3 Generations: 6 Stark Differences in the Workplace (Part 1)

Technology has changed everything, and for employers, today’s world is far more complicated than it was just one generation ago. Before smartphones and the internet ruled our lives, workplaces were more or less able to operate at status quo, as their employees’ needs and wants were fairly steady from year to year. In this era, however, human resources are far more difficult to navigate; technology has ushered in three very unique types of workers. The balancing act between Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials hasn’t come easy for many employers. These three generations—all working simultaneously, side-by-side—have arguably instigated some of the largest hurdles the HR industry has ever seen. There are stark differences between each set of staffers, and understanding how to accommodate each of their needs mutually exclusively—yet completely cohesively—is the perfect picture of an employment oxymoron. According to the results of the Employer Associations of America (EAA) 2018 National Business Trends Report, as many companies hire new employees from different generational groups, they’re noticing significant differences from one group to the next. In this two-part series, we’ll explore some of the top items candidates are looking for in today’s market, starting with the three elements that ranked highest on the list. 1. Competitive Pay Competitive pay hit the nail on the head for Gen Xers. 72% of respondents to the 2018 Business Trends Survey rated competitive pay as the number one request of Gen X candidates. Gen X employees have experienced ebbs and flows in the economy, including the stock market crash of 1987 known as Black Monday and, of course, The Great Recession. These employees have...

When did employee appreciation become just another Millennial thing?

Employee appreciation — is it just a modern-day buzz phrase or something that most companies have been missing all along? As Millennials have begun to infiltrate the workforce, phrases such as “employee appreciation,” “employee engagement,” and “company loyalty” have popped up in publications and social media feeds all over the world. Suddenly, as the younger generation has geared up towards professional careers, it seems employers have begun to take notice of employees’ needs. But why did we wait so long? If you walk around your organization and ask your team what changed when Millennials entered the picture, they’d likely throw the question back in your court. Truly, what did change? In fact, all of your employees want to be appreciated, no matter what age, life status, or generation classification; if they’re doing a good job, they expect to be respected, and rightfully so. After all, outstanding employees are hard to come by, and your Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers deserve just as many accolades for jobs well done as do their Millennial counterparts. On that note, it’s important to keep in mind that, if your top employees don’t feel appreciated, they’ll happily find themselves on your competitors’ payrolls — no matter how old they are. Why Do People Leave Their Jobs? The number one reason people leave jobs is not money — it’s management. Draconian cultures are forcing good people to walk right out the door, despite any amount of time, effort, or capabilities they’ve brought their current organizations. ‘Appreciation’ is another word for ‘feedback.’ Unfortunately, this simple concept is lost on most managers who experience high amounts of turnover....

How to Hire Someone When it’s Really Not Your Forte: Holly’s Top 3 Recruitment Strategies

The other day over a couple of Keurig specials, I was catching up with my friend Chris. Chris’s official title at his small but growing employer is CFO. But a couple times a year, his title morphs into “temporary HR specialist extraordinaire.” Chris looked pretty harried. I figured one of those HR duties must have landed on his desk recently. So I asked him what’s up. It turns out Chris’s company needed to add a Project Engineer to the team for a new rollout. And it was Chris’s job to find the right candidate. How’s it going? I asked, pretending not to see the obvious. Horribly it turns out, as I suspected. The job market is tightening. Lots of companies are recruiting hard and heavy. And talented people are getting trickier to find. To make things worse, Chris’s first strategy was a loser: He posted the job opening on Monster, CareerBuilder, and Dice. You probably know how the rest of the story goes. It’s probably happened to you, too. Chris got LOTS of responses. Lots and lots of UNDER-QUALIFIED, often automated responses. And on the rare occasion he decided one of them might be worth contacting, they rarely responded. Fortunately, Holly, my hiring guru here at MEA, has the best handle on recruiting this side of the Atlantic. So to save Chris from further heartburn, I gave him “Holly’s Top Three Recruitment Tactics.” I’m sharing them here in case they can save you from the Dicey Monster Mountain of Career-Building Resumes. Holly’s Top 3 Recruitment Tactics 1. Incentivize your staff to find their newest best colleague. Your employees are...

