Hey, This New TV Show Caught Our Attention!

Written by Sherri Petro on . Posted in 4 Generations at Work, VPI Blog

The multiple generation workplace gets a sitcom

When we watched a TV commercial for a new show and heard the tagline “Man vs. Millennial,” we knew CBS had caught our attention.

The Great Indoors is a new show coming out October 27 that pokes fun at the challenges and opportunities of the multiple generation workplace Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers. (Disclaimer: We didn’t write the show and we have only seen the two previews below.)

In the 4 minutes clip below, a human resource manager makes the statement: “We offer an entire class on how to deal with them (Millennials)!” Since VPI Strategies offers a popular multiple generation workplace training, it’s nice to see this topic is getting some prime time attention!

VPI Strategies is passionate about helping organizations understand the multiple generation workplace. We teach proven ways to leverage generational similarities and differences to accomplish goals more effectively. We will be watching and invite you to let us know what you think.

30 seconds:

From Wikipedia:

The Great Indoors

is an upcoming American sitcom television series starring Joel McHale. CBS placed a pilot order on January 29 and a series order on May 13, 2016. The series is set to premiere in the 2016–17 United States network television schedule on October 27, 2016, at 8:30 pm.

Plot: Jack has made a name for himself as an adventure reporter for the magazine Outdoor Limits. His days of exploring the world end when the magazine’s founder, Roland, announces its move to web-only publishing and assigns Jack to supervise the Millennials who make up its online team.

Generation X: What You Need to Know

Written by Sherri Petro on . Posted in 4 Generations at Work, VPI Blog

Generation X












Are you a Generation Xer and experiencing communication challenges with Millennials, Generation Z, or Baby Boomer colleagues or employees? Curious to learn what has motivated and influenced the work styles of your Generation X colleagues? Check out these insights into Generation X:

Generation X’s Expectations About Delegation & Management

As the first generation of latch-key kids, parents gave Generation Xers the creative latitude to get things done at home. They expect the same from their employees and colleagues. They make projects their own and they expect to set deadlines and make expectations clear. Tensions abound when Gen X feels micro-managed. Generation Xers prefer to honor the decided-upon definition of success confident they have the skills to accomplish the goal. Generation X has these same expectations as managers and leaders.

Their experience of being latch-key kids resulted in Generation Xers growing up with autonomy and becoming fiercely independent. “Whether it was learning to cope with the neighborhood bully or sweet-talking our parents into letting us stay home alone while they went on vacation,” Generation Xer, Alexandra Levit explains in Fast Company “many of us knew how to use words and persuasion to problem-solve and solicit cooperation.”

Generation X Offers Their Own Solutions to Communication Challenges

“Heading off to college and our first careers, the electronic age really started heating up” explains Generation Xer, Anna Garvey. “Generation X came of age just as the very essence of communication was experiencing a seismic shift, and it’s given us a unique perspective that’s half analog old school and half digital new school.” Think sound byte processing and video games. Rather than wailing, “Why won’t someone understand us?” Generation X is more apt to concentrate on things they can control — results. Oriented to results versus process, they have a direct, no-nonsense communication style. Impatient with flowery explanations, Monday morning weekend woes and too much backstory, Generation Xers will expect the same from employees and colleagues. Succinct, relevant bullet points work just fine for them. That applies to everyday conversation — and performance reviews. Bottom Line: Save time. Get to the point — FAST. Don’t be afraid to say what you mean.

Generation X Prepared to Be Leaders

“To be sure, not every Generation Xer grew up the same way or acquired the same skills through their experiences. But our careers have tracked the rise of the digital workplace, and the foundation that’s given many of us may pay dividends in helping us navigate the Boomer brain drain” concludes Generation Xer, Alexandra Levit. Often Generation Xer’s emotional intelligence, confidence to work independently, and direct communication styles are skills companies need most in their new leaders. Levit concludes that “the research suggests that Generation Xers are uniquely prepared for those roles – not just next in line for them.”

Generation X Leaders Value More Transparency

Generation X’s work and leadership style impacts how they lead workplaces, nonprofits, and governments. Politically, Generation X is expected to become the dominant generation in the United State’s House of Representatives by 2018. Generation X is predicted to add more inclusion and transparency to the political system, as well as a willingness and ability to compromise

They Are Living Out Their Own GenXpectations

Gen-Xers entered the workforce in the midst of large corporate layoffs in the 1980s or the dotcom bust in the mid-1990s. Startup culture and entrepreneurship was not the norm. Gen-Xers “watched their parent’s loyalty and overtime rewarded by layoffs and downsizing – this may contribute to their cynicism,” explains Joanie B. Connell, PhD. Unlike their Boomer predecessors, Generation X concluded they did not want to be married to their work. Forget about two hour meetings. Generation X wants a lot less talk and lot more action. Generation X values getting their work done in less time and enjoy their time outside of work. Think Freedom, Family, Fun, and Friends. Generational research tells us Generation X is efficient, works smarter not harder and values leveraging technology in a rapidly-changing vista.


