Word-Of-the-Week #732: Collaboration

August 16, 2018 by  

Collaboration – what happens when everyone works together. 

Do you feel a connection with your younger co-workers or staff? Have you ever felt judgment or resentment toward them? How accountable are you if you make a mistake?

This is the 2nd part of Joyce Rosenberg’s article YOUNGER WORKERS CAN OFFER NEW OUTLOOK. Business owners find staffers in 20’s, 30’s ask ‘why’ more often, but have fresh perspective” that shows how communication helps with young staffers.

“Some of what you see from employees in their 20s and early 30s is just young people being young,” says Brian Carter, owner of an eponymous digital and social media marketing firm in Charleston, South Carolina.

Carter has learned that younger staffers want to be emotionally and professionally fulfilled.

“They will stick with a manager or boss who cares about them personally and helps them grow and develop. If they don’t make a connection with you, or you don’t make the effort to connect with them, you can lose them,” he says. Carter regularly takes time to ask his five staffers how they are, including what they’re doing outside of work.

He’s also learned that younger staffers will be more vocal than older ones about wanting the boss to be accountable for mistakes.

“When I take responsibility for any miscommunications, and compliment them on any and all effort and progress, they are a lot happier and happy to do good work,” he says.

Rick Gibbs gets a lot of questions from clients about how to manage younger employees. The answer, says Gibbs, a consultant with the human resources provider Insperity, is to look at these staffers without judgment and resentment, and lead rather than try to control them.

“They’re a resource, not a problem,” Gibbs says. “You may be missing out on different points of view, ways of doing things that may help your company make money.”

Andy Pittman’s solution is to listen, negotiate and appreciate.

“They definitely have a different perspective on life than boomers. They like beer at work on Friday afternoon. They collaborate with each other in a group format a lot. It’s a more relaxed attitude,” says Pittman, CEO of ShelfGenie, a home improvement franchise chain based in Atlanta and owner of two franchises in North Carolina.

Pittman does “see a little bit more of the entitlement attitude” among younger employees, but he also sees hard workers. So he’s willing to negotiate on things like time off; some of his staffers would rather have more paid vacation than raises.

“If we can do the work we need to do, I’ll give them more time off,” he says.

Carlton finds younger staffers are interested in finding different ways to do things. One employee figured out an alternative method of accomplishing a task and wanted to keep using it. Carlton had to explain that the task wasn’t done often enough to justify the expense of the different approach. He said “no” in a way that acknowledged the staffer’s efforts but also explained the financial realities.

“We’re teaching them to be business people. It’s important for them to know how the money is made,” he says.

This week’s focus is about collaboration. Do you work in an environment where everyone is focused on working together? How willing are you to listen & appreciate another persons perspective? How good are you at complimenting someone for their efforts & progress?

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