I’m excited to share that my latest book is in to Wiley, my publisher!
Clash of the Generations: Managing the New Workplace Reality will hit book stores 10/24/16! Woo hoo!
When I started this journey late last year, it felt pretty overwhelming. I remember typing “Chapter 1: The New Workplace Reality” and thinking to myself only 64,994 words left…. Alas, all the words are down on paper now! Still a long way until it’s done, but this was certainly a big step.
I’ve included the opening paragraphs below, but to download your copy of the entire first chapter, please fill out this form and you will be redirected to a download link:
Chapter 1: The New Workplace Reality
Clinging to the past is the problem. Embracing change is the solution.
—Gloria Steinem, Moving Beyond Words
Since the first major round of corporate downsizing in the 1980s, the longtime traditional employment trajectory has been in flux. Gone are the days when people entered the workforce as young adults, worked until their mid-50s or so, then sailed off into retirement while younger generations took their place. Instead, the average retirement age has steadily been creeping up in recent decades as older employees—in particular, the Baby Boomers—stay in the workforce either by choice or by necessity. Medical and technological advances mean we’re living much longer than previous generations. But the financial instability caused by the 2008 recession has taken a massive toll on retirement plans, requiring many older employees to remain in the workforce longer. Boomers aren’t continuing to work only because they have to, though: many of them continue to work because they want to, thanks in part to the growing availability of office jobs that people can continue to do regardless of age. In addition, many Boomers just enjoy the camaraderie and social connectivity of the workplace. And Boomers often have a lot of pride in their career—a sentiment that can make them inclined to stay in the workplace longer.
In recent years, though, a new generation has become the largest group in the labor market: the Millennials. In early 2015, a Pew Research Center study found that for the first time the workplace included more Millennials (nearly 54 million) than Baby Boomers (nearly 53 million) or members of Generation X (just under 45 million). With so many younger employees joining the workforce, one might assume that the median age of U.S. workers was decreasing. Surprisingly, that is not the case.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2004 the median working age was 40.3 years but in 2014 it had climbed to 41.9 years—and by 2024 it is expected to hit 42.4 years. Interestingly, although the Millennial numbers are far greater than the current figures of earlier generations, the BLS report states that “the average annual growth rate of the 55-years-and-older group [is] projected to be 1.8%, more than three times the rate of growth of the overall labor force,” adding that “the group’s share of the labor force is anticipated to increase from 21.7% in 2014 to nearly 25% in 2024.” These projections indicate that not only will Baby Boomers continue to work alongside their current Generation X and Millennial colleagues, but that they will still be around when Generation Z join the workforce.
That is potentially good news for companies experiencing a shortage of workers, particularly in skilled trades. But when three or even four generations are sharing the office, getting everyone to work together toward a common goal becomes even more challenging. Senior leaders, managers, and HR professionals need to be prepared to manage a workforce spanning multiple generations with wildly different ideas about work ethic, work-life balance, and long-term career goals, among many other issues. Each age cohort brings its own expectations, goals, motivations, and experiences into the office every day, and company leaders, managers and human resources executives who want to succeed must understand those differences in order to minimize conflict and create a productive workplace.
Mark your calendars – Clash of the Generations drops 10/24/16!
Meanwhile, have you picked up a copy of my first book? Planes, Canes, and Automobiles: Connecting with Your Aging Parents through Travel is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other bookstores near you!