CHCOC Academy Session on HR Strategies for a Multigenerational Workforce

Uploaded by USOPM on 31.07.2012

Good morning, everyone.
Good morning.
It's a little chilly in here, but I hear it's better than it was a few days ago with no
air. I want to introduce myself. My name is Kathryn Medina. I'm the Executive Director
of the Chief Human Capital Officer's Council, also known as CHCO Council. I want to welcome
everybody to today's July CHCO Academy Session on HR Strategies for a Multigenerational Workforce.
We're very happy to have you all here today. I want to welcome those of you who are listening
to me and viewing on webcast. We're excited to have that capability today, to make sure
we get our message and are accessible to those who weren't able to make it to the auditorium
One of the CHCO Council's priorities is to develop a strong federal workforce. We're
always working to promote educational and developmental opportunities to our HR professionals.
The CHCO Academy, for those of you that don't know, is one of the main ways that we do that.
We've run these academies for several years. They're a part of the cornerstone of our educational
portion of the CHCO Council mission.
The sessions provide training for the community and share critical skills and best practices,
address topics based on the current priorities and needs. We also fold this into our broader
training and development platform, which many of you know as HR University.
So far in 2012, we've had a very successful Academy series. We hosted a session on merit
systems, principles and prohibitive practices. We had a special session on project management
fundamentals, getting into some of the future focus competencies for the HR profession.
Our next event is scheduled for August, and we will focus on strategic HR, delivering
business results.
We're currently planning our fall Academy Series. When you have the chance to fill out
an evaluation, we would love to hear what thoughts and ideas and topics you have for
our future sessions. We really want to make this responsive to the needs of the community.
As I mentioned, the CHCO Council is also very pleased to present other training and development
opportunities through HR University. We encourage you to visit the site on It's
open to the public, and courses and content are available to all federal employees with
a federal or military email address. We're developing HRU to be our one-stop shop for
all HR training and development. Please make sure you visit us if you haven't already.
Today, we are especially lucky and thankful to have a great panel to talk about HR strategies
for a multigenerational workforce. I can't think of three people better to have up here.
I know a couple of them personally, and I'm very, very excited to see them here.
I will give my own. I know David will probably fit this into the conversation somewhere,
but I will give my own little plug for the Next Gen Conference that is sponsored by Young
Government Leaders. I'm sure he'll tell you more about that.
Really, think about attending, if you haven't registered already. I encourage you to, if
you've thought about it and you thought, maybe, you don't have the support of your manager
or you're not sure whether you can swing it financially, if there's a budget allocation
available, at least ask.
Particularly, for those of you working in or near the CHCO office, we really are promoting
this and supporting this through the CHCO Council. We really want to make every effort
to facilitate those who want to attend to be able to attend.
I encourage you, if you're thinking about attending, if you have any interest in attending,
talk to your CHCO, your Deputy CHCO, your HR director, and let them know if your interest.
I'm going to work it from my end and make sure that we spread those opportunities as
broadly as we can across the government.
I'd now like to introduce you to the moderator for today, Regina Nally. Regina is on the
CHCO Council staff for the duration of the summer on a President's Management Council
rotation. She's a program specialist, and she comes from GSA's Public Building Service
in their Great Lakes regional office of Chicago. Yay, Chicago.
We're very excited to have her here. In Chicago, for GSA, she serves as a Regional Historic
Preservation Officer. She's actually an architect, so she's straying a little bit, getting some
cross-functional experience in the CHCO office, and hopefully having some fun this summer
as well.
Her professional interests have an HR and real estate crossover. Her work has led her
to explore how today's modern office space is adapting to respond to technology and mobility
demands of commerce and government, so a nice way to build a well-rounded view of today's
workspace and today's workforce through the CHCO Council experience.
I will turn it over to Regina now, but just on the topic of multigenerational workforces,
just to prove that an old Gen-Xer can be as millennial as the next guy, I would encourage
you, when you leave here, to please visit HRU, to visit the CHCO website, to visit our
Facebook pages and to Like us, and follow us on Twitter.
With that, I will turn it over to Regina Nally.
Thank you so much, Catherine, for your exciting welcome and your dedication to sponsoring
these great employee learning initiatives that the CHCO Council is doing today and so
many other sessions that the Council sponsors. It's been a great privilege for me to have
been involved in it during my detail here at the CHCO Council.
I thought we'd start by sharing a short outline of the broadest definitions of the generational
timeline. If somebody has the clicker, can you just click to the next slide? Thank you
so much.
This is just a broad-brush stroke of the generational profiles that make up the federal workforce
today. Our panelists are going to get into the fine-tuned definitions of this for us
more. They'll also share their understanding of the behavioral patterns across the generations
and how those behaviors are impacting issues like productivity, efficiency, employee engagement
and the government's ability to attract top talent.
To share a few points of logistics before I introduce our panelists, we've passed out
note cards to everyone here in the audience. We highly encourage you to jot down questions
and be an active participant. We're going to have aisle monitors that are going to walk
through the aisles periodically. If you have a question and you think of it, jot it down.
Pass it to an aisle monitor. We'll be sure to ask it so that everybody can hear.
We've asked each panelist here today to prepare a brief overview of their understanding of
the dynamics surrounding the multi-generational workforce. After their presentation, I'll
pose a few questions to the panelists to get us started. Then I'm going to open it up to
you for questions. We'll collect your note cards and we can even ask questions via microphones
that we have throughout the audience as well.
This is a very hot topic that people are very passionate about, so please don't be shy.
Ask your questions. We want to have everyone engaged. Chances are, if you're thinking about
a question, someone else is, too, so please ask.
Without further ado, let me start by introducing Dave Uejio. Dave currently serves as lead
for talent acquisition at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a new government organization
created to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans.
Dave is a graduate of the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, with
a master's in public policy, and currently serves as the president of the Young Government
Leaders' executive board. David is on the far end towards the screen.
Nora Gardner is a partner in McKinsey & Company's Washington DC office, and the leader of McKinsey's
talent and leadership practice. She led development of McKinsey's talent system assessment tool
and recently authored a McKinsey quarterly article on HR analytics.
She has extensive experience working with companies and government agencies, both in
the United States and abroad, in the areas of public finance, health care, international
development, and defense and national security. She is one of McKinsey's most experienced
facilitators and coaches.
Finally, here to my immediate left, we have Mr. Jeffrey Vargas. He is the chief learning
officer at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. He is responsible for identifying and deploying
the learning profile for 700 employees, ensuring they have the skills and competencies to oversee
the options, futures, swaps market, that has a notational value of over $30 trillion.
Before joining the CFTC, Jeff spent 15 years at the Department of Energy, most recently
serving as the chief learning officer for the National Nuclear Security Administration,
and the co-chair of DOE's learning board. Jeff is a sought after speaker on learning
innovation and a nationally acclaimed expert on generational differences.
With that, Jeff, I ask if we can start with you.
Thank you very much. Thank all of you for coming out on a Friday in the middle of the
summer to talk about generational issues. You're going to find in our dialogue today,
both hallelujah moments. You will agree, say, "Jeff, talk about those folks." Then we're
going to talk a little bit about you and you're going to say, "Wait a minute, that's not actually
There will be moments of agreement and moments of disagreement, but the truth behind all
of it is about dialogue and engagement. You'll hear both from Nora and David as well in a
variety of capacities. What I'd like to do is just kick off the dialogue on generational
issues. The first thing I want to do is...
Skip to the next one.
Skip to the next one.
There's your start. ask you a question. What does your world look like? Are you hi-fi or are you WiFi?
[laughs] Some of you are saying, "No comment. I'm not going to engage you on it."
Why are we asking you that question? A little tongue-in-cheek way to allow us to understand,
in a very passé capacity, that, something we already know, it's intuitive, the world
has changed. The world of work has changed. The way we interact with each other has changed.
Our expectations have only increased.
What's happened in, not just the federal space, but since we are in the federal audience,
let's stay there, is that we've seen four different generations all coming together,
asking to work on the same thing at the same time and come up with the same result.
Knowing what we know about the generations, we approach things differently. Therefore,
we have different definitions of what a variety of things can look like. Our challenge is
we don't dialogue enough about it, particularly upfront.
What does that mean for us? We often find ourselves in a place of conflict. That conflict
arises because they'll say, "Well, he or she thinks in an A, B or C way," and in reality,
all that person is doing is reading from their generational script.
A disclaimer upfront, and probably Nora is going to give a disclaimer upfront as well,
and David will. We are not suggesting that every single person that fits within a certain
timeframe will think and feel a particular way. If all of us could have that level of
being able to predict, we would be gurus and making a whole lot more money than we are
What we can do is say there's a likelihood, there's a preponderance, there's a possibility
that if you know more about what generations think and feel about a certain area, then
you have the capacity to deal with them effectively in that area. That's really where we're starting
from in terms of our dialogue and our discussion.
You hear about it all the time, the four generations. People get hung up on the timelines for these
four generations. Right upfront I'm going to tell you that there's a terminology we
use in generational study called cuspers. Some of you may find yourself to be a cusper.
When we talk about the dates, you may find that you're very close to the line on that
date, and you're thinking to yourself, "Hmm, am I Generation X or am I Generation Y? Am
I Baby Boomer or am I Generation X?"
You are who you are, which is probably a little bit of all of those things. Of particular
note, if the dates fall close in line, then you may be what's called a cusper, which means
you have one foot in one generation and one foot in another. What the literature tell
us is that, for those folks who are cuspers, you have a greater understanding of the workforce
and engagement. You'll probably be the folks that we'll be working for in the future.
Let's talk a little bit about some of the generations upfront, because I think we see
the terms and we're not sure exactly who fits in, and just one or two tidbits about them.
