Articles & Resources

Millenials 3Boomers and Millennials: A Powerful Mix

Boomers and millennials not only come from different decades, they bring their own strengths and experience to the workplace. Each generation has a particular culture, unique work style and their core values differ greatly. When boomers and millennials work side by side, or one acts as supervisor, they can play well together in cross generation teams, learn from one another and invigorate and motivate each other. The key is to know and understand the inner workings and strengths of each group, and encourage them to mentor and teach each other.

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The millennials were born between the 1980s and 1990s. They grew up in the digital age and are savvy when it comes to social media, technology and online tactics. Interestingly, they’re primarily the children of the baby boomers. In 2011, the first of the baby boom generation reached what used to be known as retirement age. And for the next 18 years, boomers will be turning 65 at the rate of about 8,000 a day. In 2025, 75% of the workforce will be between the ages of 18 to 30. Many of these potential hires will be in a life stage without spouses, children, established careers and houses and they’ll want a position in a company that provides value and meaning. The boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. This generation experienced a healthy post-war. The baby boomers dominated the work economy and working 8-5 was an important source of their self worth. In fact, they lived to work and the concept of work life balance was not a possibility, but simply a quaint idea. In today’s workplace, Boomers often expect millennials to work 8-5 as well, this can become a pain point. Millennials have a workplace style that is vastly different than their predecessors. They grew up protected from failure by over-engaged parents and don’t buy into climbing the corporate ladder and paying their dues’ like boomers. Instead, they value equality over hierarchy and flexible schedules as well as time for personal pursuits. They want to make an impact immediately and have no problem challenging authority or the status quo. Millennials will bring this mindset into leadership and management roles. Imagine working next to a new hire whose parent you dated or being on a team with your parent’s best friend. It doesn’t have to be awkward. With honest communication and trust, these two vastly different groups can become very effective working together in an environment that is flat and no longer hierarchical. A flat hierarchy is new to baby boomers, but it works when the generations share a focus and sense of purpose. At the core of the millennial energy is potential:

    • Relatively fresh, especially in the working. Millennials haven’t had time to learn what doesn’t work.
    • Able to work incredibly hard when they are motivated to do so. Intense focus, long hours, across a range of task domains.
    • Intuitively understand technology – they are “digital natives.”
    • Want to see the world become a better place for themselves and their future families.
    • Want mentors who can guide them and explain what mistakes to avoid to maximize.

At the core of boomer energy is experience, with 42% of them planning to continue working after age 55:

    • Intangible wisdom that comes from decades of forming and living through relationships, projects, and experiences.
    • Tend to have an uneven relationship with technology, how it works, and what is possible.
    • Want to see the world become a better place for their children and grandchildren.
    • Want to feel like they have a direct and tangible way to give back and pass along the things they’ve learned.

Millennials who enter the workforce seek a collaborative organization and demand that companies be transparent. They desire a setting where the culture and the work has meaning, and will make working from home the norm. They perform best when they have something to believe in. When an entry level job is positioned as a role that can have an impact and fit into the larger picture, the work becomes valuable in their eyes and they will perform. Embrace their fresh ideas and innovative approaches and include them in brainstorming sessions. They want to be challenged and recognized. Baby Boomers are goal oriented and seek recognition. They exhibit a strong loyalty to their employers and prefer a consensual leadership style. Boomers prefer face-to-face communication, but to work well with Generation Y they’ll need to adjust their communication style and get social. That includes Facebook posts and Twitter tweets. Who better to help them than Millennials? Remember, millennials may not have extensive work experience, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t great potential and a terrific fit. Instead of a list of past jobs, look at their life experience. This can be another way to evaluate behavior, values and see how they match up to a job description. The challenge for Human Resources is to demonstrate a knowledge of what’s important to each generation and a sensitivity to what makes them happy. This will help companies shape a culture that meets the needs of both and capitalizes on their strengths. The result will be improved productivity and collaboration, and in turn, more success for employees and the organization. Sources: Forbes: ways-millennials-are-creating-the-future-of-work/ 99u: United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund:,%20Selection %20&%20Talent%20Management%20Model%20tailored%20to%20meet%20UNJSPF’s%20Business%20Development%20Needs.pdf 

Top Talent

Do You Have a (Cost-Effective) Plan in Place to Retain Top Talent?