Cultures Driven by Business: Ideo, Wawa and Netflix

MEA Members heard from two leading economists/forecasters over the past 3 months.  Both project strong economies for the next several years which will have an impact on salaries (rising as critical resources become more scarce) and the face of the workforce as more Baby Boomers feel confident enough to retire and the percentage of Millennials in the workplace continues to rise (Currently over 25% and expected to rise to 50% by 2020).  As reported in our Business Trends Survey, MEA Members are already expressing greater concern over retention (40%) which will only worsen as unemployment declines.  For example, 20% of Survey participants already expressed difficulty hiring entry level positions! More and more companies are examining their Culture and Core Values as a critical business tool to motivate, engage and retain their talent.  Recently, I separately read about 3 great companies with very different Cultures and Core Values which work for their Business. 1. Wawa – Servant Leadership (SmartCEO Magazine).  If you are a Wawa junkie like me, you know they outdo everyone else in the fast food/convenience store category.  Their mission is concise – to simplify their customers daily lives – but what is unique is their complete adoption of servant leadership principles to remove obstacles to providing great service and make associates jobs easier since they are the face of the Wawa brand.  The Servant Leadership principles are based upon the 1970 essay by Robert K. Greenleaf. Here are the six Wawa Core Values: Value People Delight Customers Embrace Change Do Things Right Do the Right Thing Passion for Winning Wawa leadership expresses their Core Values through Servant...

Can Wellness at Work Work?

With the continued focus on rising Healthcare costs and the impact of the Affordable Care Act, many leaders question whether Wellness works.  Recently, MEA held sessions with Dr. Dee Edington, author of Zero Trends: Health as a Serious Economic Strategy and a leading national researcher on Wellness.  His ideas draw from more than 30 years of research and data on hundreds of thousands of employees.  MEA has also recently established a Health and Care Peer Group of more than 20 CEOs and CFOs who meet monthly to hear from leading outside experts and each other in order to collaborate and develop best practices for mid-sized organizations around health and healthcare.  While by no means the “answer,” here are some points that have come out of these presentations and discussions: Wellness is a broad phrase but there is ample evidence that improving the health of our employees and their families improves performance and productivity, reduces absenteeism and sick leave and increases presenteeism. In addition, a healthy workplace for many companies is a key driver of employee morale and engagement and is often reflected in a company’s core values. Many programs attempt to eliminate an already present risk (smoking cessation, weight loss) and these have not proved successful. According to Dr. Edington’s research, healthcare costs rise exponentially as health risk factors and age rise.  To battle this trend, we need to work on creating healthy workplaces where positive behaviors are rewarded before employees reach points where it is difficult to go back.  His most compelling statement was that we will be much better off if we just don’t get worse. Interestingly,...

NAM Releases Manufacturers’ Growth Agenda

In an effort to best serve our Manufacturing Member Companies, we’d like to pass on this release from the National Association of Manufacturers: “Manufacturing is in the spotlight as policymakers continue to realize our significant role in driving economic growth. Today, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is releasing its priorities in a document called A Growth Agenda: Four Goals for a Manufacturing Resurgence in America. This policy blueprint has bipartisan appeal and features four central aspirations upon which we all can agree: The United States will be the best place in the world to manufacture and attract foreign direct investment. Manufacturers in the United States will be the world’s leading innovators. The United States will expand access to global markets to enable manufacturers to reach the 95 percent of consumers who live outside our borders. Manufacturers in the United States will have access to the workforce that the 21st-century economy demands. This plan builds on the success of our Manufacturing Renaissance goals released in 2011. If these policies are enacted as we have proposed, we will unleash our economic potential and manufacturing’s outsized multiplier effect will be realized. I hope you will use this document in your efforts to advance our manufacturing agenda as well. Manufacturing made the United States strong, and it will make us even stronger if we speak with a united voice.” Visit www.nam.org to learn more.   Kevin...