Veterans are, really, 1945 and before. One or two things to keep in mind when we think
about the veteran generation, the veteran generation is exceptionally logical. They're
very much about systems.
In fact, in the federal world, if you think about the GS system, it was created in the
'40s. We're at OPM. We all know this, right? You have to complete your assigned duties
at a lower grade, one year of those, in order to be able to have the opportunity to advance.
There's a very logical flow in a veteran's mind in terms of how they look at programs
and projects. Veterans also have a tremendous desire to engage people. They're very relational.
You may have a veteran, and he or she may take a little bit of time to get to a point.
One of the death activities that happens, I call them death activities because you never
want this to happen, with Generation X, particularly. They'll be in a room with a veteran, and the
veteran will be telling them a story, and that X person will say, "I've got a meeting
to go to in about 15 minutes. I came here for this and..." Oh, it happens in your agency?
OK. "Can we move on to the next subject?"
At that point, the veteran is saying to themselves, "I'm not really sure that person is on my
team." The veterans are, again, very much relational.
Baby Boomers, we talk about them all the time, 1967, Baby Boomers for "Time" magazine, Man
of the Year. You were given a mantra to change and save the world. Baby Boomers are really
1946 to about 1964. They're a huge cohort, nearly 75 million individuals.
Of particular note, we'll see a slide or two down the road. They have an exceptional presence
in government. In fact, it's fair to say that the federal system is influenced primarily
by Baby Boomers. If you look at the leadership ranks, even if your agency has a, more or
less, equal divide, my guess is, I've been doing this for about nine years, generationally,
the leadership is usually overwhelmingly Baby Boomers.
What does that mean going forward? Baby Boomers are also very relational. I call it the 24-hour
Baby Boom dance. The first 15 minutes of a meeting is I'm talking to you about how your
weekend was. You're telling me how things are going. Generation X is sitting there,
saying, "Are we ever going to get started? When do we get started? Hello?"
What you don't know is there's a dance going on. Baby Boomers are always checking in with
each other because Baby Boomers believe that you solve everything by teams. In fact, the
bigger the problem, the bigger what? You've all been on those teams. You know what I'm
talking about, right? The bigger the teams.
For the Baby Boom world, there is nothing that can't be accomplished. You know you're
working with a Baby Boomer when there's someone who says, "I need somebody to work on this
project," and the Baby Boom leader says, "We can do that." The staffs behind him are saying,
"We have no time. We have no money, and we have no energy," but for a Baby Boomer, being
known as an expert in their area really is very much of a defining moment.
Baby Boomers believe you can accomplish almost anything through political savvy. Who I know,
how I know them, and how we interact is critical.
Then you get the Generation X. I'm looking at one of my good friends, Katie Malague,
in the audience, who is a solid Generation X, as I am. We've had many interactions together.
She's from OMB.
Generation X. What's the story with Generation X? These are, what's often called, a forgotten
generation. There's about 46 million or so. They're in between the two large pillars,
huge pillars, Baby Boomers and Generation Y. Generation X generally has had to fend
for themselves.
Where Baby Boomers believe you solve everything by working in teams, Generation X says, "Yeah,
I have a team of..." How many? Whoa, a lot of Xers in the audience. OK. A team of one.
If you really want to kill the enthusiasm of a Generation X person, say, "Hey, listen.
Nora, we're about to point you to a team of 55 people. Your name is going to be on that
list." Nora's thinking, "55 people. Five of us are going to do the work." Oh, Lord, here
we go. Amen moments are happening already. OK.
For Generation X, they also, by the way, are called the truth tellers, self-defined truth
tellers, by the way, because there's no application, at least I haven't seen one on a government
form that says, "Truth teller. Check the box."
A Generation X person will let you know in a meeting how they feel, whether you ask them
or not. Research tells us about 80 percent of Generation X has some challenges with interpersonal
skills. Baby Boomers, on the other hand, they overwhelmingly are political savvy. Do you
all get where we're going with this? Then, lo and behold, here comes Generation Y. My
man, David, we're friends on the Generation Y, strong.
What the research tells us is that Generation Y has no less than 16 different names, the
iPod generation, microwave generation, Generation Y. They hate to be defined. "You can't define
me." Generation Y is also called the contradicted generation, because at one point they'll say,
"Listen, I am totally independent. I just need you to give me some guidance. I don't
need any support. I just need a few dollars along the way."
For Generation Y, the challenge often is, "What are we really trying to do?" Generation
Y, exceptionally smart, really, very accomplished. In fact, I always hang out with David here
because I will work for him one day, I'm sure. There's no question about it. Hire me on the
first cert, if you can.
Generation Y really does have a lot of expectations for themselves. They also are exceptionally
excited about having an opportunity to make a difference. 94 percent of Generation Y,
research tells us, says that they want to work somewhere where they can make a difference.
We bring them into the federal system, this huge, large cohort, and what do we say to
them? "Sit down, read a manual, and go to work." Can you see where some of this disconnects?
I give you that as a little elongated welcome and an idea, because what we'll see is that
generations actually do have a face. They do represent people. We think of them as this
nebulous thing that's out there or we think of ourselves, but if you look here, you all
know who these actors and actresses are. They all, actually, do sit in a generational space.
Oftentimes, they play roles that are what? Fit their generation.
When you're trying to think about how does a generation think or act or develop themselves,
sometimes you can actually go to the media to figure it out. Another is in the area of
technology. This is where we get super confused, because oftentimes we give up the mantle of
technology to Generation Y.
Actually, the technological history of where we came from started way back in the early
'40s, the gentleman who started Commodore 64. From there, we all know the story with
Apple and how both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates battled it out for a while, to see who was
going to get the lay of the land.
Then, we've got a whole bunch of stuff that took place with Generation X. In fact, we
had the dot-com and then the dot-bomb era with Generation X. Generation X are truth
tellers, oftentimes, because research tells us that about 40 percent of Generation X actually
experienced some level of downsizing in their career. They do not trust organizations upfront
because those organizations that they trusted upfront said, "We no longer need you."
When you think about technology, of course, everybody knows the story with Facebook and
the wild success that Generation Y has had. As you can see from this pictorial, when you
talk about technology as one example, it doesn't belong in just one generation, even though
we can say that Generation Y makes great application for it.
I thought you all might think this is a cute one. Again, as a Generation X leader, I believe
in data. Data drives my decisions. That's another conscript for Generation X. You come
up with all these crazy data points, but this, I thought, was interesting for all of you
to see. 83 percent of millennials sleep close to their phone, 83 percent.
There's the other part. Millennials don't like to talk on the phone. Don't mistake a
phone for something you actually use to talk. The phone is for what, David?
Texting, exactly. This is another cute way to say here's how we get some differences.
I can't tell you how many times, and I give seminars all over the country, I have Baby
Boom parents come up to me and say, "Why doesn't my son or daughter answer the phone?" Because
they want a text from you. "I don't text." Then they won't talk to you.
Crisis. All tongue-in-cheek aside, we actually do have a crisis, and particularly here in
the federal system. Part of it is because of what we know that the retirement wave looks
like, what it's going to be. Stats tell us between 2010 and 2030, we're going to see
an incredible amount of people turn 65 and older, four times as many during those 20
years as in the 80 years previously.
In addition to that, research tells us, look, there's conflict that's taking place, whether
it's older to younger or younger to older. The stats are overwhelming. There's conflict
taking place. By the way, not conflict that they're discussing.
This is important. As we get to the end of my talk and turn it to Nora, we'll end with.
Baby Boomers are overwhelmingly part of the federal system in its leadership capacity.
What does that mean for all of us going forward?
If that's the case, think about this. Think about this. If you have a great idea and you're
a Generation Y person, and you offer it up the chain of command, and it gets to a table
that has 15 people around it, and 12 of the 15 people are Baby Boomers, just statistically,
can we say that there might be a challenge that that idea can go forward?
I think David, we're going to hear from David later, is like, "Well, yeah, there's a challenge
for that," because what we've said to Generation Y, particularly, is, "Come to the workforce.
Get engaged with us, but when it comes to a leadership capacity, we've got that covered."
The challenge is, do we?
As we go forward, we're going to be asking ourselves a lot of questions around engagement,
a lot of questions about what the world looks like. We have a couple of charts, and we won't
go through all of these, but I wanted to raise a couple of ideas and issues with you where
the research flushes out some areas of conflict.
One, particularly, is of note for folks in the HR community, because we talk about it
all the time. This is a hidden truth that we have to start talking about. What the research
tells us is, on the mentorship equation, it isn't the same thing for everybody. Boomers
love it, and veterans also find, in fact, that they believe it's a duty and a privilege.
Here's the one you should draw a circle around. Generation X does not believe in mentoring.
Generation X folks are saying, "Jeff, don't tell on us." I'm telling on us. What the research
says is that Generation X doesn't believe in mentoring because they, themselves, hadn't
been mentored.
They hear about the value and they hear about the want from Generation Y, but they think
about this. "I've got a lot of work to do. I'm not sure I have the time." What you'll
get with Generation X is you'll get a lot of nodding when it comes to mentoring. "We
should do a mentoring program. I want to get involved in the mentoring program," but they're
not participating in the mentoring program.
One of the things we want to think about going forward is what are our challenges? I'll skip
the next slide, but just end with this. What are our challenges going forward?
I think of particular note, and I want to emphasize this and then turn it over to Nora,
what are we going to do about the leadership challenge? We've got to bring younger people
into leadership positions sooner.
The days of saying, "Listen, that person doesn't know anything. They haven't been here for
five years." OPM stats say that someone is going to stay three years and two months in
a job, five years and six months if they stay in a supervisory position, nine years and
nine months if they stay in the federal service.
