What has changed?
Starting to work soon after high school degree, maybe at the age of 18/24 , as was quite common for those who were born in the ’50 o ’60, or starting your career at the age of 25/30 , as you probably did if you were born in the ’80 o ’90, means comparing utterly different worlds and life philosophies, needs, expectations, values and approaches to life and to work.
Entry conditions to worklife have completely changed in terms of age and educational qualifications, together with the minimum number of working years required for retirement. As a result today the age of workers is between 20, more or less, to over 65.
Nowadays a teamleader may have reports from 20/25 to 55/60 years old. Just to make an example, the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, was born in 1984.
This generation was familiar with the new media since they were born, at the age of 10, in 1994, they already had a pc at home and could use dad’s or mum’s cell, if they hadn’t got one already.
Different generations look at the world and the challenges they face through different eyes, eyes that have witnessed to different socio-cultural events in their youth.
What is a taboo to a generation often becomes springing board for another one. Innovating, being strategic involves seeing things through someone else’s eyes, maybe someone belonging to a different generation.
We believe that it is possible to learn a lot and, maybe, to innovate or change what isn’t working any more if we learn to exploit the innovative hidden potential of each generation.
The analysis and reflections we have carried out throughout the project Generation Mover aim at promoting and developing first the awareness of the generational theme and then working on its potential. This awareness can be the key to turn this theme into an extraordinary booster of the growth and success of an organization.
From a socio-economic point of view, the uneasiness of the 40year- old (the lost generation), the last generation that could have a stable job, seems to be exploding in all its contradictions. With their work they provide for the financial support of their parents and grandparents (Boomers e Matures) who retired with all privileges, often even baby-retired who instead have contributed very little to the present social state, generating for themselves a wealth that their children will never reach.
In the company
The generational factor is a key to company success. The revolutionary potential due to the great changes brought about , also, by the co-existence of 4 generations in the workplace, has not yet been fully understood in Italy. Recent studies make the generational theme a glass through which we can not only look at (and try to interpret) the evolution of our society and our production systems, but also act to improve the effectiveness and performance of teams in organizations, in a perspective of generational sustainability and business.
From the point of view of the organization, for the first time, in the same company, under the same roof 4 generations live and work together, bringing along value systems, goals, jargons, sensibilities whose clash is a potential obstacle to productivity, to performance, to effectiveness, in one word, to the success of the company.
Just think about the communication (at large), which in the company should flow smoothly and, more often than not, is slow and hard due to the differences, but even more because little is known about the nature of generations, of their value systems, of their expectations. An example, among others, is the loathing many baby boomers show for the use of blackberry, ipad, email at any time of the day and night , which is all right for X generation.
What is a taboo to a generation often becomes a springing board for another one, or the new perspective of one generation highlights unexpected opportunities. Innovation also means being able to see the world through different eyes, maybe eyes with a different age.
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