D.C. Circuit of Appeals rules NLRB Recess Appointments Unconstitutional

MEA Members, Knowing of your interest in labor issues, I wanted to make you aware of a very important ruling by the D.C. Circuit of Appeals. This morning, the Appeals Court ruled that the three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) made by President Obama a year ago are unconstitutional. The NLRB’s activist and aggressive actions in recent years have raised significant concerns, including challenges to the constitutionality of the Board’s composition. Today’s ruling gives strong confirmation to those concerns and is a significant rebuke of what has become an increasingly overreaching NLRB with an intent to ignore its statutory authority. If this ruling stands, Chairman Mark Pearce will be the only properly seated member of the NLRB until August when his term expires. This ruling speaks volumes about the way the Board has been constituted and throws a significant roadblock in its rulemaking ability. For manufacturers that have been forced to deal with increased burdensome regulations, this is an important moment-perhaps a sign that we may see an NLRB in the future that will exist to improve employer-employee relations in this country rather than tear them down. The NAM will be reviewing the opinion thoroughly to determine what impact this significant development will have on any and all decisions made by the Board over the past year. We will keep you apprised of developments. Best regards, Kevin RobinsCEO, MidAtlantic Employers’ Association610-994-7719 Alert from National Association of...

What are your Workforce New Year’s Resolutions?

  Happy 2013 to MEA Members!  As you plan for 2013, have you made any workforce resolutions?  2012 was a year where workforce changes became more apparent and real.  We now know that healthcare reform is here to stay, Millennials will make up 50% of our workforce in less than 4 years (at the same time many Boomers will retire), and we have a skilled labor shortage.  Oh, and social media and technology are integral components of both business and recruiting. Unlike 20 – 30 years ago, these changes are more evolutionary than revolutionary and many forward thinking Members have jumped in to avoid falling behind the talent race.  To help you think about your workforce resolutions, let me share some Member successes we saw in 2012: 1.  Recognition and Development Programs. There is much research that all generations, but especially Millennials, place a high value on growth and development.  This is a key part of the new employment “contract” (lifetime employment is no longer enough).  This is not a nice to have but a must have as employees of all ages seek this out, whether with you or somewhere else.  This is especially true of high performers/potentials.  MEA Members have developed strategies such as latticed career paths, new merit based compensation strategies, tuition support (partial or full) and skills based development programs to meet this demand and retain their best employees. 2.  Leadership and Succession Planning. Many Members have recognized the upcoming management transition, few have put a succession process in place.  It is never too late to start.  There are several critical ingredients here:  identify clearly what...

Governor’s Manufacturing Advisory Council Report Released

On Tuesday, I attended one of the events announcing the release of the Report and Recommendations of the Governor’s Manufacturing Advisory Council (“Council”).   The Council, comprised of 24 members from a diverse cross section of manufacturing interests across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, was formed by Governor Tom Corbett in November 2011 to focus on the current and future state of manufacturing. The full report can be downloaded here.  The Report highlighted several key facts that demonstrate the significance of manufacturing in Pennsylvania: Manufacturing employs 574,000 Pennsylvanians accounting for 10% of the total workforce. Average annual compensation in manufacturing is $64,913 which is 44.2% higher than the non-manufacturing sector. Manufacturing accounts for 70% of all research and development expenditures in Pennsylvania. 98% of all manufacturing firms in Pennsylvania employ fewer than 500 employees, accounting for 75% of the total manufacturing workforce. 23 Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Pennsylvania, including at least 10 primarily focused on manufacturing. 82% of manufacturers report a serious or moderate skills gap and 74% report that this is negatively impacting their ability to expand. 25% of manufacturing employees are 55+ and as of June 2012 there were 7,639 manufacturing openings. The Council found that the most pressing needs center on finding people with the right skills and education to fill current and future manufacturing roles and to develop future leaders.  Highlights of the report include: “Adopt a School Program” to better connect our schools and curriculum with the needs of the manufacturing industry.  As an example, the event yesterday was held at the Edison/Fareira High School Welding Facility in Philadelphia where we saw how several...