Our thoughts are we have to marry learning and development and performance management
so we can address those kinds of issues. On that, I'll turn it over to Nora.
Thank you, Jeff. I really appreciate the foundational, getting us all on the same page, and also
injecting a bit of humor in it. I'm going to share a little bit of research, which I
think we'll tease out a bit, of some of the differences, and give you a few more facts
on both the Boomers and the Millennials. Then I'll also share some ideas of programs that
have been working, particularly in the private sector, on the mentorship point.
We generally, think about generations in the boxes that we just went through and described.
What I'd like to call out is there are some assumptions going on and behind those boxes.
One of those is that that segmentation is enough. We heard from Jeff that Generation
Y, in particular, doesn't feel like they're monolithic. I'll talk to you a little bit
about some sub-segments in that group, which may fit a bit better if you're a Gen-Yer.
Another thing is that, and Jeff touched on this, the changes in technology, we sometimes
base assumptions on those. We'll say, "Gen-Y is all about technology, and those are the
ones online and creating content," but we'll fail to appreciate that 20 percent of seniors
are online and creating content. Actually, I'm a member of Generation X, and both my
parents and my younger siblings are on Facebook, and I'm not. You make some assumptions which
are not always the case.
The final one is that sometimes we forget to understand things about the generations.
We talk a lot about Generation Y, many of these people are in their 20s, and how much
of these behaviors and perspectives are actually driven by where they are in their careers
and their maturity level and their age. What are they going to think and how are they going
to behave when they're in their 40s? It might be a little different.
Those are just some things to keep in mind as we continue our conversation this morning.
A few things on Baby Boomers. I've been at McKinsey about seven years, often working
on human capital issues. We have been talking about the impending retirement boom with our
clients the entire time I've been there. It's still impending. We're still talking about
it and it's not actually coming to fruition in reality.
Why is that? It's being accentuated with the recession that many Boomers are continuing
to work and are not retiring. Some, because they want to continue working, and many because
they need to. I'll show you some statistics on that.
This is just a segmentation of the Baby Boomers by their attitude. We have just under half.
This research is a few years old, so it wouldn't surprise me if these numbers had even shifted
a bit. About half of Boomers feel confident, or will feel confident at their retirement
age, that they can retire at around 65.
Roughly a third to a quarter are in a vulnerable position, where they feel like they need to
continue working. Then, a final third, or a quarter, are actually disadvantaged and
will need continued work and financial assistance to keep going. We make assumptions about the
Boomers and their retirement which are not really coming true because of the economic
These are actually the breakdowns of those who intend to continue working after 65. Which
is, about 40 percent of Boomers are extremely likely or very likely to continue working
after 65. When you look at that, about a third of those say they will continue working because
they want to stay engaged in the workforce, and around two-thirds because they need to
for financial reasons.
Again, these numbers are a few years old, so I would expect the recession may have even
grown that two-thirds to feel like they need to continue to work.
Then, when we look at employers and ask executives about both the importance of the Boomer generation
and what they're doing to tap into them and support them, we see on the left that executives,
there's strong agreement on things that mature workers will play a great role, that the loss
of knowledge and experience will greatly impact their business, that the changing demographics
will have a real impact.
Yet, on the right-hand side, you see very low levels of agreement with taking any steps
or preparing to either support those workers or transfer knowledge.
There have been some exceptions. We actually have been doing a good amount of work, and
I know OPM is focused on this as well now, with supporting more mature workers and giving
them options to either work part-time, work in different ways, which satisfies both what
they'd like to do and the way to give back, without being an on or off, fully working,
fully retired.
You also see some very interesting examples of this from the private sector. CVS is one
company, in particular, who has made a real effort to retain their more senior employees,
and even attract new senior employees, in particular in their retail pharmacies. They
say, "That's because we want to mirror our customer population. These people are high-performing
workers and we want to keep them around."
We'll talk a little bit about flexibility in the questions. They go so far as to offer
a snowbird program to their employees and their pharmacists who are high-performing,
such that they can work in the North during the summer and the South during the winter.
That works well for them because they get to retain those high performers. Actually,
it works well for the employees, and it works well for their customers, many of whom are
also snowbirds. There's actually more and more emphasis on the graying of the workforce,
rather than the retirement of the Boomers in the workforce.
Now, to the Millennials, Gen-Y, on the other end. I think Jeff gave a great introduction
to the generations and some of their preferences and attitudes. When we look at them in aggregate,
this is just some data on Generation-Ys and their preferences and what they're looking
for in an employer and a job.
You see things like interesting work, work life balance, wanting to make a difference
being high on the list, and actually things like income, prestige being lower. Willing
to make lifestyle tradeoffs, lifestyle is extremely important and wanting opportunities
as opposed to long-term positions or financial gain.
Then I mentioned that we've done a little bit of research on sub-segmenting Gen-Y. You'll
see six of those segments here. I know it's hard to see. These are roughly equivalent,
in terms of the distribution. Each of these has about 15 to 20 percent of Gen-Y in it.
When you look at them, you start to understand some of the different flavors of Gen-Y. Some
of them on the left here, more involved in prestige-seeking, experience-seeking, overachieving,
and then on the right, pioneers, more lifestyle-focused Gen-Yers and world-changers who are more idealists
and really want to make a difference.
We find that, as companies and organizations are, in particular, focusing on retaining
Generation Y and putting programs in place for them, that it can be helpful to understand
these different flavors of Generation Y.
Then, finally, just one concept that's getting a lot of attention, again, both in public
and private sector, is mentorship and the concept of reverse mentorship. This would
be pairing more senior employees with Millennials or junior employees for mentorship in both
This was initially championed by Jack Welch at GE, who encouraged his executive team,
and actually his top 500 executives, so a large population, to pair up with younger
generation workers, in order to understand the Internet, become a little bit more tech
We see huge popularity of these programs. Cisco, HP, Boeing, are listed. Also, Time
Warner Cable has a very popular intergenerational coaching program called Digital Reverse Mentoring,
where, again, they're pairing. This helps with knowledge transfer. It helps with retention
in both directions, which is a huge area of concern, in particular, with the Millennials.
A lot of popularity there.
It's interesting. Where does Gen-X fit into this? They are a bit of the lost generation
when it comes to the intergenerational coaching, but I wanted to share that with you.
With that, I'll turn it over to Dave.
Great. Thank you very much.
Just bring it closer to [indecipherable 36:13] .
Hello? Test? I'll take a live one. [laughs] That's good.
Hi. Good morning, everybody. Thanks. My name is Dave Uejio. I'm here in a couple of capacities,
but I'm the President of a group called Young Government Leaders, which is a professional
association for folks across governments, federal, state and local. We have about 3,200
members at last count, with 14 active chapters.
I'm really here to speak to you just a little bit about something fairly provocative, which
I see as an opportunity that currently exists, a window, if you will, for government to energize
itself through the potential energy of Gen-Y, of young folks that may infuse the federal
government and government at all levels with tremendous firepower. I think there's a tremendous
amount of opportunity there, but in many places and many corners, it may or may not be being
fully taken advantage of.
We've heard a lot about framing, both at a general level and a more drilled-down level,
of the characteristics of folks in Gen-Y, and this notion about both values, which I
think are tremendously important, as well as work styles. I think a lot of the time,
generational discourse tends to get hung up on the way in which we're doing our work,
and not so much about the why in which we're doing our work.
I think one of the things that often gets lost in the conversation from the perspective
of Millennials, and I'll give a brief disclaimer, is what's the experience for Gen-Y? That's
currently changing. That's not a constant and a stable thing. That's something that's
The pitch that I'm going to make to you today is that Gen-Y finds themselves in a very difficult
position, I would say, in a way that may not be fully appreciated by folks across the government.
That provides the government with an opportunity to infuse itself with extraordinary talent
from that pool, or to watch Gen-Y descend into something completely different, a different
outcome. If we miss that window, the experience of those folks is going to be fundamentally
I will say, again, as a brief disclaimer, I am a cusper, as Jeff noted. I have a younger
brother who is in Gen-Y, so I've been leading Gen-Y for about 34 years. That's my anecdotal
Let's take a look at what's going on for Gen-Y right now. You have this group of folks that
is predisposed in many ways to change the world. Idealistic, tremendously idealistic
in some regards, or at least parts of that generation, as Nora outlined.
I would say that recognition is not new for us. In government, I think we've always done
extremely well recruiting people with the public service gene. One of the common threads
throughout the generations is that those who are predisposed to serve the public tend to
gravitate towards our work, just like all of you, I'm sure.
The difference, I think, is that, for Gen-Y, that idealism has been met by a profoundly
terrible job market. Not just bad, but probably the worst since those traditionalists.
Some basic anecdotes I have for you out there, and you can read them, although the recession
cyclically turned a corner in 2009, it still remains at the bottom for folks in the 18
to 29 demographic. Unemployment for them is quite pronounced. Depending on your metrics,
it's somewhere between 14 and 19.7 percent.
Of those who have recently graduated, a bare majority are working the number of hours that
they'd like to be working. Student loan debt has spiked over the last couple of years.
The average recent graduate is now carrying at least $27,000 worth of student loan around
with them. Student loan debt recently overtook credit card debt as the second largest source
of tied up assets, if you will, student loan debt which also can't be shed in bankruptcy.
What you've got is a generation of people that may be extraordinarily predisposed to
serve the public, but nevertheless, very unable to figure out how to navigate that, and with
very few opportunities, I think, relative to their peers.
