Twice a year the USD School of Business hosts a CFO Roundtable with several prominent firms, including Cushman & Wakefield, U.S. Bank, and KPMG. This invitation-only event gathers about 40 CFO and other corporate finance leaders for high level speakers and panels. Last Friday, we heard from a psychologist with the exotic name of Dr. Gustavo Grodnitzky.
Gustavo is an expert in the multigenerational workforce and helps companies understand how to recruit, retain and engage workers from all generations. He led us through a discussion of the five generations since 1900, the last of which is the Millennials, or the Gen-Y generation. Those of us in the audience who have children or employees born between 1982 and 2000 fully resonated with his comments.
Millennials are “technological natives,” while my generation, the Baby Boomers, are “technological immigrants.” Millennials are looking for purpose or a cause, not just outside of work, but in their work. They will leave a job to take a lower salary if they find more meaning in the work. They value relationships at work, not just outside of work, and they live a “blended” life where they seamlessly switch between work tasks and Facebook through the day and evening.
I could comment on the “Civic Generation,” (born 1900 – 1924), the “Silent Generation,” born1925 -1945), or the Gen-X generation (born 1965 – 1981), but I’ll leave those for another time. Let me share Gustavo’s thoughts on my generation, the Baby Boomers. My contemporaries are often called the Idealist Generation because we were shaped by the civil rights movement, the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Baby Boomers may work 70 – 80 hours per week and, therefore, have little work-life balance. And we have been notably incapable of figuring out Millennials. How do we engage them in work, provide the meaning they are looking for, and still leverage their remarkable talent for the good of the company? Gustavo shared a number of ideas that had us all scribbling notes. He noted the increased use of paid time off (PTO), in place of the usual fixed number of sick and vacation days; the growth of flex time and the four-day, 10-hour per day work week; and the creative use of social media to build relationships at work.
Gustavo has a host of other valuable ideas which you can check out at www.Drgustavo.com.