(This post contains affiliate hyperlinks. Please read my full disclosure.
Jim Finklestein, Mary Gavin and their book Fuse: Making Sense of the New Cogenerational Workplace state that organizations need to “create a mashup of the twenty-first-century workplace and the twenty first century workforce.” This approach will result in a stronger and more compelling economy.
You would think that Fuse is another book similar to Generations, Inc., which examines how all generations can work harmoniously at work. Fuse focuses instead on what Fuse calls the ‘bookends’, the Millennial generation born after 1995, and the Boomers, who were born between 1946 to 1964.
Co-generational issues for project teams
Your project team may include people from different generations, or even Millennials. Fuse is written for Boomers and includes some facts about the younger generation.
600% more job dissatisfaction is reported by younger employees than that of older employees. 80% of Millennials report being unhappy at work. What can you do to make them happy with the work you are doing on your project?
Between the ages 18 and 32, the average Millennial will have 8.6 jobs. What can you do to convince them to stay with your project? What succession planning are you doing if you are unable to persuade them or they leave the project?
Millennials are more productive. According to the authors, Millennials can do work that takes Boomers 8 hours. Millennials can do it in 6 hours. How can you tap into this? Is your project environment flexible? Are you able to work from home? Are there rewards for working long hours?
Finklestein and Gavin wrote, “The workplace isn’t a democracy.” This may seem obvious to your older project team members, but does the younger team appreciate the workplace hierarchy? How will you get them involved, solicit their ideas, and make the right decisions?
Fuse has some good advice, but it is not all that clear. You should consider opening a coffee shop rather than a break room. For the office, get a Wii. A video game and a DJ can be used to host a recruitment event. These changes may not be within the control of the project manager but the idea is to do what project mangers have done for years: learn how to motivate and relate to individuals.
Despite this, there’s not much information about motivating and relating to Boomers. However, you can read my 5 tips on working with Boomers here.
The book contains a lot of information about benefits and pay that can be summarized as follows:
Individuals can receive tailored compensation
Base salary on contribution and aptitude, not on tenure.
I think that the fact that I only skimmed this section proves that I’m not a Boomer. Surprised to discover that private companies still set pay based upon years of experience. However, I know that the UK public sector takes a different approach to salary determinations.
The most difficult thing about this book was not knowing who it was aimed at. The majority of the book is targeted at Boomers. However, the ‘you” changes at certain points as the authors shift to another group without much (or any) signposting. One chapter on workplace laws and practices includes tips like covering up tattoos, not stealing stationery supplies, and showing up on time to work. This seems to be addressed to the Millennial reader, so it’s not clear why it’s included.
Learn to be patient with children
It is a good idea to not look at differences, but instead at fusions, which are similarities between generations. It is difficult to understand because of the difficulty in identifying who Fuse is.
The authors mention the skills and benefits that younger people can bring to the workplace.