Please stop the bullshit about new generations

Every time we think we’re finally done with this topic, it comes back loke a boomerang. I’m, of course, talking about the famous “new generations” that will turn businesses upside down, transform its culture, bring an intrapreneurship culture and make us sick with intolerable behaviors.

I already wrote thinks about that, wondering who was actually benefitting from it or, in other words, who who should be convinced that the gap was so large and the disruption so painful. I also found a couple of studies that undermine the official discourse about new generations.

New generations are not that different

Even the Harvard Business Review added to it. What do millenial really want at work ? Exactly what the others want, should it displease “fear-sellers”. Another example here to bust the myth.

Yes Yers and millenials are different from the previous generations but that’s always been the case, generation by generation, and no one made such a fuss about this in the past. And I’ll even place a caveat on this observation, backed by feedbacks from many practitioners ;

• Yes they’re different in their personal lives but tend to fall into line when they join a company. Even too much.

• Their elders had the same expectations. What changed is that new generations decided to express these expectations and not trade them for anything. The traditional trade off consisting of abandoning one’s dream in exchange of a secured linear career is not working anymore. And businesses don’t even think of telling people it’s still possible. Since businesses can’t make this promise anymore, employees have no reason to change their nature.

If it was only a discussion about concept there would be no real concern. But things become worse when discourses begin to create tensions for no reason and root false assumptions into people’s minds. In the end it’s a lose-lose game.

The young starts thinking that he won’t be welcome in any large business, that they won’t fit in traditional companies. Others realize that a wrong image of them has been forged even before they join a business.

Current employees and managers are resolutely waiting for these barbarians that need to be tamed.

The alarming discourse on young generations generates useless tensions in the workplace

We eventually reach a point when the discourse creates more problems than it solves and that’s really a pity become, with hindsight, it’s easy to see that those who have the most alarming words about new generations are not those who live with them but those who make a living on them.

So please stop blaming, depending of the trend of the moment, Yers that are unmanageable, boomers that block change, Xers that are stuck in the middle and are easy-to-find scapegoats and start working on intergenerational management skills. These one are not a passing fad, have been needed for a long time but have never been teached in any training program.

Photo Credit : Bullshit by Bjoern Wylezich  via Shutterstock

Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler
Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler

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