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Onboarding Four Generations

Podcast with Tammy Erickson, President of the nGenera Innovation Network

Tamara Erickson
Tammy Erickson

"When Gen Y'ers were in their most formative years - 11 to 16, we were a world obsessed with terrorism. The adult conversations, the evening news, were around Columbine and 9/11. Events that were inexplicable and random. So a lot of the conceptual model that has been developed in Gen Y is one of random events. And if you think logically, how would you live your life if you had a random mental model?" — Tammy Erickson

Welcome to a special Inside Recruiting Channel edition of TotalPicture Radio, with Peter Clayton reporting. The Onboarding Experts Series is sponsored by PrimeGenesis. Founded in 2002, PrimeGenesis' mission is singular: use executive onboarding and facilitated transition acceleration to help new leaders and their teams deliver sustainable, better results, faster.

Tamara J. Erickson is both a respected, McKinsey Award-winning author and popular and engaging storyteller. Her compelling views of the future are based on extensive research on changing demographics and employee values and, most recently, on how successful organizations work. Well-grounded and academically rigorous, fundamentally optimistic, Tammy's work discerns and describes interesting trends in our future and provides actionable counsel to help both organizations and individuals prepare today. Tammy Contributed to chapter 11 of Onboarding titled; "Speed development of Important Working Relationships"

Tammy has co-authored numerous Harvard Business Review articles, including the McKinsey-Award winning "It's Time to Retire Retirement" (March 2004) and the book, Workforce Crisis: How to Beat the Coming Shortage of Skills and Talent, published by Harvard Business School Press (2006). She has recently completed a trilogy of books written to each generation in the workforce: Retire Retirement, Plugged In, What's Next, Gen X? Keeping Up, Moving Ahead and Getting the Career You Want, which will be available in early 2010.

Her blog "Across the Ages" is featured weekly on HBSP Online.

Tammy works independently with a small number of senior clients and is the Managing Director of nGenera Collaboration Services and President of the nGenera Innovation Network.

My books all describe a world in which the availability of talent will be one of the major factors limiting business growth — one in which individuals with the appropriate skills and abilities will be able to choose among a wide range of work options. I understand that reconciling the short-term realities of today's recession-driven labor market with the idea of talent shortages can seem difficult."

"But the reality is that talent shortages are already here — even in this economy. Today, there are roughly 3 million unfilled jobs in the United States — largely ones requiring specific skills and training — in areas such as health care. Essentially our economy is becoming more "sticky." As a higher percentage of jobs require specialized skill or experience, it is more difficult for individuals laid off from one organization to move seamlessly to another. Even with millions unemployed, many jobs remain unfilled."

Source: Tammy Erickson "Across the Ages" HBR Blog

Questions for Tammy Erickson

  • We've done a number of interviews on cross generational differences, but none focused on the topic of Onboarding.
  • You describe in Onboarding the differences in onboarding across 4 generational cohorts: Traditionalist, Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y -- how are these defined?
  • Boomers comprise those born between 1946 to 1960 there's a big difference between a 60's boomer and a boomer from 1946. In fact the late 50's and 60's boomer resents being categorized as a boomer, am I right?
  • You did a HBR Ideacast a while back where you talked about Gen Xers being mad as hell that boomers weren't retiring. Tammy, that interview was done when most boomer's retirement accounts were still reasonably intact. Cut to 2009. How does that attitude -- that the older boomers should retire already play into -- onboarding a boomer?
  • So tell us about Gen X, Tammy. Many of this generation are finally getting senior roles. What different about onboarding them?
  • Gen Y (video games and risk taking)
  • A number of your bullet points in Onboarding relate to gen Y and parental involvement in recruiting of Gen Yers - can you share some of these with us?
  • You spend a great deal of your time traveling and giving keynote speeches. What are you hearing from your audiences? What's top-of-mind with executives and managers today?
  • From your perspective how has the recession impacted the onboarding process?
  • Anything you would like to add/share?


Tammy's Web site


TPR interview: Total Onboarding Program with George Bradt (Part 1)

TPR Interview: George Bradt, Executive Onboarding - (Part 2)

TPR interview: George Bradt, The New Leader's 100 Day Action Plan

TPR interview: Bill Berman, Cultural Fit - 1st in the Onboarding Guest Expert Series

TPR Interview: Sheila Greco, 2nd Guest Expert Podcast

TPR Interview: David Lord, 3rd Guest Expert Podcast

TPR Interview: Bill Noll, 4th Guest Expert Podcast

TPR Interview: Bill Epifanio, 5th Guest Expert Podcast

TPR Interview: Jean Brown, 6th Guest Expert Podcast

TPR Interview: George Selix, 7th Guest Expert Podcast

TPR Interview: David Lee, 8th Guest Expert Podcast

Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.


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