How To Manage The New Workplace Reality


With clear caution against stereotyping people by age, Valerie M. Grubb has written an incredibly insightful book on how to manage the new workplace reality. A reality driven by the fact that by 2020, 25 percent of the labor force will be over the age of 55, and Generation Z is just now entering the workforce. All of which will drive a clash of cultures that demands a new management approach.

Key takeaways from Grubb's new book, Clash of the Generations, include:

  • Old habits - not old people - kill innovation, and pairing veteran workers with younger ones has proven to spur innovation at many companies.
  • Learning is a lifelong pursuit, and motivating senior team members to develop their skill sets is just as important as mentoring new and mid-career members of the team.
  • Employees and managers worry about job stability, and taking part in developing individualized career plans for your talent is a critical way to retain them.
In the book, you'll learn about:
  • The New Workplace Reality
  • Defining the Generations
  • Fostering a Culture of Inclusion
  • Setting the Stage for Great Performance
  • Being an Inclusive Manager
  • Promoting Growth Opportunities
  • Managing Differences in Work Ethic
  • Managing Different Work-Life Balance Expectations
  • Managing the Differences in Career Development Planning
And, you'll read some fascinating case studies about these organziations:
  • Chegg
  • Hy-Ko Products
  • TECT Corporation


Valerie M. Grubb

Today, Grubb shared with me her answers to these questions about a workplace with Baby Boomers Generation Xers, Millennials and the soon-to-come Generations Zers:

Question: When do you believe most businesses will fully experience the impact of Generation Zers?

Grubb: The latest generation, commonly referred to as Generation Z, Post-Millennials or Nextsters, were born in 1998 so businesses can expect this new group of employees to show up any day now (either as interns or full-time employees).

Question: How best should a leader pro-actively prepare for that impact?

Grubb: If your company is still struggling with how to manage the Millennial generation, it’s time to get serious about your management practices and training! I have five recommendations that leaders can immediately implement: 
  • Demand inclusivity – all voices matter, not just those new to the office or with more senior experience. By ensuring everyone is heard, your teaching respect for all which can positively affect employee motivation and engagement.
  • Understand that work ethic means very different things to each generation and this includes time in the office. Both Millennials and GenZ are incredibly entrepreneurial and will expect more independent work environments. So ensure your leaders are managing employees by the goals they accomplish, not by the hours in the office.
  • Train your managers on the value of appreciation. Millennials certainly brought the concept into the workforce but GenZ will take it to a whole new level. If your managers are stuck in the old ways of motivating and engaging employees (including not rewarding and appreciating employees), even previously successful managers will start to experience turnover.
  • Focus on development opportunities from the moment your GenZer (or Millennial) shows up in the office. If they are not learning, they’re looking for opportunities at your competitor. Take advantage of that strong desire to learn by offering professional development opportunities from formal training to informal mentoring options.
  • Step up your communication game. GenZ and Millennials are going to assume that no news = bad news, including that management doesn’t care about them. That can spell trouble for even the best of companies and it’s something leaders can immediately implement. 

Question: When a leader helps to facilitate mentoring within his/her organization, what works best? 

Grubb: Pairing Baby Boomers with Generatioon Xers, Millennials or Generation Zers? Any why?

Both!  Learning occurs up, down and sideways, so focus on the goals of what your trying to get out of the mentoring relationship, then pair up the generations to accomplish the mission. 

Boomers and Xers can gain a significant leg-up on technologies and the interests of younger workers by being paired up with Millennial and GenZers. On the flip side, more senior employees can help Millennials and GenZers with what it takes to lead in a corporate environment (and how to move up that timeline). 

As long as both employees walk into the partnership with the right attitude (that we both have something to learn), your mentoring programs can result in a more engaged and motivated workforce (and one that’s smarter too!).

Grubb is the founder of the consulting firm Val Grubb & Associates Ltd. During her career, she served as vice president of NBC Universal and played a key role in creating both Oxygen Media and IAC

Thank you to the book's publisher for sending me an advance copy of the book.

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