There’s a lot of discussion about Gen Z and the impact they will have on the workforce. The Wall Street Journal reports that they seek financial stability and are industrious. Inc. Magazine tells us they are culturally diverse and risk averse. Forbes says that they want to be judged on their own merit and they want to work with autonomy.
Pharmaceutical sales organizations are extremely diverse and have multiple generations represented in them – from baby boomers (born 1946-1964) to Generation X (born 1965-1980) to millennials (born 1981-2000). There are big differences between the generations, including different expectations and preferences when it comes to how they communicate, how they want to be managed, what they are looking for in a job, and how they approach their work. There are also things that the generations have in common.
As a leader, it’s important to be able to flex your style to meet the needs and expectations of all of your employees.
One of the questions you should ask is: How can I tailor my approach according to generational preferences and help meet individuals’ expectations to ensure an aligned, engaged and productive pharmaceutical sales team.
Try the following four strategies to harness the power of a multigenerational workforce.
Is your company stormproof?
The storm I’m talking about isn’t a tornado or hurricane, but rather a “perfect storm” in the battle for talent. A tightening labor market combined with baby boomer retirements is adding up to significant talent gaps at many companies. Younger workers are often not ready to take over in leadership positions. Meanwhile, they are becoming frustrated with perceived shortfalls in the leadership development opportunities available at many companies.
Have you heard about Adobe’s Kickbox? It’s a little red box filled with materials that take employees through a six-step, self-guided innovation process. Employees who have a new idea they want to pursue take a workshop and then proceed through the stages of innovation on their own. Each box contains a credit card with $1000 in seed money.
Nationally known voice on generational differences in the workplace Kim Huggins, was recently interviewed by Generis (an organizer of business summits including the American Manufacturing Summit) on the topic of Leading A Multi Generational Workforce in Manufacturing.
Companies pay millions each year to researchers and consultants to help them understand employees in various generational cohorts. Yet some observers have begun to ask whether companies are going too far, and whether generational divisions are overblown, if they exist at all (see New York Times article Oh, to Be Young, Millennial, and So Wanted by Marketers)