Overlaid with that is the comparative advantage that exists for government. These are from
a recent marketing survey, but they underlie or restate what we've heard earlier, which
is just that these are folks that do, in many ways, value contribution to society, value
work with great meaning. These are people that want meaningful work. I would say that,
all across government, we all actually want meaningful work. That's something we can agree
One of the takeaways I'd like you to have is that many of the things that younger employees
want are things that we all want, but they're particularly pronounced for this group. It
creates a good opportunity for you.
One of the things that I hear a lot about in both sectors, in the private sector and
even in the profit sector, is how can we deal and provide Gen-Y with opportunities for corporate
and social responsibility? It's a big buzz word in the employer branding community these
days, which is having large companies in the private sector, demonstrate their social value
and create a proposition that's appealing to these people that would like to both do
well by doing good.
I would argue that that is a permanent competitive advantage for the government if we have the
gumption to take it. One of the things I often hear when I speak about corporate and social
responsibility is, "Whatever happened to just social responsibility?" If you look at the
work that's being done by federal agencies, it's all socially relevant work.
This is, I think, particularly important, given what we know about the realities of
the budget. The fact of the matter is that budgets are trending in a downward direction.
We're going to need to be smarter about the work that gets done and the way in which we
do it.
I would say that there's tremendous opportunity there with the younger generation to bring
in tremendously productive, incredibly intelligent people who have perhaps diminished opportunities
and this predisposition to serve to meet those needs. You're going to be investing in your
own future by bringing those folks onboard.
How do you do it? I think, in many ways, I am taking my own vested advice. I recently
joined the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is a very brand-new agency. It was created
in the wake of the financial crisis to essentially prevent future financial crises through engaging
consumers and ensuring that markets work for Americans.
In this way, I have a unique perspective on what can be achieved, because our whole purpose
for existence is to rectify what created the employment problems I just showed you. Certainly,
nobody knows that better than Gen-Y in some cases, with student loans, with mortgages.
I'm going to tell you a little bit about the approach that's been taken at CFPB to really
live these values. I think it's really exciting. In many ways, I think CFPB is the first Gen-X
agency, in some ways. In all our leadership team, there's a healthy contingent of people
in Gen-X and Gen-Y, frankly.
We're also pretty cool. We're here at OPM, and I'm just going to say. When Director Barry
told us to make government cool, government is cool where we work. It's got a singularity
of purpose that's very appealing to people of all generations, but certainly to our younger
This is a snapshot. I'm very proud of this. Those are actually our HR staff meeting with
the President after he had come to address us. This article happens to be from "Rolling
Stone," which, even for my friends in Gen-X and the Boomers, the "Rolling Stone" is still
cool, right?
It's pretty cool. I think that helps. We've also been featured in places like "New York
Times," for not just the work that we're doing, which is tremendously important, but the way
in which we're doing it. I've got a little blurb here that you can read.
Essentially, CFPB has taken a radically different approach to the way it's structured. There
are lots of things we can talk about with that in terms of diminishing the number of
layers and keeping our organization agile.
The things I really want to focus on for you are this. Number one, our leadership has been
extremely astute in defining what our values are, very explicitly. You can't walk anywhere
without seeing them. Our values are pretty simple, serve, lead, and innovate.
I know many of you, especially folks that like these topics, find the notion of innovation
in government somewhat bemusing. A lot of us attempt to do it. You hear a lot of discussion
about it, and I think there's tremendously fertile ground for it.
For an agency to come out and say, "One of our core values, and something we expect from
all our employees, is to serve the public, lead from where you are, and innovate," it's
tremendously liberating. It's not something that's totally difficult to do. It just requires
leadership buy-in.
I'm not even going to take the call either way. If it was a text, I might have stopped.
I'm going to close my remarks just with a little bit more insight into what it is that
this generation wants. One of the things we did is survey our members. We try and be the
voice box for Gen-Y and the government, because in many ways it's kind of an insurgency. YGL
was founded, because too many young people across government that wanted to do good found
themselves trapped in a cube farm with a lot of people that did not look like them, did
not share their experience.
In some ways we're a support group, and in other ways we're an advocacy organization.
We queried our members to find out, what do you really want in the workplace? This basically
just confirms what Jeff has said.
The things that people want are all up there. You can read them. People want mentorship.
People want the opportunity to move laterally across the organization through rotational
assignments. People want the ability to see and interact with leadership. That doesn't
necessarily mean they need to advise leadership, but they want to know who leadership are and
be able to see them.
The real upshot there is that, if you look, aside from being things that you've probably
already heard that are best practices for many of us, those are things that don't cost
a ton of money. In fact, they don't cost any money at all.
I think that's another component here and a good sales pitch for those of you who are
trying to sell this to leadership. Those things that you can do in your workplace to be friendlier
to Gen-Y cost no money, will help you with engagement and retention, and will allow your
workforce to have a greater understanding of the work styles and experience. This peer
mentoring and reverse mentoring that Nora mentioned is extremely germane to what we're
talking about here, if you've got the willingness to do it.
I know, depending on what your leadership's predisposition is, you may feel, "We don't
have enough people for that. We don't have enough time for that. The current model is
working for us."
The truth is, if you miss this opportunity to build a workplace friendly to Gen-Y, and
to bring them in and replenish your ranks, it's not going to be a good outcome for you.
I would encourage you to consider these things as you help inform your leadership about investing
in Gen-Y, because I think there's really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity here to buy
superior talent that really will infuse your workforce with greater energy, if you can
just seize the advantage.
That's all I've got. Thanks.
Wow. That was really fantastic. Thank you all so much. I found myself furiously writing
down all sorts of little notes as I'm sitting here off to the side.
Our move forward from here is I have a few questions that I thought I would start our
Q and A segment with. I want to encourage all of you to fill out some note cards. We
have some of our young interns. We've got Kristen and Nick in the back, if you guys
can raise your hands.
We're going to have them quietly walk through the aisles as I'm posing some of these questions
to our panelists, and collect your cards. We'll ask those questions to the panelists
as well. Then, if we keep going, we might even get to utilize the microphone for spontaneous
questions as well.
I thought what we would do is, I have a few questions and I'll pose it to one of the panelists,
and the other two might have other follow-up points they might want to make with it. I
thought I'd start with Jeff. My first question is, how is the mass retirement of the Baby
Boom generation and our need for knowledge retention and transfer impacting the federal
workforce in terms of productivity?
That is a fantastic question. I think it goes to Nora's point a while ago that the reality
is that we're not seeing those retirements. If you think about the challenge that's presenting
itself, it speaks to David's point. We have a swell of Generation Y who wants leadership
opportunities, who wants in. We have a swell of Baby Boomers who want out but can't afford
it. Then we have work to do.
In terms of productivity, we can't ignore those two factors. The reality is, as agencies,
and we've been doing this for eons, we look at what our attrition rates are. We can average
out, and it's six percent this year, eight percent that year.
What we have to recognize is the economic factors behind it. What will happen when the
floodgates actually open up, the market comes back, the housing market comes back, Baby
Boomers now are in a financial place, we're going to see what we termed as mushroom retirements.
We're going to see people who are just going to say, "You know what? Traffic on the beltway
was bad. I'm now going to call my boss and let them know my paperwork is going to be
officially in. I'm outie."
We're not prepared as a government at all to handle that. I would argue that knowledge
transfer should be, if it's not amongst your top priorities in human capital, should be
without question. George Mason University now has a master's degree in knowledge management
itself. Why? Because we are not managing our knowledge in the government in a way, that's
This mass retirement, when it does happen, is going to have a profound effect on productivity,
because we're going to start looking for John and Mary and Bill, and they will be snowbirds
working for CVS. Our challenge will be that, without those systems in place now, we're
not going to be able to be effective in the future.
I would just add one thing onto that, on the point of knowledge management, that there
really are several components to knowledge management. I think there's a system component,
which many of us think about. Some agencies and companies are better prepared in this
regard. I think it's a great idea that you don't just replace individuals with everything
in their heads with a few more individuals with everything in their heads, who also may
be moving on, not because of retirement but because they want to further their careers.
There is a big systems component. Even though, with the best systems in place, there are
cultural and network components of this that cannot be overlooked. A system itself is only
as good as what's being put into it and what's being tapped out of it. When you have this
system in place, you need to then encourage both contribution to the system and encourage
pull from the system.
This is where things like the reverse mentoring, the actual relationship map on top of the
system's map becomes very, very important to bring it to life and get the most out of
it. I would argue, probably, more important than the system's component acknowledge management.
Sure, then just to add on to that a little bit, I think in addition to having a great
structured system for knowledge management, it really is to your benefit to, where appropriate,
provide young leaders with more experience and opportunities to lead, and also to fail
in a way in which they can recover.
One of the things that might be deeply discerning for government is, if everybody leaves at
once, you may just end up with a generation of young leaders, whether that's what you
wanted or not. It would behoove you to have them have the miles on them to be better,
not just toss them into the fire, but engage and then invest in that critical development
infrastructure, not just for now, but for the next 3, five or 10 years.
Maybe I could ask just a quick follow-up onto that. I think it's interesting how we were
talking about the reverse mentoring earlier and how they're pairing Boomers with Gen-Ys.
It's becoming very apparent in this dialogue, to me, that Gen-X is getting left aside, as
Gen-X is experienced, time and time again.
Obviously, something very definite needs to happen to bring Gen-X into that equation,
because as soon as that mushroom hits, Gen-X is going to be held holding the bag. Are you
aware of any type of initiatives that are really working to pull Gen-X into that fold?
