Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The New Generation Gap - and Retention

I ( just saw this on "WorldatWork:

August 28, 2008 –– With four generations of employees that are as different as LPs are from iPods, companies need to do a better job of identifying and utilizing the varied skills available to them under the same roof. A recent study has found that almost 70% of companies don’t have programs in place to deal with the four different generations currently in the workforce.

The Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) study found that a third of the companies say that generational issues are not important or only somewhat important in their organizations. Additionally, a full eight out of 10 companies devote less than 5% of their learning and development budget to the issue.

"With four distinct groups at work, building relationships that cross generational gaps is important to a cohesive culture," says Jay Jamrog, i4cp's SVP of research. "If you want to be a preferred employer with the ability to attract, retain and engage top-flight workers, it makes sense to be keenly aware of the beliefs, attitudes and values of your workforce, no matter how diverse it is."

Of the organizations that do have generational initiatives in place, most cited the inclusion of training and/or educational programs, flexible work arrangements and overall issue awareness. When asked what the specific focus of their generational initiatives was, 59% of respondents pointed to awareness, a measure that jumps to 67% for companies with more than 10,000 employees. 47% overall said they look at differences beyond the generational issue (other diversity issues), and 45% utilize tools for promoting better interaction.

To gauge the effectiveness of generational initiatives, 33% of organizations track the impact on retention, 28% measure impact on engagement, and 26% look at individual performance/productivity. 43%, however, admit their organizations do not measure the effectiveness of these initiatives. Furthermore, even though companies say they do measure retention and engagement after an initiative, 72% don't know if retention rates increased in correlation to the initiative and 64% don’t know if the initiative is responsible for improved employee engagement.

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