Progressive Grocer Independent

AUG 2016

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28 | Progressive Grocer Independent | August 2016 Employing Multiple Generations Feature and constant feedback while feeling entitled to benefits without paying their dues, and that Baby Boomers are too serious, inflexible and too wedded to their routines. Generational stereotypes are plen- tiful, but no evidence supports the idea that 35-year-old managers today are any different from 35-year-old managers a generation ago, accord- ing to Peter Cappelli, professor of management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, in a Harvard Business Review report. He suggested the commonsense ap- proach of getting to know employees individually. However, O'Brien stresses that some thought does need to be given to differences in the culture of each generation, especially in how parent- ing has changed. Children play a much larger role in family decision- making than they have in the past. "Millennials are more interested in understanding the whys of what they do and feeling that they are a positive part of the outcome," O'Brien says. "Having said that, it doesn't mean that Boomers don't care about that. It's just a different way of being brought up. [Boomers] were told to follow directions." Mixed-age Teams In the multigenerational teams that independent retailers increasingly have in their stores, clearly defined goals are essential for a functioning team, so when a new member comes aboard, assign them a mentor. In mixed-aged teams, mentoring rela- tionships develop naturally, Cappelli noted. e older generation naturally tends to gravitate to that mentoring role, and the younger employee typi- cally finds it easier to take advice from an experienced worker, he added. Nakul Patel, owner of Mt. Ply- mouth IGA, in Sorrento, Fla., often promotes his younger employees into positions of management because they tend to be hungrier, he says, but he doesn't see pushback from older employees. "I think the older ones feel like what they are doing is really mentoring and teaching the younger ones," Patel says. Mt. Plymouth IGA may circumvent those feelings of people not paying their dues by paying its staff according to skill level and time at the company instead of by job title, so the older mentor may make as much as, if not more than, the younger manager. Up and Down Learning at doesn't mean that the older worker has nothing to learn, however. Mentoring can actually work both ways, O'Brien notes. e younger employee can offer a fresh perspec- tive on processes that may or not be working. He suggests asking new hires to keep an eye on how things are done and letting them know that there will be a meeting with the team in a few weeks to get their insights on how things are operating. "I think it's incredibly important to be upfront and say, 'Hey, I want you to just work with the way we do things, but understand on this date I want to pull a meeting together, and I'd love to hear your ideas on what we could do differently,'" O'Brien says. "at helps everyone be on board. ey all feel heard." e younger generations can feel like they're agents of change, while the older generations believe that they're helping the younger ones understand the business, and together they can chart a path forward. Dolphins Versus Lions To help make it easier for retailers to understand how to manage the different generations, O'Brien uses the analogy that Boomers are lions and therefore used to being managed by lion tamers, while Millennials are dolphins and used to being managed by dolphin trainers. is analogy Generation Gap The Traditionalists (The Greatest Generation, The Silent Generation): Born between 1927 and 1945* Expected to be seen and not heard as children, grew up during the Great Depression, loyal employees, respect authority, can be tech-challenged The Baby Boomers: Born between 1946 and 1964 Work-centric and motivated by position and prestige, goal-oriented, competitive, self-expressive Generation X: Born between 1965 and 1980 Individualistic, technologically adept, flexible, value work/life balance Gen Y (Millennials): Born between 1980 and the late 1990s Tech-savvy, family-centric, achievement-oriented, team-oriented, crave attention, prone to job-hopping Gen Z (iGeneration): Born after the late 1990s Tech-savvy, socialize on social media platforms, open-minded, compas- sionate, larger number than Boomers and Gen Y *Actual generational years may vary according to source 69% of Millennials and 63% of Boomers want to work remotely.

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