I have a couple of ideas or thoughts on that. I think none of these are perfect, but there
are alternate models of mentoring, which I think suit Gen-X better, both from a mentoring
perspective and a mentee perspective, things like peer mentoring and also one-to-many mentorship
As we heard Jeff say, Gen-X is often thinking, "I don't have the time for this. I've got
work to do. This is not the most efficient way to get this done." If you can get into
looser, less formal, one-to-many interactions and relationships, those can feel a little
lower burden to Gen-X and feel a little more efficient a way to share information and knowledge.
Again, the peer mentoring is a comfortable place, I think, for Gen-Xers because they
are often feeling neglected. They never had mentors. Someone who understands that sentiment,
identifies with that sentiment, and is going through what they are going through, can be
very, very helpful when they're facing challenges. Those are a couple of ideas.
Great. Thank you. OK. I have another question. I'm going to pose this one to Dave, or at
least to Dave to start with. Does the federal government have an advantage over the private
sector, you touched on that in your opening comments, in attracting top talent into the
workforce? I'm wondering, are there specific employee programs at your agency that you
can highlight and that you think are doing something unique and different in that regard?
Yeah, absolutely. Certainly, we've touched on why I think we have a permanent competitive
advantage with this particular demographic. Our work is authentically important. We have
the opportunities to make it meaningful.
I think that, in some ways, there is some flexibility built into the way in which we
go about doing our work, in which the private sector still constrains because of time, deadlines,
the bottom line. We can, if we were more enlightened about it, build a work environment that's
just more fulfilling, perhaps. That's the theory I have.
With regards to that, a program that we're launching that's pretty exciting, we've just
gotten some press coverage in MSNBC in the Atlantic, is a brand new thing we're calling
the "Design and Technology Fellows Program."
It's a program for graphic designers, user interface designers, because we are actually
in the business of building consumer products at CFPV, and developers, to come on and sit
side-by-side with our mission delivery folks, the people that are conducting bank examinations,
the people that are taking in consumer complaints about credit cards, and work with them to
build great tools in just the same way they would if they were in the private sector at
companies like Facebook or Google.
The program is going to feature a couple of cool things. One, it's going to allow people
to work anywhere in the country once they've gone through boot camp. Rather than limiting
ourselves to the DC area, which, for those of you that do tech recruiting know, is not
necessarily a hotbed, especially vis-à-vis the Silicon Valley and New York. If you look
at companies like Living Social that's based here in DC, they still have a very hard time
attracting developers and designers, just because of the lay of the land.
They can come to DC for three months of boot camp to learn our mission, work with their
customers, and link up in these huge bullpens that we have at CFPV with the design and technology
people, to work in a work style that really works for them. Then they can go off and code.
They can do it from their home. They can do it wherever they'd like in the country, in
another way that touches on an incentive for them.
Obviously, they'll come back to Washington to work with their customers and have built
those relations. I think it's a really novel and innovative program. Both the work that
they'll be doing is very exciting, and the life experience they can expect for those
two years in the fellowship is roughly similar, much closer to what they would get working
out of Google Ads in New York or working out of the Silicon Valley than you would find
anywhere else up and down this particular street.
Yeah, Nora.
I agree with that completely. I think it's also very exciting to see. I agree with Dave's
premise that government can and should really capitalize on Gen-Y's mission-driven focus
and purpose-driven focus. When I talked about the sub-segments of Gen-Y, I feel like not
every Gen-Yer is going to find government attractive and then come and stay, but those
who do, are quite likely to stay, provided the work environment can be something that's
exciting to them and provides opportunities for them.
From the private sector side, in my experience, it's interesting. They, of course, are struggling
with intergenerational issues as well. Private sector I think finds itself in a situation
where they can be a bit more nimble in terms of the policies and work environment. There's
more experimentation and they're moving a little bit more quickly to satisfy Gen-Y,
and also try to keep them engaged and excited.
What they struggle with on the private sector side is this attrition issue. The fact is
that for many Gen-Yers, they are thinking about their career in two to three-year increments.
It's very natural for them to be switching and moving organizations or companies. On
the private sector side, I think with the Millenials, there's a lot of concern about
keeping them for more than just a couple of years.
In many cases, they're just realizing that there's going to be more and more movement.
My suspicion is on the public sector side, the government side, because of my prior point
about getting to that segment of Millenials. If the government can provide in their agencies
opportunities and meaningful work for them, my guess is that they will struggle less than
on the private sector side with actually keeping them for longer periods of time in an engaged
I actually think there are some advantages.
Just a 30-second add-on with that, the challenge for all of us. I challenge myself and challenge
all of you as well is to think about this. Where was Gen-X in this conversation? Going
back to this point, what are we going to do? What programs, policies or activities are
we going to set up to ensure that Gen-X doesn't look at what the future looks like and say,
"I'm going to leave on the tail-end, exactly, of the Baby Boomer."
I think David's point is exactly right on time. That program can be marketed to all
generations, and it should be. Our challenge is making a concerted effort to have a conversation
with Gen-X. One of the reasons why I find the CFTC an attractive place for me to work
is that we're 41 percent Gen-X.
An example, we were in a budget activity yesterday, about 11:00. Gen-X leaders, we talk to each
other. Before I came here this morning, we figured out what we need to do on a budget
call. It wasn't an elongated two-week process that needed eight signatures. It was basically
four Gen-Xers saying, "Yes, this makes sense to me. Who sends out the email?" Someone sends
out the email and it's done before the morning.
The point being, how are we going to intentionally -- and we have to do this intentionally and
that's the challenge I have for all of you -- engage a conversation with Gen X? The conversation
that was engaged in the late `90s, which was when I came in the government was, "Hopefully
you won't get downsized." In the HR community, many did.
The point being, if you do have Gen-Xers in your organization, how do we make the engagement
model attractive and appealing for them so that they can participate in programs like
David just mentioned?
Great, very engaging subject. One more question and then I've got a handful of stuff from
the audience that looks very exciting.
I'm posing this question to you, Nora, to start with. How do mobile work initiatives
like alternate work schedules, telework, hoteling, all the different things that we have been
experimenting with, impacted the generational behaviors? Are these initiatives effective
or ineffective in regard to the overall organizational mission?
A really great question. Flexibility comes into play for all of the generations. In many
ways, government and private sector have been moving toward increased flexibility in the
workplace in the form of telework or what's sometimes called results-only work environments.
In order to both optimize employee engagement and satisfaction, but then also to increase
productivity, lower commuting times, lower costs, et cetera.
There's no question that there are benefits to these programs. Many companies and organizations,
and the government is moving in that direction. I would say, however, that I'm seeing on the
private sector side, a bit of a pendulum swing back, backing off of it, of the total virtual
work teams and total telework environment. I think this is really coming from a place
of, yes, you can turn up the volume on flexibility to 11, and everybody will be really happy.
Actually, these hit the sweet spot in terms of satisfaction for many of the generations,
certainly for Gen-Yers and for Boomers. Actually, it's very attractive to have more control
and work from home or the coffee shop or whatever is of interest to you.
We are seeing, in places, where that's been overdone. Some effects, in particular on work
that requires collaboration and requires teamwork that you're just not getting the productivity
and the results that you would.
We're actually seeing, in particular on the private sector side, a bit of a backing off,
and I'd say a more thoughtful use of telework and flexibility, so that, for example, focusing
on certain types of roles, or combining flexible work arrangements with a certain day when
everyone is in the office, or a certain workplace where you're going to actually have some face
I would just say, I know that this is something that government is really going with in a
big way, and I think it has many benefits, but I think it's important to balance both
the employee satisfaction benefits and, of course, the results and productivity benefits,
because you can end up overdoing this one.
That's interesting. I've got a question from someone in the audience that...Oh, I'm sorry.
Tracy wanted to make some announcements before I started posing those questions.
This is Tracy DeMartini. She is...
You don't have a problem with being loud, though, as I recall. [laughs]
Hello. My name is Tracy DeMartini and I'm one of the interns with the CHCO Council.
See, the interns thought it was funny, because I'm actually their supervisor. I want to thank
you for coming, and I want to go over the most popular questions so Regina can get to
the others.
First, there will be an evaluation that Nick and Kristen are going to hand out to you.
We ask that you fill it out. Those that know me particularly well from other academy sessions
know that I won't let you leave until I get it. Please be brutally honest, because we
do use the metrics to determine what the next topics will be. You can also leave your email
address on there if you'd like the slides sent to you. We'll be happy to do that. We
will also be posting them on the CHCO website. I invite you to also visit that.
Another question that came up in several cards was about approved training for HR specialists
and managers with regard to generational differences. My colleague, Linda Datcher, is sitting in
the back. Linda is going to be taking over HRU. We do not have anything up on HRU now,
but I know they continually do needs assessment, so please submit it as a suggestion.
Also, talk to this guy, up here, that goes to many agencies. Mr. Vargas is happy to come
and visit and do a special presentation for your agency. Please make those connections, is the website.
I have to also give a plug to my colleague from OMB. Katie Malay is here, and she runs
the PMC rotational program, which two of our interns are here from. Actually, there's at
least four in the audience. That is a wonderful opportunity for Boomers and Gen-Xers, as well
as Gen-Y, but Gen-Y has a lot of other opportunities like the PMF.
One of her star students is sitting next to her from the Department of Labor, too. You
can ask Mr. Chavis about his experience. You want to look at some cross-agency opportunities
that involve all of the generations, please connect with Katie.
Then, finally, we'll go to the other questions. We're going to still keep collecting cards,
so don't let us bother you, but I am a stickler when it comes to filling out evaluations.
I might sit down and just start picking your brain and chatting. You run away in fear now.
Thanks, Tracy. We still have a good 45 minutes to entertain questions. I'll start with the
ones I have here, and I encourage you to pass your cards on to our aisle monitors and they'll
keep collecting them.
