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One for the Ages (Perspectives recap + tipsheet)



We live in a time when there are as many as five active generations working in a given organization. This type of diversity in values, perspectives, and experience offers unprecedented learning opportunities—and frustrations. For the May episode of our Perspectives webinar series, we decided to tackle the topic of optimizing a multigenerational workforce.

My Executive Producer extraordinaire, Rachel Rosenthal, and I recruited a panel representing various generations:

Audience poll

After a bit of light housekeeping, I introduced our Menti poll. We love to get audience input on two simple questions before we dive into the panel discussion.

I began with the question: “Which generational cohort best describes you?”

These results shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Our webinar audience skews toward Strategic HR leaders and people-first SMB business owners. Even so, it was fascinating to see the breakdown in full technicolor.

The second question was more probing. I asked participants “Which generational issues have you experienced or witnessed?”

I’m not sure which is more depressing: the prevalence of responses or the fact that every one of the maladies I proposed got a healthy amount of votes. Clearly, we have a lot of work to do to create more effective and cohesive multigenerational workplaces.

Panel discussion

I kicked off our panel discussion by asking each of our panelists to share their own generational identity, as well as a few common characteristics of that cohort:

  • Courtney | Millennial – empathetic, values-driven, less afraid of continuous feedback
  • Brian | Gen Z – entrepreneurial spirit; cares about diversity, equity, and inclusion; big into environmental issues
  • Dave | Boomer – have seen radical advancement, driver of social norms, uneven embrace of change
  • Matt | Gen X – independence, work ethic, wanting to be better off than our parents

I then asked our panelists: What are some of the positive aspects of having a multigenerational workforce?

Dave got us started by saying, “It would be nice if everybody thought just like me. Right? Wrong. It’s nice when everybody has a different perspective. And I think when you let go of your beliefs and let other people share theirs, it doesn’t mean you have to agree. You come up with a much more diverse – and I’ll be honest with you – more interesting workforce, where different opinions are valued and appreciated.”

Courtney agreed by adding, “It’s always a better thing to have different perspectives and opinions so you can bounce things off each other, and ultimately grow from that.”

Brian pointed out a specific advantage for Gen Z workers: “We have to really rely on the folks who’ve been there a little bit longer than us to understand how a business works to understand the greater context. And so that’s a critical benefit in a multigenerational workplace.”

Over the course of our panel discussion, I posed a series of Mythbusters-style statements, and I asked our panelists to agree or disagree. How would you have responded?

  • “Gen Z is different from other generations because they want to do work that’s meaningful.”
  • “Now that they’re established in mid-career, Millennials have it easier than Boomers did.”
  • “Gen X workers care more about earning a paycheck than having a life outside of work.”
  • “Only Boomers experience ageism in the workplace.”

To hear what our panelists had to say, check out the replay at the bottom of this post!

Audience Q&A

Our audience posed some great Q&A that we addressed live.

Questions I posed to our panel included:

  • Do you think that some of the comments around lack of work ethic may be confused with people having appropriate work boundaries?
  • What is one thing an organization can do to improve employee satisfaction at work across generations?
  • How do you suggest helping Gen Zers with attendance issues? I’ve seen a serious pattern of Gen Z employees not showing up on time, not getting to meetings on time.
  • For those who seek purpose in work, do you consider maximizing company profitability consistent with or counter to Purpose ?
  • How do you balance ‘time spent in your place of work’ vs moving on just for a quick boost in salary or a higher role?

Check out the replay to hear how our panelists responded!

We always have a lively chat. Some of the astute highlights from our beloved attendees included:

  • Adino: “I am so glad this is the conversation taking place.”
  • Andres: “If you don’t employ a multigenerational workforce you won’t be able to serve a multigenerational market.”
  • Liz: “I get way more honest feedback from my Gen Zers far quicker because they don’t view my role as on some kind of pedestal.”
  • Nora: “There seems to be a paradigm shift from number of hours worked to quality of work done.”

Closing the show and next steps

At the end of the webinar, I shared these takeaways from our panelists:

  • Brian: Listen to the Lead the People podcast with Matt Poepsel, episode 64: “How Gen Z is Showing Up at Work with Brian Phillips” to continue the discussion on generational differences in the workplace.”
  • Courtney: Subscribe to PI’s newsletter to receive the PI Post – a monthly newsletter that highlights the latest in Talent Optimization, including what we’re reading, industry insights, news from The Predictive Index, actionable resources like worksheets and tipsheets, and more.
  • David: Check out the Building Forward Now website to learn more about the consulting resources they offer. 
  • Matt: Grab a copy of our latest Ebook, Become your CEO’s Most Valuable Partner, to learn the five forces that are reshaping the workforce, and how exec alignment is key to long-term performance and valuation.

Mastermind session (new!)

Next, I gave our attendees EARLY ACCESS to this month’s tipsheet all about transparency.

I also shared a SPECIAL SESSION available exclusively to live webinar attendees. I offered a complimentary group coaching session with me to continue the conversation about multigenerational work and to help each participant create a meaningful action plan for their team or organization.

If you’re interested in future group coaching like this, be sure to register and attend live for your chance!

Book giveaway

I shared our book giveaway winner (congrats, Brandi!) who will receive a signed copy of my book Expand the Circle: Enlightened Leadership for Our New World of Work.

Join us next month!

Finally, I shared details about next month’s Perspectives webinar:

Perspectives: New Tools of the Management Trade

How HR teams are equipping people leaders to succeed in the new world of work

June 12 at 2:00 p.m. ET

I really enjoyed this important and timely webinar. If you’d like to watch the replay, please find it below.

Persuader

Matt Poepsel, PhD is the author of Expand the Circle: Enlightened Leadership for Our New World of Work and host of the Lead the People podcast. He serves as Vice President & Godfather of Talent Optimization at The Predictive Index. He holds a PhD in Psychology, an MBA, and a Harvard Business School Certificate of Management Excellence. Matt has more than 25 years of leadership experience as a software executive and consultant. He’s also a US Marine, an Ironman triathlon finisher, and a student of Buddhist philosophy.

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