Executive Development Blog

Generations Have a Lot in Common, Too.

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Feb 9, 2017 12:00:26 PM

A friend of mine told me recently that she had e-mailed a funny story about her pre-teen daughter to her 75-year-old mother and promptly got the response, “LOL.” My friend said she was glad her mother was LOL, because had she been ROTFL, then she would have been worried if her mother could get up. My friend went on to tell me that her mother thanked her for the gift certificate she had e-mailed to her 85-year-old stepfather for his birthday. My friend told me that he applied the gift certificate to his online account and used it to download books for his new e-reader.

generationgap-1.jpgA story like this makes you wonder if we’ve got this whole generation gap concept right.

The bottom line: It’s time for HR and talent management professionals to stop looking at what divides us among the generations and start with what keeps us together—our desire for our organizations to succeed, our need for good leaders, finding success in our careers, and recognizing that we all face aging and uncertainty in our futures.

Some things all generations have in common:

  • We all want our organizations to succeed
  • We all want the same thing from our leaders
  • We all want some measure of success in our careers
  • We are all aging
  • We will all face challenges in the future

Download UNC’s white paper below titled, Rethinking Generation Gaps in the Workplace: Focus on Shared Values.  This white paper reviews emerging studies that suggest, while there are some tensions among the generations, the generation gap has been overly exaggerated in the popular press. In fact, the different generations may actually have more in common than previously thought. These studies will be used to highlight the values generations share in the workplace and provide guidance to HR and talent management professionals on how to improve organizational culture and communication by focusing on and leveraging these common traits.

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Topics: multigenerational workforces

How to Create an Organization that Embraces Older Workers

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Feb 2, 2017 1:26:15 PM

Despite the advantages of older workers, many U.S. employers undervalue this segment of the population – and remain in denial about the need to engage these workers. The 2015 SHRM survey on the aging workforce found that U.S. employers are unprepared for the reality of their aging workforces. Only one-third of survey respondents said they had examined their policies and practices to address older workers, and 20 percent of survey respondents said they had examined their organizations and determined that no changes in policies were needed. Only half of survey respondents said they tracked the percentage of workers eligible to retire within the next one to two years, and only 17 percent of survey respondents said they had analyzed the impact of workers age 55 and older leaving their organizations in the next six to 10 years. About half of the survey respondents said they didn’t think the potential loss of talent would impact their organization or industry (SHRM staff, 2015).

aging.pngThe SHRM survey found that employers seem, on the whole, unconcerned and unprepared for the realities of an aging workforce. For those employers who had taken steps to prepare for the potential skill gaps that will inevitably occur when older workers leave the organization:

  • 42 percent had increased training and cross-training;
  • 33 percent had developed succession plans;
  • 17 percent had developed processes to capture organizational knowledge, and;
  • 15 percent had stepped up recruiting efforts to replace retiring employees (SHRM staff, 2015).

This lack of urgency and short-sightedness on employers’ parts will leave many organizations at risk. Employers must assess their workforces now to identify the knowledge and skills that they may lose as a result of retirement and develop strategies to fill critical roles and facilitate knowledge transfer. Organizations must become more proactive in embracing this massive demographic shift and create a more effective plan to recruit and retain older workers. HR and talent management professionals should consider the following steps:

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Topics: multigenerational workforces, change

Accelerating Diversity for a Better Bottom Line

Posted by Kip Kelly on Dec 9, 2014 10:43:00 AM

Below is an excerpt from a recent white paper written by Horace McCormick, a program director here at UNC Executive Development.  The paper explores the value of diversity and offers tips to help organizations leverage diversity to boost the bottom line.


Organizations rich in ethnic, gender, and sexual orientation diversity are more innovative, creative, and demonstrate better decision making and problem solving, all of which leads to an improved bottom line (Philips, 2014). Josh Greenberg from The Multicultural Advantage website also notes that diversity boosts an organization’s adaptability because it helps employees generate a better variety of solutions to problems and allocation of resources than more homogeneous workforces. Diversity also helps employers more effectively offer a broader range of services because they retain employees with a deeper set of skills and experiences (like language and cultural understanding) that can give their organizations a competitive advantage by providing more effective services on a global basis (Greenberg, n.d.). Diverse organizations also foster a variety of viewpoints, and when CEOs and leaders really take heed, can generate better ideas that lead to improved creativity and innovation (Blanchard, 2014).

There have been a number of studies that demonstrate the benefits of workforce diversity. A 2012 study by business professors Cristian Deszo from the University of Maryland and David Ross from Columbia University found that having women at the top management levels led to an increase of $42 million in firm value. The study also examined “innovation intensity” and found that organizations which promoted innovation intensity experienced more financial gains when women were part of the top leadership team (Philips, 2014).

Diversity white paper from UNC Executive Development

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Topics: leadership, Gen Y, UNC, talent management, talent development, high-potential talent, leadership development, multigenerational workforces, learning and development, diversity

Talent Management: Managing the Multigenerational Workplace

Posted by Nancy Tannenbaum on May 8, 2014 4:00:00 PM

Check out the summary of our newest white paper by Kip Kelly and Dan Bursch:

Today’s workforce is decidedly multigenerational. It is comprised of five generations - Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (or Millennials), and a smattering of Generation Z - whose life experiences have left indelible marks on their values and work preferences. This rapid and unprecedented demographic shift has many talent management and business leaders wondering how organizations will adapt to the “5G” workplace.

UNC leadership multigenerational graphic

The focus of many organizations’ recruitment and retention initiatives have included race and ethnicity, gender, veteran recruitment and development, people with disabilities, and more. There is an increasing demand in the workforce today to add multigenerational diversity to the mix. Business executives and talent development managers must include the effects multiple generations have in the workplace to their diversity and inclusion initiatives. Multigenerational workplaces create unique challenges and opportunities for employers who want to leverage each generation’s talents and strengths to benefit their organizations’ bottom lines.  

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Topics: employee engagement, executive development, talent management, millennials, multigenerational workforces