This first one is a follow-on to what you were just talking about, Nora. The person
wrote, "What can HR staff do to train supervisors who are resistant," actually, they wrote "refuse,
to adapt to new workplace flexibilities like telework?" I think there is a contingency
of Boomers, probably most particularly.
I can start, and then I'd like to open it up. Actually, this is where, if you have a
productivity-focused or output-focused look on flexibility, actually, no single thing
is going to work best for all of your employees, given their individual circumstances and their
preferences and how they work best.
I actually think, and this may be controversial, you may not be able to do this in your agency.
Sometimes these choices are made for other reasons. I think the places where it works
best is where flexibility is offered and telework is offered as an option, and not something
that's mandatory.
We often see, even in places where an organization is moving very much toward a virtual work
environment or telework, that there are places designated with hot desks or cubes or shared
office space, such that, for those people who want and need a desk with a phone and
a place to put their materials and work in a quiet environment, that's where they work
best, that they can take advantage of that.
I actually think it works best when you think about flexibility broadly and you give people
options to work in the way that gets the most out of them, because at the end of the day,
that's what you're aiming for.
I'm really sympathetic to this, having spent now five or six years working in HR. I think
there's a couple of things that you can employ strategies that may be helpful.
One is that you can't have your ideas be thought of as just another HR fad. There's a lack
of credibility there. The best thing you can do, number one, is figure out what data is
going to help you. You have to come to leadership with data.
If you're trying to improve employee engagement, you can measure that. If you're trying to
improve productivity, which you should be, you can measure that, too. Then, this isn't
going to surprise Jeff at all, but if you can perhaps find a willing collaborator on
the other side, somebody that you can have a pilot project with, authorized or not, that
can then demonstrate this and just do it, incubate the idea.
If your theory holds right, and the employees are happier and they're producing more, people
are going to notice that. I'm not saying to totally subvert the chain of command, but
if you can find somebody to help you out, conducting a little experiment, that's going
to be a lot more meaningful to leadership than just another article that they've pulled
out of the latest column of HR News or whatnot.
Wow, you took me literally. You're feeding me lots of questions here. Thank you.
I'm not sure that I'm going to pose this to any one of you in particular, so whoever wants
to jump in, please do. What are the plans to survey, or are there plans that you're
aware of to survey career senior executives to incorporate Gen-X and Gen-Y in succession
planning, and to capture institutional knowledge? This is some of what Jeff was talking about
earlier. I think this question asker is looking for something specific that senior executives
could be doing.
There are a couple of things all of our agencies are challenged with. I think we've had some
very good, but also some very static, SES candidate development programs. They are OPM
approved, so they do have to have a basic construct, but sometimes what's really lacking
in those programs is the kind of engagement that this question is leaning towards.
In the future, when you talk about specific plans, one way to influence that...I really
like David's position here. He's really challenging us to be men and women of influence in this
area. We should be influencing things like the SES candidate development program.
It's not just the rotational experience they're getting on the technical side of the house,
because there are a million and one people who can offer that up so that they can be
better technocrats in what they're doing.
How are we intentionally influencing, say, for instance, our rotational assignments,
that's helping somebody on the sociological side of the house? How are they learning to
better engage teams, not around a project specifically, but just better engaged teams?
One of the things that we can do is start to influence that with data and metrics, so
that we can come back and we can have an analytics conversation about where it should go, as
opposed to, "Well, this either feels right or this looks right."
Oftentimes, in the HR community, we'll push that forward and then run to find the data.
I'd argue we do the reverse, because if we're really talking about influencing things like
the SES program, so that more Generation X, particularly, can participate in it, we're
going to have to look at it through a different lens and to work that out right.
When it comes to succession planning, the one thing I'd add here is that, really, the
only way to make this work for all generations is to, and this is exactly what you were touching
on, Jeff, infuse some fluidity and mobility into the entire government leadership. That's
because, we talked about, the leapfrog phenomenon.
I worked with one government agency that shall remain nameless, where the time to first promotion
was 22 years. If you think about that from a Gen-Y's perspective, and they're coming
into the workforce, and people are saying, "Be patient. Be patient. Wait. You'll get
your promotion, 22 years from now," what does that say to them?
We hear a lot and see a lot about programs, in particular, from Millennials and Gen-Yers,
to get them opportunities and move them around. These are not, by the way, necessarily promotions
or opportunities to move up, which I think is another frustration for them.
Then, you're left with many of the Gen-Xers who are saying, "I've been patient here. Wait
a minute. I've waited my five years, my 10 years. How am I going to get ahead?" In situations
like this, in particular, if you're taking only a one-agency view, and you've got the
Boomers who are not taking their option to retire, the numbers just don't add up to give
everyone the opportunities, both for their own individual development and for them to
be productive and solve the mission.
There just has to be more movement and fluidity. Some of those will be lateral moves. Some
of those will be promotions and moves up. Many of them will be rotations in and outside
of agencies.
I think a big part of working across the generations and making this work is increased rotation
and job movement for everyone. In particular, I think a place to look is the CDP and SES
feeder programs.
This next question actually poses an interesting tangent onto the subject we were just discussing.
What are some strategies for convincing senior leadership to open more entry-level positions
instead of mid-career or high-level positions? The GS five to seven as opposed to the GS
12 to 13.
Let's see if I can read this without my glasses. I'm a Gen-Xer. There is the opinion that the
work can only be performed by more experienced applicants, that work is too complex, no time
to train, et cetera.
I'm going to propose something out of my own playbook here. How many of you have seen the
movie "Moneyball"? 40 or 50 percent. The movie is really interesting, in that the book that
it's based on is a Michael Lewis book about a team in professional baseball that's at
a permanent disadvantage in budget, the Oakland A's. They're in a bad market for a lot of
reasons. They just can't afford the best players.
The organizational philosophy is all about identifying talent better than everyone else
to compete, and finding what really matters better than their peers, based on data and
not just on observation.
One of the things that I think government ought to be doing is taking a "Moneyball"
approach with high potential, younger players. It's a strategy that matches up really well
in times of bad budgets, because 5s and 7s cost a heck of a lot less than 13 and 10s.
If you can introduce that, even, again, as a pilot, just an innocent pilot, in which
you can get those people showing senior leadership what they're capable of, you can also do something
you see smaller baseball clubs do, which is lock in high potential players delivering
lots of value really cheap.
If you can get a 13 performance out of a 5, and you can keep them 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13,
and then let them go, you're going to be saving a heck of a lot of money. I think that's going
to make a big difference to your senior leadership going forward.
I'm trying to see which direction we should go in next here. Sure.
[inaudible 79:47] then they go somewhere else. That's what they want. They want somebody
who can come right now. I have a problem. I can save money if you come right now and
perform those skills and responsibilities. I need a budget first and I need whatever.
It's fine. I know you would love to pay somebody and train them to develop them into it. That's
the problem. They believe that if they spend that time, they're going to go someplace else
and they're not going to have that person there [inaudible 80:25] .
To answer that, because I do a lot of consultations with agencies and I get this question all
the time. All the time. "We need somebody right now who can hit the ground running."
My question to them is, "Do you have a test that identifies what 'hit the ground running'
looks like?" Everybody kind of gets nervous. If you know what it is, and it's a 57 multiple
choice question, do a blind analogy. Don't choose a name. See who scores the highest
on it.
The challenge is, if the person that scores the highest on it happens to be the same age
as your son or daughter, would you be willing to trust them with it? If you're going to
tell us no upfront, then why even go through the exercise?
The issue isn't the talent of the employee. The issue is a lack of understanding of the
real world of work. This is where it gets kind of sensitive sometimes with Baby Boom
leaders, because I challenge...One thing about being a Generation X leader is you're very
deep in data, and all kinds of stuff hits you because there's all kinds of stuff you're
reading all the time.
What we know about the workforce is it's plug and play. Particularly, in order to be an
effective Generation X person, you have to switch jobs. If you stay in a job in the same
location for a decade or more, what your Generation X peers are saying is, "Did nobody else want
you?" They may say it out loud, they may not.
Within 10 years, you better make a move. Oftentimes, what the data says is within three years,
you should be at least talking about making a move. It adds to your credibility.
Well, for a Boomer who says, "I invested all this in a person," that's disrespectful. "I
gave so much to that person and now they're going to leave." New world. We can't change
it. They will leave and they should leave, because when they do leave, what happens?
It's an opportunity for someone else to walk in that door, who, by the way, in a "Moneyball"
way, is prepared to excel in a way that, if it's articulated, if you know what you want
going in, you'll get what you want coming out.
I'd love to add one thing to that. This fear of investing so much in people and then watching
that walk out the door is a bit of a false notion or a false fear, in my book. We use
the term, you want your organization to become "a talent magnet."
One thing that we heard about, in particular with the younger generation, but I think it's
true of many job seekers, especially in today's environment, there's no shortage of high talent
individuals looking for exciting work. There just is no shortage of that.
This is not a defined pie and a zero-sum game. Agencies and companies and working environments
can get themselves into a really nice upward spiral here, where they become known for being
an exporter of talent, a great place to go and learn and work for several years, and
then get placed to move on to something else.
Those people may come back, but they certainly leave with a very favorable impression of
that workplace. They tell all their friends and neighbors. What I think you'll find, I'd
say CFPV is probably a good example, is I'd love for you to actually talk about how you
all think, if you think about it in this way.
You can get yourselves into a position where you're actually known for being a place where
high talent wants to go, where high talent learns a lot, and where, yeah, you may move
on, but it helps your organization in the big picture over the long term.
