As a mother of two Gen Z children, Cheif Relationship Officer, Sarah Graves, PCC has witnessed firsthand how the paradigm shift of the world wide web, smartphones, and 24/7 news cycle has impacted them, their friends, classmates, and community. She has passionately researched Gen Z for over 15 years. Parenting during this transition has made the traditional line "They don't come with a handbook" an understatement.
The demographics of our current students and clients at inviteCHANGE reflect the evolving landscape of the intergenerational workplace, with a marked increase of learners under 30. We have an awareness that the desire for Harmony in the Workplace has never been higher.
Expectations during other evolutions (some might call them revolutions) did not include the notion of Harmony. This blog is a dip into what is an ongoing exploration and the challenge to listen, learn, lead and live in ways unavailable in previous millenia.
From jazz ensembles to barbershop quartets the sound of four-part harmony attracts our rapt attention.
The musicians are each committed to their place, part, and presence. They are aware that if one of them drops out, it impacts the others. The clarity of each instrument reflects both the individual and the collective impact. As they interweave the notes and lean into the next note simultaneously, we are transported. We move right along with them. When they dance to a discordant sound for a moment or more, we feel the tension and anticipation. When the notes resolve at the end of the phrase or song there’s a sense of relief, wonder, and even satisfaction.
Leaders and coaches, it’s time to explore three key ways to create harmony in your workplace, and spoiler alert—those harmonious creations impact the home front, too.
Remember that Gen Z had their education completely interrupted by a long quarantine. That means they didn't have teachers and coaches. So instead of having a two-day or a week or a quarter to onboard your gen Z people, think about a longer program (perhaps 120 days or even a yearlong program) that has training, mentorship, and sequential leadership programs. While this will help your younger generation employees and new recruits, it will help all generations as you up to your game and make skill development a key portion of your onboarding.
Leaders, your manager's KPIs, and incentives can include intergenerational relationship development. Replace disparaging or adverse remarks or impressions of the younger generation with the inviteCHANGE Generative Wholeness principle of perceiving and accepting everyone, starting with you, as Whole, Resourceful, Capable and Creative(WRCC). This will affect teaming in an authentic and positive manner.
One quick tip from the Harvard Business Review that I loved is to have the younger generation work with senior employees on their tech skills and social media. Our CEO Janet M. Harvey works with our marketing team to learn how to navigate LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and it gives Janet great delight when she gets it. In turn, our team feels confident and more contributory as they bring what they know to the workplace and see that it contributes and has merit.
Long before Gen Z, we had stress in our workplace. It costs American businesses over 500 billion a year in absenteeism, loss of productivity, and apathy. Gen Z is simply bringing an intolerance of unwarranted stress because their whole life has been filled the transition stress of a paradigm shift. They have been connected to the worldwide web since they were walking. They have been marketed to, overwhelmed by media and global connection. They love the access and variety but are overwhelmed by it, too. What can you do as a leader to support navigating the challenges of a post-pandemic workplace?
These accommodations help all of your employees. The irony that we have is that stress and the consequences have been around for decades. The demand for workplace harmony provides the impetus to change and transform the marketplace.
Here’s my bias showing--my favorite stress management tool is right out of Harvard Business Review -- Coaching.
With Mother’s Day this Sunday, I asked some of our team about their special ways of being with their children over the years and what has worked that they would share with us. Here are their gifts to us:
Sarah Graves, PCC - has a senior in high school, Joseph Hale Fa’aleava, a rapper and a TKD Black Belt. Her daughter, Lele, is 25 and lives in PDX, employed and contemplating creative opportunities:
Katherine Gilliland, PCC:
Sharmin Banu, PCC, - mother to a current NYU student:
Paige Christian - tips while working from home and managing a 9-year-old learning from home:
Erin Moncada, mother of Alma, 4 years old, star of Facebook and Zoom:
Laurie Johnson, PCC - As a Grandmother of three children, ages 2, 6, and 15, Laurie is sometimes asked if she can help when the little ones are sick or off of school. At these times, she remembers her own Grandmother's way of being with her. Everything stopped when she was with her and it was just about them together, making memories. These days, when called upon to support the grandchildren, she can connect in the same ways, with some negotiation.
Want more tips on achieving harmony? Check out this YouTube video!
Sarah passionately and practically pursues the development of leaders through intentional, organic growth. She emboldens leaders to create an environment where management is expansive, willing to move with agility beyond comfort zones, and to champion the individual and collective genius within the organization. With teams in transition she inspires connection, realignment and forward progress within the awkward movements of the changing landscape. Her belief is that coaching is as essential an element for an organization as the product or service the company produces. “An employee who grows personally, grows professionally” and coaching seeds growth.
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