By Teri Calderon
Senior Vice President, Human Resources

Talent retention seems simple: hire qualified people, treat them well, pay them fairly, and they’ll stay for life, right? Not in today’s employment market. Today we are facing record low unemployment rates and workers with multiple options for employment.

Turnover costs time, money, and other resources. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), research suggests that replacement costs can reach as high as 50-60% of an employee’s annual salary. Once you add in other transition costs such as lost productivity, impact on morale, etc., the total costs associated with turnover can range from 90-200% of annual salary.

Actively working to retain top talent is the answer, yet according to a recent study, only 53% of organizations have a talent management initiative in place. An employee retention plan does not need to be extensive or expensive.

10 Low-Cost Employee Retention Strategies

Retention goes beyond competitive salaries and benefits. There are a number of strategies you can implement today for little to no cost:

Hire the right people
Retaining your workforce begins with hiring the right people. To reduce turnover risks, seek people who are interested in developing their careers and are a good fit within your company culture. Identify 5-10 key personality characteristics and skills of your top performing long-term employees and seek similar traits as you add to your team.

Provide opportunities for learning and development
Train new employees well and continue to provide ongoing personal and professional development opportunities. Identify your emerging leaders and focus your development initiatives on them. Provide experiences they would not otherwise have, such as interaction with senior leaders or a learning project where they are asked to resolve a real-life business problem. Employees benefit by expanding their skills and you benefit by gaining a productive, skilled workforce. It’s a win-win!

Provide a career development plan
Employees are more likely to stay if they have a long-term vision of their role within the company. Provide new employees with a well-defined career path so they understand what it will take to progress through the company. Have your managers meet with employees on a regular basis to discuss the trajectory of their careers and how your company can help them grow and advance. This conversation will also help you identify training needs. Highlight employees who have been promoted within your organization and share their stories.

Invest in your management team
People often don’t quit on their jobs, they quit on their boss. Check in with your management team often and provide ongoing leadership training to ensure that your employees have managers who are professional, fair, and good communicators. Promote employees to management roles, not only because they do a good job, but because they have demonstrated an ability to lead people.

Open lines of communication
Build trust by being transparent in decisions related to rewards, recognition, and employee development. Maintain an open door policy so that your employees feel comfortable voicing their opinions and ideas. Likewise, check in with them from time to time to provide your feedback. Implementing your employees’ ideas will create a sense of ownership and responsibility.

Create passion for your brand
Identify employees who are your culture and brand champions and have them share their stories via internal communications and social media sites. There is influence in story-telling – so let their stories be heard!

Recognize their efforts
Ask each employee how they prefer to be recognized. In many cases, taking the time to provide a simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way. This is especially true when employees are praised in front of their peers. Take this act of gratitude to the next step by providing a hand-written thank you to acknowledge your employee for their efforts. Appreciated employees are loyal, hardworking employees.

Make work meaningful
People want to be a part of something that has significance not only to themselves, but also their communities. This is especially true for Millennials. Help employees see how their work positively impacts the team, department, organization, and society at large. Create meaningful experiences by backing a cause and providing ways for your team to contribute. For example, schedule time for employees to volunteer at your local food shelf.

Provide work/life balance
To achieve high levels of employee satisfaction, you need to recognize the overlap between life and work. If possible, provide flexible work arrangements so that your employees can take care of their personal and family needs and put their full attention to their work while on the job.

Conduct “stay interviews”
A stay interview is an informal review in which the manager and staff member sit down to review progress, ideas, and feedback. It allows you to learn what really matters to your top talent. Stay interviews boost engagement and reduce the likelihood of turnover. If a star employee has an issue, wouldn’t you prefer to have a chance to fix it before they give you their two weeks’ notice?

Employee retention does not need to be complicated or costly. To keep turnover rates low and your workforce happy, motivated, and productive, it really comes down to this: value your employees and – most importantly – let them know they’re valued.

Stay Interview Questions

• What keeps you here? What would entice you to leave?
• What is the type of impact you are looking to have while working here? Do you feel as though you are making a difference in the organization and beyond? Are we fully utilizing your talents?
• Are you receiving the regular feedback you need to do your job well? Do you feel as though you are being fairly recognized for your contributions?
• What specifically would you want to change about your current role if given the chance? How do you want to widen your professional horizons?