I'm happy to speak to that. We have the luxury of being a new agency. We can build it the
way we want. One of the things that my boss at CHCO says all the time is we want to be
the best first and third employer you're ever going to have. We mean it.
Being in financial regulatory, not only do we not think we're going to be able to keep
people for 20 years, it's probably not even a good idea to keep people for 20 years. If
you look at the financial crisis, what we're hoping to not be is the Elmer Fudd to the
Bugs Bunny. That doesn't make any sense for us.
As a result, we've structured programs. We have a Directors to Financial Analyst program.
It's for people straight out of undergrad that, I'm going to be honest, typically don't
end up in government. We're recruiting from the same pool as Goldman Sachs, as J.P. Morgan,
because we need to be able to fight fire with fire.
We know they're not going to stay more than maybe two years. But we're going to benefit
from their quantitative analysis abilities now. Then when they go off to make tons of
money in the private sector, they're going to know our regulations and be good actors.
They're going to tell their friends and their alumni associations. It's going to help us
do our job and have a really high caliber workforce.
So I think, the only other observation I have about your point, and I know it. I definitely
know that. Is that often times I think we get too looped in to what we're comfortable
with and not what's really going to be effective.
So if you had told me, you know, all right we really need to have a GS13 air traffic
controller right now to direct traffic at Dulles, I'd buy that for sure. You can't have
a trainee stepping into the job immediately.
But, how many of this, you know, you're HR practitioners. How many of you have seen people
say I need someone that can hit the ground running, and then they post and they don't
select. They post and they don't select. They go 24 months without filling the position.
You're telling me that nobody is better than somebody? So it just doesn't bear out.
So if we have this tendency to define the Gen-Xers as the just go ahead and do it yourself
kind of generation. What are the ways then, or are there that you're aware of, that the
Gen-Xers have embraced or embarked upon to overcome their disbelief in mentorship?
I think it's obviously been a part of our lexicon long enough now. I can speak to my
own experience. I have seen some of my younger colleagues step up to the mentorship plate
much faster than I have. However I've always been intrigued and wanting to do mentorship,
but I've subscribed to this idea of I have too much to do. So your thoughts on that would
be insightful.
You know, being part of the cohort that's often overlooked by organizations. Then you
raise the voice, the organization nods its head and we do the same thing, but we don't
actually take action. I think when we talk about Gen-X, really, what we're really talking
about there is engagement and involvement.
At the end of the day Gen-X, really, their number one thing, cares about work-life balance.
If you ask a Gen-X person what do you really want to move forward? They're not going to
give you the three P's. You know what they are? A picture, a plaque and a pose. That's
a Baby Boom model. So you can put a picture up in your office and say you know that person.
For Gen X, it really is all about work-life balance. So I think our questions are going
to be swirling and keep going back and forth about engagement for Gen-X. If you want to
engage Gen-X, be exceptionally straightforward with them about the requirement for work.
The flexibility to do the work in a time frame they would like to do that in. Then what work-life
balance looks like.
So with government agencies that for instance don't have, you know, a gliding schedule.
And Gen-X is also called the sandwich generation because they're ending up taking care of older
parents and younger kids. Their work-life balance isn't necessarily because they want
to go with their cousin's brother's sister to the lake for two weeks. Gen-Y will tell
you that, TMI.
But Gen-X, they have these family challenges. So if we can recognize that I think we can
increase our engagement with them.
I think that's a great answer. Boy I would love to hear my supervisor say that. So it's
interesting. How do we then ensure that age discrimination doesn't become an inadvertent
creep into this formula? What efforts or programs can we produce to help us step back from that
and not allow that to happen? Do you have any thoughts about that?
So I think it's a really interesting point. That, it's something we haven't really talked
about explicitly. That the generations are linked with age cohorts and that either appearance
of, our actual preference of one over another in decisions, could absolutely cross the line
into age discrimination and be a problem.
The number one thing to be done is to understand and appreciate, and that's why I think forums
like this are so important, the value that each generation can and is bringing. I think
it really helps to design more thoughtful programs and make more thoughtful use of individuals'
Then I think, you know again in particular with regard to the Baby Boom generation, the
best things that can be done to avoid age discrimination. In my mind this is very much
tied up with the, you know, Baby Boomers who might want to either not totally leave the
work force.
But find ways to contribute in either a part time way or an off ramp way or in a different
capacity in the work. So to me the best thing here is to provide a range of options and
job choices, such that people can choose the ones that are right for them.
But I'd love to hear others' views on this. It's a very important point, and it's also
more and more acute given our tough budget times and environments. I think it will come
Here's an interesting question. They asked what recommendations would you give when it
comes to recruiting? Particularly our younger generations. What are your thoughts about
tools such as USAJOBS? What other things do you think need to be infused into the process?
[laughter] Dave's all over that.
Sure. So, you know, I think that there are a lot of things that you can do in recruiting
to appeal to younger generations. So as you may have noticed, and if you haven't, it's
important that you define yourself in a way that is relevant to younger generations. I
think that often times all of us here within the beltway get sort of a warped view of how
our organization sells on Main Street.
If you look at a site like, which is our flagship website. Which I think
is the best website in government. Encourage you to check it out. Those of you who have
your smart phones, you can check it out now. It's mobile friendly.
We're basically trying to convey our values through our brand, and we were quite deliberate
about that. Even our logo and our font are different. You know, in terms of engaging
people through social media, I mean that's just a given, right?
Whether your leadership is on board or not makes a lot of difference. But we're very
much about reaching people where they are. We're on all the major social media platforms.
But I think it's more than that, right? It's the kind of thing where we were fortunate
enough to get ourselves into what I would describe as a really sweet spot. You know,
we've built a good brand. There's tremendous excitement.
I have to say, recruiting at CFPB is another duty as assigned for everybody. I mean, and
that's very, Director Cordray is very clear about that. You are expected to recruit top
talent to the bureau no matter where you work, no matter what your generation. That's part
of your job.
So that's tremendously liberating. You have people telling their stories in a meaningful
way and really trying to connect and get a hold of that enthusiasm that we recognize
in Generation Y. So there's a part of it about tools. There's a part of it about how you
tell your story.
Generation Y is not going to have any patience for a 25 page long vacancy announcement. I
mean, Generation Y barely has patience for five screens worth of Facebook. If you think
about a platform like Twitter, if it didn't happen in the last 14 minutes, forget it.
You know? It's gone.
So, like I'll just tell you. From us, we're trying to turn, the jobs
page, into something that essentially kind of pushes USAJOBS to the background a little
bit. Just so that we can tell our story in a way and engage people, so that they have
a job seeking experience on our site. They'll certainly apply through USAJOBS.
But, again we're really trying to apply the same design principles we have for our major
products. Our student loan calculator. To the way we're approaching the recruiting application
process as well. And if you're not, then we might be taking your applicants.
I would echo all of that although I would broaden it to say that it's important to take
a segmented approach. It doesn't necessarily have to be all tuned to and aimed at the younger
generation. I think these are examples of things that work very well for Gen-Y.
But the idea with the recruiting in a best practice way is to understand and write down
on paper what's great about your job. We call this the value proposition. It's not just
how much you're paid or what the benefits are. It's the opportunities, it's the mission.
Put that on paper, and then actually tailor that to several different audiences.
It's all about the story that Dave is talking about. But you may have a different story
to tell to your Gen Y applicants than the story you want to tell to you Gen-X and your
Baby Boom applicants. When this works the best is when it resonates with the individual
and they say yeah, that place gets me. I can see myself there. That's where I want to be
and they value what I value.
It sounds like, you know, this might be schizophrenic and it would be impossible to have three or
four stories for the same organization that resonate with different audiences. But that's
actually not true.
I challenge you to think about it for your agency and I bet if you think about and highlight
different aspects of the work, different elements of the work, that you can come up with a compelling
story that works for each of the three or four generations that we're discussing today.
One thought to add with that. Think of it as a day in the life and think of it as a
how cast. Like David, I work for a financial regulator. It is exceptionally exciting to
be in this space now because of the crisis and what change and difference you can make.
So featuring individuals then making that part of your onboarding process. Letting not
just the new person kind of into the window, but your entire workforce.
Because what can happen, maybe it's only been at the places I've been, but maybe it's your
organization as well is people get stovepiped. They don't really think of their agency. What
do they think of? They think of their one sliver, their division. Maybe in the microcosm
of their division, and that's how they see their whole agency.
So sometimes it's just as important to do some inreach as it is to do some outreach.
Because if everyone, I spent 10 years as a recruiter, if everybody in your organization
was doing, a percentage of their job recruiting there would not be a lack of talent.
Because there isn't a lack of talent out there. There's just a lack of communication. So I
think those are the things you want to be thinking about.
Interestingly enough this next question kind of again piggy backs off of what you were
just talking about. Gen-Y seems to, according to this person, lives on Facebook and other
social media networks. They were wondering do Boomers need to learn how to Tweet or Facebook
to communicate with them?
I can add to that I know GSA has employed a professional program that is called Salesforce.
I haven't seen it here at OPM. Maybe it is and I just haven't seen it. So I'm wondering
if you can speak to how other organizations are kind of bringing the older generations
into the fold of the social media.
I'll kick it off, but I'm really curious to hear from the other panelists. I actually
think that this was more of a challenge years ago. I actually think that if you look at
Facebook, there's like 500 million people on Facebook now. My mom's on Facebook and
my brother is on Facebook. My mother in law is on Facebook.
So to the extent that people interact through sharing, it's the behavior that matters. It's
the sharing of information, sharing anecdotes about their life. Sharing cat videos. Whatever.
You know, that I think is the paradigm shift. Twitter's a little bit of a different beast.
I will say that.
