The Leader Magazine

MAR 2018

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 23 of 55

F E A T U R E A R T I C L E 24 MARCH 2018 t H e le A de R by T. Patrick Donnelly and Dominic Iacobucci A lot of ink has been spilled about Millennials, their "unique" characteristics, and how best to attract, engage and support them in the workplace. The research is vast, and viewpoints are abundant. We at BHDP have done our own deep-dive, engaging Millennials in a semester-long "self-discovery" class at the University of Cincinnati (see the sidebar for details). Based on our research and experience, we have come to believe the best way to think about Millennials, their needs, and their impact on workplace design is to think about them a lot less. To us, it makes more sense, instead, to look at employees overall and develop strategies for engaging them based on where they are in life. As Adrienne Rowe, a workplace strategist at Fidelity Investment, asserts, "Generations can be a useful conversation starter in many cases, but these definitions are less useful for much of the practical work of real estate and meeting associates' life needs." a life-stage strategy Demographers like to uncover, classify and name groups: Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials. It's what they do. But it's not what corporate real estate, human resources, and workplace design people do. We deal with living, breathing, changing organisms called organizations – made up of all kinds of individuals, juggling all kinds of life events, needs and desires. The "perfect" workplace would understand this and be able, via sensors and other technology, to "see" how employees are interacting with their environment, and then be amenable to modification in close-to- real time. We're not there yet. But we do know that employees at certain stages of life have typical requirements and expectations of work, and face predictable work/life challenges. Some of the more obvious ones, according to Rowe of Fidelity, are single employees who want ways to socialize at and after work, or new mothers who have specific needs, such as mothers' rooms. And, these life stages do not necessarily align with arbitrary generational groupings. Here are five distinct, easily recognizable life stages of workers, with brief descriptions of each and a list of workplace characteristics: Thinking about designing your workplace around l ife stage d escription Workplace characteristics Single Strivers Foundation Formers Established Connectors Knowledge Sharers Independent Elders Independent. Usually beginning career but may extend into 30s and even 40s. Exploring occupational choices, roles and opportunities. Typically late 20s and 30s. Starting families. Managing career growth. Financial and coping pressures Late 30s and 40s. Focused on continuity, safety and stability. Potential risk aversion. Dependents leaving the nest. Career peak. Late 40s to late 50s. Empty nesters. Managing toward retirement. Lot of experience and knowledge to pass along. Mentoring is its own reward. Older employees. Disengaged from work; finding new roles. Retiring. • Focused on professional growth • Looking to work for fulfillment • Seeking opportunities for leadership • Unattached and able to put in longer hours • Settling down into career choices • Focused on accomplishments and professional mastery • Coping with pressures from multiple commitments • Devoted to achieving success and moving up • Value workday routines and constancy • Either holding on (plateauing) or keeping up (enriching) • Engaged in mid-career questioning and reassessment of work goals • Tend to be territorial • Interested in mentoring • May value monetary rewards less than respect/recognition • Focused on best ways to pass along knowledge • Re-orienting to outside interests

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Leader Magazine - MAR 2018