About the Authors: Sherri Petro and Ilana Herring

As a generational expert, Sherri Petro knows we have the keys to the kingdom by understanding the attributes of the multiple generation workplace comprised of Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z. By leveraging her experience, expertise and education, Sherri can illuminate multiple possibilities, identify roadblocks and assist individuals and organizations to achieve desired results. Check out Sherri’s website to read about her popular speaking topics and why organizations seek out her generational expertise.

Ilana Herring is VPI Strategies’ internet marketing strategist. Ilana loves learning about the multiple generations because it helps her better understand herself and the world around her. She is fascinated by all things digital and social, and enjoys exploring the world wide web for news and information about Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z.



Generational Training Webinar Package

Written by Sherri Petro on . Posted in 4 Generations at Work

About Generational Training Webinars

Need employee training but don’t want to pay travel costs for your trainers or employees?

VPI Training Webinars are a popular option for organizations of all sizes and budgets.

VPI’s Training Webinars begin with data-driven, level-setting awareness. Clients choose from a number of different skill-building topics that will help improve communication, build marketing strategies, increase team performance, promote innovation and creativity, and retain top performers.

Webinar sessions are based on specific problems that you are facing with your workforce, and can be tailored to meet your specific needs. They use the latest research in combination with real world examples to help you improve the overall productivity of your workforce by eliminating unnecessary conflict and misunderstanding.

Specifically for our generational workshops, we ask: are younger workers really different in their values, attitudes, motivations, work styles and decision-making processes than older workers? Or are they just different because they are younger? Are you seeing issues within your work place due to different attitudes from different age groups? Research shows that each generation is shaped by the historical and social events they experience in the formative years between ages 5 and 18. These experiences influence attitudes towards authority, loyalty, communication, feedback and recognition, and work ethic. At the same time, workers also share many attitudes across generational cohorts. Understanding both these differences and similarities, and which factors really influence employee motivation, retention, and engagement are critical to building a successful workforce.

“I find the multi-generational topic fascinating” concludes Women Lead Radio.

Listen here to an interview with Generational Expert & Webinar Trainer, Sherri Petro. Although this interview is of course not the same as a webinar training, it will give you the opportunity to hear why Sherri is passionate about generational training and a taste of what you can expect when you hire TEAM VPI.

Go here to learn more about VPI’s generational training package options.

Employee Feedback is Best Delivered Like Sunshine: Frequent Small Bursts

Written by Sherri Petro on . Posted in 4 Generations at Work, VPI Blog

Employee FeedbackGuest Blog by: Ilana Herring

Health.com reports that a sensible amount of sun exposure on a frequent basis is one way to get the Vitamin D that your body needs. I personally aim to get about 20 minutes daily of sunshine, while being careful not to get a sunburn. Turns out, human resource experts advise that frequent, short doses of employee feedback are best delivered similar to a natural dose of Vitamin D. People bask in sunshine, just like they do with recognition. We are thirsty for feedback. In Daring Greatly, Brené Brown explains that when we don’t get feedback, we ask ourselves: “Why am I not getting feedback? Tell me you love me! Tell me it sucks! Just tell me something so I know you remember that I work here!” If doing something wrong, employees want real-time feedback, not delayed criticism 11 months later, clouded in the darkness of a hierarchical performance review. Employees want to know they are seen and heard.

How do you give feedback? 360-degree feedback is a popular type of review for leaders and directors. The well-known employee engagement advocate, Dr. Larry Bienati, recommends that the first 360-degree assessment take place after about one year on the job. Leaders and the employee can use the 360-degree feedback to develop action plans for the year ahead. Dr. Bienati suggests a follow-up one year later, ideally with the same population of respondents. He also advises tailoring the employee feedback to elicit key measures and specific actions that are calibrated to success. Dr Bienati notes the importance of thanking the participants for their valuable feedback and support of the one being assessed. It is noteworthy that the 360-review can often have 20 or more data points, it’s an arduous process and it’s not likely possible to conduct a 360 for every member of the organization.

