Managing the intergenerational
Rémi Zunino
Rémi Zunino

Managing the intergenerational

In 2012, we developed a workshop dedicated to intergenerational management.

The objective? Identify the different generations that intersect, complement or compete within the company and consider a method to make this diversity a real driver of performance.

“Generations represent cohorts of people born within a certain date range and sharing a general cultural experience of the world that shapes their behavior,” recalls Aude Bohu, executive coach at Talentis.

Three major generations are now on the job market: baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964, they represent 25% of the active population), generation X (born between 1965 and 1978, they represent 29% of the active population) and finally generation Y (born between 1979 and 1964, they represent 40% of the active population) and finally generation Y (born between 1979 and 1995, they will represent 40% of the active population by 2015). Each generation has its own identity. Optimistic and respectful of traditional values, baby boomers are generally loyal and devoted to the company. Conversely, Generation X is quite disenchanted and work is primarily a way of achieving yourself as a person. Finally, Generation Y, hyper-connected and lucid about the state of the world (unemployment, violence, etc.), understands work as an experience but often prefers a certain balance of life.

Motivate and connect

Between 2005 and 2020, a third of the active population will be renewed, with in its wake a new situation in terms of the representation of generations. “The main challenge is to keep all the workforce motivated. For example, it is a question of ensuring that seniors are not too busy by the massive arrival of Y and Z (born after 1995), but also of implementing action plans to retain talent. Today, they no longer hesitate to change employers frequently,” explains Aude Bohu. Clearly, representatives of Generation Y are a problem. They shake up the codes by questioning the decisions of their superiors or by refusing ungrateful activities. The HR manager of a telephone operator puts forward this diagnosis: “Instead of wanting the integration of this generation, we must give priority to assimilation. The important thing is to bring people together and not to differentiate.”

Measuring and comparing

In our opinion, intergenerational management can take place in three stages. First of all, managers must become aware of the behavior of the various generations within their organization by using indicators by age group (recruitment, successful integration, reasons for leaving the company, etc.). Then, it is necessary to implement a way out of the negative judgments that each generation is likely to make about another. How? “By organizing generational forums where each employee identifies and shares the characteristic elements of their culture: motivation, authority, language, values...” Finally, it is a question of allowing these generations to “rub shoulders” through seminars or integration mentoring. “By confronting each other, generations discover common points and manage to cohabit better. For the organization, this harmonious cohabitation is incredibly rich,” observes Valérie Rocoplan, director of Talentis.

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