Recap of One Page Talent Management Briefings

On May 9th, MEA sponsored presentations by Marc Effron, author of the Harvard Business review best selling book One Page Talent Management to more than 80 Human Resource professionals and CEO’s.  The reviews were highly favorable across the board. Marc has spent many years as a Talent expert inside small and large companies, as a practice leader with a large consulting firm and now as founder of a global Talent Strategy firm.  He explained his approach to Talent Management as being founded on some very simple principles.  Taking a page from principles of Lean and Six Sigma, Marc has documented that talent can be developed by repeatable systematic processes that are designed to the specifications needed for that business.  Marc’s challenge to the audience was to embrace the notion, used by most successful large companies, that “Better Talent Leads to Better Business Results.”  If you do, then he believes that any business willing to make some changes can build better talent.  He has seen this work at companies of all sizes noting that it works very well at mid-sized companies where Simple and Practical are favored by managers and supervisors. The One Page Talent Management approach follows some key practical guidelines: 1. Be Clear about the Business Problem to be Solved.  Too many HR programs are put in place based on some notion of best practices, latest trends or new technology.  The most important step is often the most overlooked:  How can talent support the business today and tomorrrow.  Marc was of the view that the process must always begin with Senior Leadership direction on this question. 2. Start...

Employee Engagement: Why it Matters

Many of you have heard the phrase “Employee Engagement” and may think it is just another HR phrase or idea of the day. Please take a minute to read this and reconsider your view. There is significant research over the past 15 years to support the view that companies with highly engaged employees have better business results than companies with low engagement ratings. Of great concern, the Gallup organization, which has been measuring the impact of Employee Engagement across thousands of companies, estimates today that only 28% of US employees are highly engaged. The impact of the disengaged is even greater on the partially engaged employees (53% on average.) The partially engaged are often swayed by the seemingly loud voices or behaviors of the disengaged, or “engagement saboteurs”, when the voice of the highly engaged is so soft. The real gain from improving engagement levels results from the shift of more partially engaged employees to highly engaged employees as this not only improves engagement levels but also mutes the voices of the disengaged. At a recent national conference on Talent Management, successful companies across the board, were placing a strong emphasis on Employee Engagement. Companies like Jim Beam, Cardinal Health and Fifth Third Bank have employee engagement as a top corporate priority along with leadership development and succession. Moreover, a recent global CEO study distributed at the conference by Deloitte indicated that Employee Engagement was in the top 3 of most pressing HR concerns. Aon/Hewitt recently reported that high employee engagement companies outperformed average market returns by 22% while low employee engagement companies underperformed by 28%. Even more compelling...

Happy New Year from MEA

I hope that everyone enjoyed their holiday season. The team at MEA is excited to begin 2012 with a flourish. Let me highlight some exciting happenings for our Members. New MEA website is live! Make sure to check out our new website which can still be found at www.meainfo.org. Here are some of the exciting changes you will see: New Training Calendar We have totally revamped our training calendar. You can now sort classes by Series, by Class, Location and Delivery method (webinar or Cyber workshop) , and Accreditation. You can now also register and pay online. Members Only Features Exclusive to Members, you can now access CCH HRAnswersNow, a full online HR resource. Members can also access MEA’s proprietary and interactive HR Toolkit with best practices, forms and checklists, as well as an Employee Handbook policy roadmap and other valuable tools. In addition, Members have access to archived Newsletters and Alerts. Member Spotlight We are proud of the great companies we count among our Members. We want to raise the visibility and strengthen the sense of community among our Members. Under Member Spotlight, you will find information about three Members who are doing their part to make a positive impact on our world: CTN Solutions, New Age Industries and Tozour Energy Systems. This is just the beginning! Let me know of any activities your company or employees are doing to make a difference – we want to grow the Spotlight! Also, be sure to check out our Sponsor Members, companies that are supporting the efforts of MEA to serve its Members. New Online Computer Workshops After the tremendous response to...