are bringing an embrace of diversity to new levels. Barriers are falling in ways Boomers applaud.

The Importance of Social Responsibility and Environment

  • In 1961, the book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson first raised mass awareness that earth’s resources are limited. From then on, many Boomers have been champions of ecology.
  • Millennials prize Corporate Social Responsibility. They want their employers to aid in endeavors from social justice to carbon reduction to workplace democracy.

From Common Values To Common Causes

Age can get in the way of cooperation, it’s true. Inter-generational resentments are easier to nurture than unified values.

For inspiration, consider a recent shining example. At the Paris Climate Change Talks in 2015, a Gen X world leader (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, born 1971)) worked together with dozens of head-of-state Boomers being mentored by eager Millennials.

What they shared was an agreed necessity of saving our planet. The accord they reached is a lynchpin in achieving this lofty goal. Isn’t that proof that generations can cooperate for the benefit of all?