Teri Calderon is the senior vice president of human resources for Atterro Human Capital Group where high engagement scores have led to low turnover, financial growth, and “Best Places to Work” status. Ms. Calderon has 20 years of experience in the field of human resources, the last 13 with Atterro.

Create a Positive First Impression with an Employee Onboarding Plan

Congratulations! After an extensive search and interview process, you found the perfect candidate with the skills, experience, and traits to fit your company culture. Your next superstar employee is ready to hit the ground running. Are you? In other words, do you have an onboarding plan that will make a great first impression?

Onboarding is the process of welcoming new employees into the company and introducing them to colleagues, training, and the company culture. In addition to creating a strong start, an onboarding plan:

  • Increases profitability by demonstrating how the new employee’s contributions directly impact the company’s financial goals
  • Improves retention by lowering the risk of an unsuccessful or disappointing transition
  • Engages the new employee by building relationships and setting expectations early and often
  • Ensures that every new employee’s initial experience is similar, regardless of position or department

6 Onboarding Success Tips

The most effective onboarding programs are automated and have a defined process with checklists and a schedule. Planning for the first day and beyond ensures that new employees have everything they need to be successful. Here are six onboarding best practices:

1. Don’t wait for the first day

There are no second chances at making a great first impression. Onboarding begins before the first day on the job. Before new employees start, call or email to confirm logistics such as parking, expected arrival time, dress code, plans for lunch on the first day, and who to ask for upon arrival.

On the first day, create a welcoming, “we’re ready for you” environment to help new hires feel confident about their decision to accept the job. There are a number of ways you can prepare for new hires, including:

  • Set up workstations, including computers and office supplies
  • Print business cards and nameplates for the offices/cubes
  • Have training materials and new employee paperwork ready
  • Assign someone to greet new hires upon arrival

2. Acclimate new employees to the team

It’s important for new hires to create meaningful connections with colleagues, management, and direct reports. Personally introduce new hires to the team during the first week (depending on the size of the team, you may want to spread this out over a few days). A team lunch is a great way for everyone to get to know each other on a personal and professional level.

To encourage strong working relationships, help new hires understand how they contribute to the team’s success. Identify early successes to establish a sense of value and belonging from the very beginning.

3. Use the buddy system

Assign mentors to new hires. A mentorship program makes an onboarding program more efficient and effective, and demonstrates a company’s commitment to employee success. Mentors serve as resources for questions, help new employees build a network, and offer key information about the company culture.

4. Map out a training plan and schedule

Create personalized training schedules that outline tasks to learn and who will teach them. Share the schedules and learning materials with the new hires so that they can prepare for each day of training. Make sure that your trainers block their schedules so that they can give their undivided attention – no phone, email, etc.

5. Define expectations

The last thing you want is confused and unsure new employees. Make sure that new hires have a clear understanding of their roles within the company and job duties. During the first week, new hires should meet with management to discuss expectations on deliverables, timelines, and performance. Explain the roles of key team members, how the team works together, and the company’s processes and procedures. To boost productivity and help new employees feel engaged, assign tasks that allow them to quickly make positive contributions to the team.

6. Schedule regular check-ins

Above all else, your daily interactions and conversations with new employees are the single most important factor to a successful onboarding experience. To set the stage for giving and receiving feedback, ask insightful questions, including:

  • How do you see the experience here fitting into your career development goals?
  • How can I best help you be successful?
  • How do you best learn?
  • What motivates you?
  • What type of management style do you work with well?
  • What do you feel is important for me to know that I may not already know about you as it pertains to work?

Continue to check in with new hires on a regular basis to make sure the job fits their expectations. As a rule of thumb, check in every day for the first week and then weekly for the first 90 days. This will lay a foundation of trust and respect and establish open dialogue and communication with new employees from the very start.

Following these six onboarding best practices will help you guide new hires toward productivity and peak performance, while providing the resources they need to be successful. As a result, not only will you create a positive first impression, you’ll have a solid foundation to build lasting working relationships.

Candice Winterringer is the senior vice president of strategic solutions for Atterro Human Capital Group. A results-driven leader with 30 years of experience in the staffing industry, Candice helps organizations increase recruiting productivity, attract qualified new employees, and improve retention and performance.