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Staffing Success

Managing the Generation Mix: from Urgency to Opportunity
by Carolyn A. Martin and Bruce Tulgan
HRD Press, Inc.; 2nd edition, 235 pages, $10.17

The workplace is constantly changing and your success as a manager depends on your ability to relate to team members of all ages. Managing the Generation Mix recognizes that managing is modular and what will work for one individual won't necessarily work for another. The book is useful for any manager who's tried to figure out whether it's better to e-mail someone or speak to them face to face. This up-to-date second edition addresses the intricacies of managing a wide mix of generations and includes strategies and exercises for getting the most out of individuals using their age as a catalyst for communication.

Managing the Generation Mix begins by defining the various generations and dispelling myths about them. The authors list these four main groups:

  • Generation Y (born 1978-1989)
  • Generation X (born 1965-1977)
  • Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964)
  • The Schwarzkopf Generation (born before 1946)
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After examining the defining beliefs, attitudes and perspectives of each generation, Managing the Generation Mix individualizes the managing approach based on needs and expectations. One of the key chapters explores the most effective methods of getting various ages to collaborate with each other. According to Martin and Tulgan, "Circulating everyone's to do lists and accomplishments is a way to inform and unify your team."

An interesting trend the book discusses is managers adopting throwback styles in the face of ever-increasing technology. For example, a growing number have instituted e-mail free Fridays to encourage face to face interaction. While some Generation Y'ers may struggle with this, most managers report their staffs end up appreciating it.

Managing the Generation Mix includes interactive training exercises designed to enlighten team members about their own generation and varying ones. The book helps supervisors to identify the urgent "strategic imperatives" that organizations must address to attract, recruit, and retain the top talent of each generation. Any manager interested in breaking down barriers and forging better bridges between generations will appreciate this current, relevant tool.


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