Managing Generations and Social Media

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to reflect back on my courses here at Florida State College at Jacksonville and two of the main topics I have learned. Management today is quite different than even 10 years ago. Currently, there are about four different generations in the workforce and each generation has their own values and characteristics.

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This can be very challenging for managers or leaders who do not understand the characteristics of each and how to lead them. I will also look at how social media is affecting today’s work environment for both companies and people. Managing Multiple Generations Humans are living longer than we ever have and therefore, increasing the average age of retirement. Resulting in a multigenerational workforce which can be challenging for leaders. Each generation contributes different values and skills to a team, but not all generations can be supervised the same way. I would like to review the characteristics of the generations and their strengths and weaknesses.

Baby boomers are believed to be goal-oriented workaholics, independent, competitive. They make up many executives in the current workforce because they are hardworking, dedicated, and career focused. On the other hand, they are less acceptable to change. I can also see how managing an independent and competitive individual would be difficult or challenging at times(Kane, Baby Boomers in the Workplace, 2017). Generation x has grown up in an era where typically both parents in the household worked. Because of this, they have a pretty strong work ethic. Technology became a part of most homes of those in this generation, so when it comes to technology, they are quit skilled. Generally speaking, they are individualistic, flexible or accepting of change, and value a work/life balance. Because of the latter characteristics, they tend to move around from company to company looking for a less structured management and work life. Which is not what the managers of the baby boomer generation is used to nor is it their management style(Kane, 2017). The fastest growing demographic era is generation y, known to many as millennials. The first generation to truly grow up in the age of technology they have the greatest understanding of change and the positive effects it can have in the current business world. For the most part, they are team-oriented, and achievement focused. One of the biggest downfalls for this generation is they crave attention and need constant reassurance. If they are included and feel appreciated, I think they could bring a lot to the table encouraging leaders to stay up to date with the latest and greatest.

I recently read an article that discussed three ways to simplify the process of managing a multigenerational environment. It doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds(Cates, 2018). At the beginning, it explains we should not dwell on the differences between the generations. Simply put is each generation has different needs resulting in different motivational factors. Which leads us to the next point of keeping context in mind while managing. In other words, get to know your team, understand their needs, priorities, goals, and what motivates them. A crucial tool for creating a positive working environment. Seems simple right? And you would think every good leader understands and applies this concept to their leadership style. The difference is, as we have such a vast variety of ages in the workforce and each generation has different experiences. These experiences have defined our values and expectations or goals we have set for our careers.

I believe a good leader is always looking for ways to learn or improve their own leadership style. Getting to know my team and how they think and what motivates them allows me the opportunity learn from their experiences. Proving as a leader that I value their ideas and experiences in hopes of providing a sense of purpose to keep them engaged. If not, they will always be looking for a better opportunity. Motivated employees also result in positive employees, which are more willing to go above and beyond for their managers. The final point I would like to discuss from this article is the value of upskilling your employees. I found it interesting to read that the skills of the older generation are becoming outdated. Majority of the children today will work a career that has yet to be invented. Think about that. If the trend of the retirement age and how much it has increased, I could end my career in a job that doesn’t even exist today. It is crucial for us to continue learning to stay current with technology, and changes in the workforce. Offering free training courses or seminars to employees can motivate them to stay up to date with technology, their skills and to be innovative. Providing leaders with the necessary tools to lead their team to the next level and stay competitive.

Social Media

Marketing and networking through social media outlets have become pivotal in today’s marketing strategies. Over the past decade advertising on social media has grown tremendously. While many companies have the ability to advertise for free through social media. Recently, many social media platforms have made a business out of charging organizations to advertise on their outlets. Rapid advancements in technology today has brought changes in the way companies use platforms to advertise to consumers. I recently came across an article that discussed five pivotal elements for utilizing social media to market your product, service, or company. The position of social media is swiftly changing, and many companies are struggling to keep up. This article discussed the importance of conversing on social media through the most popular platforms. How audiences react to the use of motivational context. How to use social media to successfully and intelligently brand your company. Finally, it pointed out the importance of analyzing social media and the demographics of those who use each platform(CBT News, 2018).

I have noticed the people I am friends with on Facebook who are more active on social media, will be higher up in my news feed. When someone who is not typically very active on social media does post something, it may not show up on the public feed. Or if I am not as active on pages I will not see their most recent posts. For example, there is a local cake lady who is amazing at deserts and makes cake balls for all holidays. Last year around thanksgiving, she had made cake ball boxes and I saw one of my friends who I tend to interact more with on social media liked her post. Since I missed the original post, I sent her a private message because she had made the post a week or so prior to see if she had any left as I wanted to place an order. Because I had not been actively liking or sharing her posts the initial post did not show in my feed. So, it is important for a company’s marketing team to be active on as many social media platforms as possible.

Incorporating motivational or uplifting messages in your posts is more crucial than I thought. I did not realize how many people find these messages encouraging. According to the article the more motivational or uplifting your posts are, the higher your chances of having people share your posts are, increasing traffic to your organizations page(CBT News, 2018). The popularity of social media for networking has, of course, resulted in the creation of more social media platforms. Surprisingly each platform has different audiences. I have heard that younger generations tend to shy away from Facebook and lean more towards Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube. Depending on who your target audience is will determine the best social media platform to use. Having a marketing team that understands the different platforms and how to use them is important to ensure you are reaching the largest audience you can(CBT News, 2018).

Managing a team of multiple generations with various skill sets and values sounds scary, but with the proper tools, can be simple. I have enjoyed learning about the different generations, how they think, and what motivates them. I hope to take this valuable information with me as I become a leader and use it to encourage my team and co-workers. Technology has advanced the globe significantly and beyond what many ever thought possible over the last 10 plus years. I believe my parents never dreamed something like social media would exist, let alone have such an influence economically. What a great tool for companies if utilized correctly and I hope to be able to expand on this and grow as technology grows to improve the company I work for.

References

Cates, J. (2018, Feburary 7). The secret to a satisfied multigenerational workforce? It’s not as hard as you think. Retrieved from The Globe and Mail: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/leadership-lab/the-secret-to-a-satisfied-multigenerational-workforce-its-not-as-hard-as-you-think/article37853130/

CBT News. (2018, January 29). 5 Crucial Components of an Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy in 2018. Retrieved from CBT News: https://www.cbtnews.com/5-crucial-components-effective-social-media-marketing-strategy-2018/

Kane, S. (2017, November 18). Baby Boomers in the Workplace. Retrieved from The Balance: https://www.thebalance.com/baby-boomers-2164681

Kane, S. (2017, October 15). The Common Characteristics of Generation X Professionals. Retrieved from The Balance: https://www.thebalance.com/common-characteristics-of-generation-x-professionals-2164682

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