The Best Managers Provide Feedback Regularly

In order to create structure for feedback, organizational development experts suggest an annual review. VPI Strategies recommends not limiting yourself to just an annual review. Provide employee feedback regularly. According to Gallup Research, “Our studies show that the best managers around the world provide feedback regularly. Expectations are set and continually clarified through ongoing performance feedback and recognition.” The Gallup Business Journal published: “What Your Employees Need to Know: They probably don’t know how they’re performing. Feedback and recognition are among the lowest rated workplace elements.”

“Gallup researchers conducted the first assessment of employee engagement worldwide using the Q12, Gallup’s 12-item assessment of engagement. Decades of research has proven that these items distinguish the most productive and successful workplaces from the rest. More than 47,000 employed respondents in 116 countries, from Canada to Qatar, were asked to respond to these 12 items.

In most global regions, two items were the most poorly rated among the 12: “In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work” and “In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.”

VPI Strategies recommends the use of Q12 measurement device or other engagement assessments. It is part of our Strength Based Leadership curriculum. Research and anecdotal evidence support our belief in the Q12 measurement device. When managers don’t provide workers with regular, individualized feedback, they are depriving them of the sunshine to grow and improve their work performance. Gallup notes that: “Frontline managers may also be overlooking opportunities to talk with their employees about what they need to remain engaged and productive at work.”

Help Your People Get an A

Ken Blanchard and Garry Ridge coauthored: Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy Called “Don’t Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A” When asked about why he wrote the book, Garry Ridge answered:

“When I first heard Ken talk about giving his final exam at the beginning of the course and then teaching students the answers so they could get an A, it blew me away. Why don’t we do that in business? So that’s exactly what I did at WD-40 Company when we set up our ‘Don’t Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A’ performance management system. Has it made a difference? You’d better believe it. Ever since we began the system, our company’s annual sales have more than tripled, from $100 million to more than $339 million. And we’ve accomplished this feat while making the company a great place to work.”

Executives know talent management is important. But do they know what “helping their employees get an A” looks like in their organization? It’s no secret that most performance management systems don’t do what they intended to do – enhance performance. Now is the time to be thinking about an organization’s next generation’s performance management system. Train managers to use the systems in place, but train them to also maximize the smaller, more frequent opportunities to give employees feedback. We know that Millennials are looking for that constant feedback because they want to be keeping score, always learning, always growing. Encourage management to know what works best for their teams and to make feedback apart of the constant flow of communication.

Don’t Abolish the Annual Review

Whether or not to abolish the annual review is a hot topic amongst bloggers. I do not advise abolishing the annual review, but suggest that feedback should not be contained to only the annual review. Waiting to give feedback only once a year deprives your employees of their needed dosage of Vitamin D. Humans and organizations alike need sunshine. Employees who don’t get as much feedback as they desire often suffer and ask themselves ‘How am I’m doing?’ We need regular feedback to be our be our best self at work.

Organizations are smart to create structure like annual performance reviews and 360-degree feedback. We would love to get to a point where companies give their employees feedback on a continual basis. At VPI Strategies, we recommend an annual review plus two more discussions per year. We often call these two discussions “performance coaching”. We encourage you to take an honest look at your performance system and consider how a structured performance discussion could complement the annual review until we are all really comfortable with the giving and receiving of feedback. Until we learn to instinctively take the opportunity to provide feedback when we have the opportunity. Until it is part of our work and lifestyle, not an isolated event. When someone does something good we want to tell him or her right then and there. When someone does something wrong, we also want to say it right then and there. Of course, deliver it in a tone that does not make people feel bad for an action they took. Prompt frequent dosages of feedback can keep our employees, our organizations, and ourselves healthy. Just like taking our vitamins, let’s commit to healthy lifestyle for ourselves and our organizations. Let’s model feedback today and help the next generation grow up learning from our positive example.

Bottom Line

Employees need feedback. There are a lot of vehicles for how you can get and give feedback, but ultimately they are looking at you to make a commitment to getting and providing feedback. Get it regularly. Give it regularly. Just like getting your Vitamin D.

Resource List for Top Ten Generational Gems for the Multiple Generations Workplace

Written by Sherri Petro on . Posted in 4 Generations at Work, VPI Blog

Sherri Petro delivered another excellent webinar! Top Ten Generational Gems for the Multiple Generations Workplace. If you missed it, make sure to watch the recording and check out the slides that are available.

What was learned?

  • “How to get all generations of volunteers to work together.”
  • “The reminder that we tend to look through our own lens- it’s too easy to do and all the examples she gave were very insightful for use as I deal with the younger generations.”
  • “Characteristics of Gen X & Gen Y. Tips on supervising different generations.”
  • “The differences between generations needs/expectations and how to bridge those if you a a supervisor.”

And much more!

Click here or on the image below to access Sherri’s Generational Gems Resource List

generational gems resource list image