This week, I had the opportunity to give a presentation on “Managing Generations” to the Central Ohio Association of Financial Professionals. They are a great organization, and I appreciated spending time with them.
In doing the research for my presentation, I really learned a lot about the three generations that currently share our workforce. Each generation is distinct in their background, their values and their attitude regarding the world of work. I wish that I had done this research years ago.
I thought it would be valuable if I shared parts of my presentation with you in hopes that you can better understand how to lead our current age-diverse workforce. It’s important information to know.
This week, let’s talk about the generation that is closest to my heart – The Boomers.
In 1920, my grandparents immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island along with 17 million other Europeans. They came to the US because they heard that the United States was the land of opportunity and the “Streets were paved with gold.” I heard this statement many times during my childhood
My grandparents settled in Detroit, Michigan and found work on the automotive productions lines that employed thousands of other immigrants. One of my grandfathers worked on a production line for Ford Motor Company and the other worked for DeSoto. (Who remembers DeSoto?) It was hard but honest work. The automotive industry has been good to the family. I think there may even be gasoline in our blood.
Henry Ford was quoted as saying, “ Why is it that every time I ask for a pair of hands, they come with a brain attached.” This was the management mentality of the time.
My father and mother were the product of depression-surviving, hard-working, and stoic parents. My parents were the poster children for the “Greatest Generation”. While my soon-to-be father fought in Word War II, my mother worked in a belt factory waiting for his safe return.
After my father returned from the war, they bought one of the thousands of story-and-a-half bungalows that proliferated Detroit that were made affordable to the returning GI’s. Mom and Dad settled in to have a family.
In all of the story-an-a-half bungalows in all of the cities across the United States, a generation of children were born that would shape the nation – the Baby Boomer generation.
- 76 million Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964.
- We currently represent 28% of the US population.
- Beginning in 2011, ten million Boomers will retire every day.
- By 2015 almost 33% of the workforce will be eligible to retire including 48% of our supervisors.
- We were shaped by Woodstock, JFK, RFK and MLK.
- We may be technologically challenged.
I really get tickled about the technology challenged thing. During my junior year in college, my Father bought me one of the first ever, hand-held, Texas Instruments, TI-35 scientific calculators. They were introduced to the market that year and cost $400 each.
Previously, engineers used slide rules to make our complex scientific calculations. Engineers designed the first lunar landing module using slide rules. The modern slide rule was actually invented in 1630…so give us a flippin’ break.
Managing Baby Boomers
- The average tenure for Boomers is 7 years.
- We tend to treat work as a source of stability and security.
- 48% of companies have no strategic plan to deal with Boomer retirement.
- Boomers love having a mission, so companies should provide a strong corporate mission for us to align ourselves with.
- Boomers love having meetings.
- Boomers appreciate personal attention, especially in one-on-one communications.
- We are more likely to use the phone more than any other generation.
At the end of this year, I will have the opportunity to go on Medicare, sign up for Social Security payments and get a 10% discount on my trash collection service. American Pharaoh is not the only horse that won the Triple Crown.
Twenty-seven million Boomers said they would never retire. I may be one of them. I’m just having too much fun.
Everyone have a terrific week.
Ken Lazar, Principal
Ability Professional Network, LLC
Recruiting Sales and Business Development Professionals