My favorite HR practioner from India, Ankita Poddar, hit another home run earlier this week. In my post, HR Professionals Create Something, earlier this week I was urging my fellow HR professionals to come up with something new or different. Well I’m not alone. In her post Where Are the HR Innovation Conferences Ankita laments that HR professionals aren’t innovative.
I understand HR is not one of the arts where you use the right side of the brain. Regardless of which side of the brain you use innovation is needed in every field. On a large scale HR has to move beyond the mundane and into the future. In no way am I suggesting that HR is beyond the times, absolutely not. However, unlike other fields that people purposefully entered HR is a field that many people stumbled into.
I want to give you a brief history lesson of HR. Historically HR has been a female dominated field and it still is. In the business arena HR is a support function. In the workforce women have historically held support roles. In the mid twentieth century when women were entering the workforce in large numbers the only positions they were allowed to have were support roles. So by default many HR professionals stumbled into the field.
There’s nothing wrong with stumbling into a field. However, there’s a difference between doing something you love and having a job. Once again unlike other fields HR has been a field that you didn’t have to have a degree get into. Just having a job won’t give you a passion for what you do. Not being mentally challenged before entering the workforce also won’t give you a passion for what you do. A lack of passion is one of the things HR is missing. If you have a passion for your job then you have a dog in the fight. Without a passion for HR our field will always be lacking on the innovation front.
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The New Year is here but are you well rested? With all of the activities you hosted or participated in during the holidays were you able to decompress from 2013? When you made your New Year’s resolutions did any of them involve taking better care of yourself and a work-life balance? The most important component of HR and OD are the employees. If you don’t take care of yourself you’re no good to your employer. In an effort to put yourself first in 2014 your top five New Year’s resolutions should read something like this:
1. Take better care of myself
2. Work-life balance
3. Take better care of myself
4. Work-life balance
5. Take better care of myself
As a generation millennials understand the importance of a work-life balance. This post is really for my peers in generation X and baby-boomers. The order in your life should be you, family, friends, and last but not least work.
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Today’s workforce poses problems for managers because it consists of three generations: baby boomers (boomers), generation X (Xer’s) and generation Y (millennials). The recent economic collapse has kept many boomers in the workforce longer than they expected. It has also forced many boomers back into the workforce. Even with all of these boomers in the workforce, most of the workforce comprises Xer’s and millennials.
It is important for managers to know the strengths and weaknesses of each person they manage. In our current workforce, some of the strengths and weaknesses of employees stem from when they were born.
Boomers will make any necessary sacrifices to get the job done. They will sacrifice personal time, family ect. Xer’s will also make the necessary sacrifices to get the job done. While willing to make the necessary sacrifices Xer’s will also aim for a work life balance. They are not as willing as boomers to sacrifice their personal time, family etc. Millennials have an attitude of entitlement. The world revolves around them. Not to say they aren’t hard workers but for the most part millennials are not willing to sacrifice any of their time for something that does not directly benefit them.
Managers have to be aware of the tendencies of each generation. Boomers have been in the workforce longer and possess a wealth knowledge and wisdom. Millennials are tech savvy but lack wisdom and experience. Xer’s have the benefit of being between the two. They have been in the workforce long enough to have gained some wisdom and are young enough to be tech savvy.
Boomers will not embrace change as easily as Xer’s and millennials. Managers should not allow the unwillingness of boomers to affect their ability to glean wisdom from the older generation. Managers also have to help millennials realize that technology is not the solution to every problem. Xer’s have both problems, some of them are slow adapters and others think technology has a solution for every problem that exists.
Regardless of which generation you are a part of, make sure you consider the tendencies of the other generations. The following link provides a more indepth look into managing boomers, Xer’s and millennials http://guides.wsj.com/management/managing-your-people/how-to-manage-different-generations/ .
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