I have recently been communicating with Dale Paulson, Ph.D., who is the President of Allegiance Research Group. Dale and his team developed the Workplace Attitudes Test, which measures bad attitudes that lead to disruption in the workplace.
Dale and I have been in communication because he’s intrigued by the younger generation and their workstyle and sense of entitlement. Take a read of Dale’s article, “The Greatest-Generation, Baby-Boomers, Gen-X’ers, Gen-Y’ers and Gen-Me: Who Are These People?” Dale also provides links to several other articles on the subject – the USA Today article provides a lot of insight.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
Gen-Me is here to stay. And we need to be somewhat adaptive as it relates to their workstyle.
They don’t want to work in a typical corporate structure. They don’t want hierarchy. They don’t want to conform. They’re called Gen-Me for a reason.
A bit ago, I wrote about the need to stand firm as it relates to dealing with such employees. However, as I’ve spent much more time talking to people about Gen-Me, my thinking is shifting. Yes, you need to stand firm on certain issues. But Gen-Me is only going to grow bigger, and have a larger influence on how companies are run. So it’s either change or be changed.
The management style in dealing with Gen-Me is not about managing them, but about containing them. Meaning, we cannot impose our management style on them. We have to gently corral them, allowing them to flex. That’s the only way we’ll get maximum productivity out of this new generation of employees.
Corporations and companies who take heed and adapt will win in the long run. In fact, one of the biggest things I’ve learned is that they want to be part of the team that makes a company successful. But they want to be an active team member who has access to top management because they believe they can contribute. And that’s something a lot of companies aren’t ready for just yet [all I think is, "who is this little twit who thinks he or she knows everything?”].
It’s an interesting prospect…will companies be better off with an amorphous structure that embraces individuality and flexes as needed? Only time will tell.