Effective team management transforms your office. It can create an environment where happy, self-sufficient employees work well on their own and also come together to create a winning team. This isn’t always as simple as it sounds.
A good manager must take into account the backgrounds and experiences each employee brings to their work. Experiences that change with every generation. Three excellent managers, Kelly Parsons O’Brien, Courtney Reynaud, and Hunter Quinn, discussed multi generational team management at the 2018 California Association of Collectors conference in Monterey, California.
Generations On Your Team
Each generation has lived through unique times that shaped their worldviews. In order to build a positive work environment for your agents, you must understand the influences that defined each generation.
Generational Influences and Experiences
Traditionalists (1900 - 1945): This generation experienced WWII, The Great Depression, the Korean War and the beginning of the space age. This generation grew up in hard times, followed by prosperous times. This generation can be considered the original recyclers.
Baby Boomers (1946-1964): This generation experienced the Vietnam war, civil rights, the assassination of JFK, the cold war, moon landing and Watergate. This generation was brought up to pursue the American Dream, resulting in appearing materialistic and ambitious. The events they grew up with taught them to often question authority.
Generation X (1965 - 1980): This generation was influenced by the fall of the Berlin Wall, increased divorce rate, MTV, and latchkey kids. This generation can be viewed as America’s neglected middle child. The American dream is almost out of reach, and this is the first generation not as financially secure as their parents.
Millennials (1981 - 2000): This generation grew up influenced by digital media, AIDS, 9/11, school shootings and terrorist attacks. Many of this generation have divorced parents. They are often sheltered, were the first children to have schedules, and remain on parent’s insurance into adulthood.
Managing Multi Generational Teams
Because each generation has experienced a different world, they respond differently to recognition and feedback styles in the workplace. Good managers should make an effort to cater to the styles each employee prefers.
Traditionalists: This group assumes “no news is good news,” are simply satisfied by a job well done, prefer personalized communication and subtle, private recognition.
Baby Boomers: Baby boomers respond well to public recognition and prestige. This means job titles and incentives such as parking spaces or offices. They enjoy feedback, but like it to be constructive with documentation included.
Generation X: Gen Xers like regular constructive feedback and will request it. They prefer informal, rapid communication and public recognition. However, they are less dependent on awards to be incentivized.
Millennials: This generation enjoys regular feedback and recognition from management. They prefer informal communication through company chat or social networks. They want clear goals, supervision and structure.
Management skills don’t always hinge on feedback and discipline. Team members also thrive on team building and incentives. Effective incentives also differ based on the generation your employees belong to.
Fun Ways to Motivate Your Team
Incentives and Bonuses
Traditionalists: This generation is interested in benefits such as health club memberships, flexible schedules, promotions and longevity bonuses as rewards.
Baby Boomers: Prefer monetary incentives such as year-end or attendance bonuses and cash prizes for efforts. Specialized job titles and authority positions are also effective.
Generation X: For Gen Xers, offer traditional benefits such as insurance, retirement, PTO, and tuition reimbursement. They also enjoy company or family picnics, prizes they can share with their families, and other experience-based rewards.
Millennials: This group enjoys non-traditional rewards such as paid leave for volunteer work, health and wellness programs, and programs to help cross-train or certify employees. Millennials prefer clear goals and objectives. They also like health plan options, profit sharing and flexible schedules.
Some incentives work for every employee no matter what generation they are from. Here are a few ideas:
- Paid Time Off
- Office Currency - Distribute fake money employees can spend on the prize of their choice, so they can motivate themselves based on the prize/goal of their choosing.
- Prize Wheels - This incentive builds excitement and adds a fun element to the prize drawing process.
- Manager for a Day - Allowing a collector to act as manager for the day provides a fun, lighthearted activity that also works to cross-train. This is a great way to begin preparing staff for more responsibility and allow them to test out different departments within the office to decide what may be the best fit for them.
Contests often help to break up the day or create more energy on the call center floor. Here are some ideas:
- Goal Setting for Paid Time Off - One of the most effective incentives for all generations on your team. Run a contest setting goals for the group to achieve by the end of a certain period of time. Reward them with leaving as soon as they hit the goal, or by giving an extra paid day off around the holidays.
- Musical Chairs Reward for Instant Payments - Place a prize and an alarm clock (set to a time of your choosing) in a box. Place it on the desk of a collector. Any time an agent successfully collects a payment from a consumer, they get the box. Whoever has the box when the alarm goes off wins the prize inside.
- Lunch Out... with a Twist -Split the staff into two teams and provide them a goal. The winning team get a lobster (or other higher-priced) lunch. If both teams meet their goals, they both win lunch out. However, the team with a higher score gets to order lunch for the losing team!
- Texas Hold 'em - Distribute a playing card to employees as they reach a specific goal. Those with at least two cards after the set time period can participate in a hand of Texas hold ‘em. The more cards they collect, the better chances they have of winning the hand.
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