You know, and they often get lumped together because they're the big three social media
tools. You know, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn or whatever. But so Twitter is a lot different.
Twitter is more like my own personal radio station in 140 characters.
So, if certainly your target demographic seems to be using Twitter a lot, it behooves you
to engage there and to learn it and do it well just like anything else. It's not that
different than, I imagine, when they started doing television and radio advertising a generation
ago. It's just a new technology.
But I do think it's becoming less of an issue as culture kind of just adapts to it. But
I want to hear from the others.
Last September we hosted, with GSA, we hosted a social media for government conference.
We had about 165 attendees and we had a variety of agencies who offered best practices. Dave
is 100 percent. People, agencies are doing things. They're moving forward. As a federal
employee, you want to be very cognizant of your social media policy.
Some of you are saying do we have a policy? You probably do. Check with your privacy officer,
he or she will be able to provide that to you. So that you're acting appropriately in
your role and you've segmented your accounts appropriately so that you know how you're
representing yourself. It's very, very critical to do that because, it goes back to the central
question of this, what is it you want to do with it?
People, I guess up until recently, what we learned at the social media conference was
that they were just doing it because others were doing it. Its was very domino-ish in
the government. Oh, you all have a Facebook page? We need one too. But they didn't ask
themselves a very thoughtful question of so what do you expect people to do other than
engage? Is there a next step?
Well, they've engaged. That is a step. Well, no. That's a metric, that isn't the step.
So I would argue that it's great to promote social media and utilization in your agency.
If you're doing that, encourage that it be a very well thought out process, a strategic
process, so that there's clarity as to what's that endgame as opposed to just doing it for
exercise. Because when it comes down to slashing budgets, making things go away, people are
going to ask for metrics and those metrics won't be there.
My view on this and it's my personal view and again, as you heard I'm not on Facebook,
I don't Twitter. I think one thing that's very interesting about this is that, in particular,
this is particularly true for government. Is that a lot of the social networking tools
are used for social purposes, not necessarily for work purposes. We need to be very careful
and clear about the boundaries there and what it's being used for.
When you think about, you know, should a leader Twitter or should an organization have a Facebook
page or Twitter. So, that's one clear line. Is this personal or is this really about the
mission or the business? Then the second clear line is, is this an outward facing perception
of our organization or agency? Versus is this something that we're using as a community?
There's no question in my mind that the outward facing, if you want to reach the different
generations we've just talked about. The channels and the tools and I think actually for both
Gen-Y and for Boomers, you know, having an online presence.
Not just a website presence, but a social media presence talking about what your agency
is and what you're trying to do and making that two way and interactive. In today's world
it is almost assumed and a must do.
Having said that, there are communications professionals and communicators who are very
good at coming up with creative ways and what that should look like. So I don't advocate
that every single leader or, and in particular every Boomer leader, should be Twittering
and blogging.
In fact, many clients will come to us and say what should our social media strategy
be? Like, we've got to get in on this. What should we be doing? They're just jumping in
and you know, putting junk out there that's not necessarily helpful.
My advice is often, actually this has to be authentic. Communication through social media
has to be authentic for it to work. So my advice is often if you've got Gen-Y members
of your organization and community, why not have them be the ones communicating?
Within some guidelines and constraints and of course that, it be professional. Why not
have them delivering some of these messages through social media. It works for them, it
makes them feel engaged, it connects with an audience in an authentic way.
So I don't think that Boomers need to learn how to Twitter just for the sake of learning
how to Twitter. I feel like there are ways for your organization to have a social media
presence that is professional and hits in the right places.
Then to the extent that you want individuals to be having an online presence, I think you
should have those who are comfortable there and authentic there be leading the way. That's
my own opinion.
This next question says what can Gen-Yers do to connect or engage with colleagues and
supervisors or management in different generations? Interestingly enough, what you just said very
much starts to speak to that. They go on to ask what are some methodologies and ways that
they can do this connection to help them be a little more accepted in reaching up, so
to speak.
So in thinking about answering that, maybe you can talk about what someone else is asking
in another question as to what mentoring models are available that they could look to, to
meet that need as well? Multi-part question there, sorry.
So yeah, that's a really big question.
Just take a little bite.
Yeah. So what I'll say, you know, especially with young government leaders, right? So we
basically, and this should be instructive to everybody. It's not just relevant to young
folks. But essentially this conversation is going to happen whether you're there or not,
is one thing that I would say.
Even if your agency decides that they don't really want to engage with Gen-Y, on their
terms, which is perfectly valid, by the way. Gen-Y is never the less going to seek itself
out and have this conversation. They're going to provide their own support.
The way I like to put it is that Gen-Y, if they don't see a good mentoring framework
and a way to interact with senior leadership in your agency, they're probably going to
assume that you've just forgotten to do it and that you'd really not mind if they did
it themselves. Because they're being helpful. They're going to help themselves and it will
be just fine. That's certainly how YGL got started.
So to the extent that senior leadership can try and make it a priority, and it doesn't
have to be a lot, even if they come and speak with these informal generational communities
across your agency once a year.
Every week, we get an email from Director Cordray. It's not addressed to any specific
person, but it helps us celebrate our accomplishments and bring us together as a community. It's
a nice touch. I'm sure he writes parts of it. I'm sure he doesn't write all of it, but
it almost doesn't matter, because he's taken the one step to engage with the workforce.
It matters a lot.
That's part one. Part two, in terms of mentoring, we looked around at YGL and decided we were
going to help solve that problem, because, of course, they maybe just hadn't gotten to
it. They were too busy.
We recently partnered with the Senior Executives Association to build a mentoring program for
ourselves, outside of work hours, to nevertheless meet that need, to bridge that gap.
Would it have been easier if agencies were doing this? Certainly. Is it not going to
happen because they won't? Not at all. It's just a calculation you need to make as to
how involved you want to be, because I think that Gen-Y is very likely to be entrepreneurial
about solving the problem if you won't.
I think I've got two last questions here. This one is, how should we fix the performance
management process, and what different things can be done from a review perspective? Anyone?
I'll jump in here because serving as a Chief Learning Officer, obviously, learning and
development is important to me. I think it's important to all of you as well. The performance
management challenge and learning and development should be linked, and often times they're
just simply not.
So one of the things that we're seeing, or at least I'm seeing with respect to performance
management and David and I were talking earlier in the room is that people get in these wild
conversations about competencies.
"We've got to have a great competency model. It's got to have 35 different competencies.
We're going to have the behaviors underneath it." Everybody celebrates it, particularly
the HR leadership. "We've got a competency model."
Are you betting the farm that people are actually executing performance against that competency
model? Are you? No probably not. I'm not either. What's happened is we've gotten wildly excited
about dialog that has not translated into action.
One place that it can translate into action is in learning and development. David touched
on some very good points. Some of these things don't take a lot of time, and sometimes they
don't take a lot of money.
But if you really want to move an organization forward with respect to performance management,
ask people to do certain things to help learn and grown. Then here's a crazy thing, track
whether or not they did it.
If they did do it, what do you do? Reward them. If they did not do those things that
they said they were going to do to learn and grow individually, you can have a longer conversation
about "how are we growing and learning as an organization?"
As learning and development go forward, it should go forward in lock and step with performance
management. When you delink them what you're doing is you're asking people to do A, B,
and C with a very finite set of skills in a world that's not finite and who's skill
set is changing, particularly in areas where you have a lot of technology. So to the extent
that you can link the two of them and be explicit about that link, I think you're going to find
some success.
Just a few points to add. First of all, I agree completely that in particular how this
conversation would relate to performance management is that you do get what you measure. You need
to incentivize and encourage people to spend time on the things that you value.
If mentoring others, developing others, is something that you'd like to see more of and
you'd like to value, then it should show up in the way you evaluate people and reward
them, both in the performance management system, but then also in how that system is implemented
and used.
This question is not at all unique to government. I'd say with my clients across sectors -- non-profit,
private and public sector -- the number one pain point when it comes to human capital
is performance management and how it's implemented. It's because the processes and the systems
can be quite complicated and organizations are doing them once, maybe twice a year.
If they're doing it right and I'm getting feedback from many individuals on each individual,
the whole organization is grinding to a halt for a month or two to talk to one another
about it. I know this is where McKinsey is performance management on steroids. I don't
know if you guys know anything about it, but we are big believers in this and do this.
It is seriously a massive investment of productive time.
Then you look at many companies and organizations are questioning it. What do we actually get
out of that investment of our people's time? Do we actually differentiate people's performance?
Do we actually tie any consequences to it? Did anybody actually talk to someone and have
a real conversation about what it means, how to improve, and what learning and development
would come out of it?
We're seeing some interesting trend in this space toward actually trying some vastly more
simplified methods that focus more on the feedback, dialogue and development plans,
and less on the process and the paperwork.
There's one Australian company called [indecipherable 112:06] , it's an IT company, who has just
totally decided that for two years, they're going to scrap their performance management
system. Instead, they're going to have monthly dialogues between supervisors and employees.
They suggest a topic each month, as an example.
It's a pain point for everyone. Having said that, to emphasize the people side of things,
which is really what we're all about in today's discussion, we've got to integrate that squarely
into the performance management system so that people see it, and then, in the actual
doing of the review, emphasis on having development conversations, having great live conversations,
giving coaching and feedback in both directions.
Just to briefly build off that, I think feedback for your Gen-Y is going to be the very most
important part. I know that there have been a lot of struggles with performance management
in government, but I'm going to pose something to you, which is this.
Gen-Y is the most educated generation in history. That's got goods and bad attached to it. One
thing they're not unfamiliar with is being graded and taking tests. Gen-Y is going to
value structured evaluations and assessment tools, because that's all they've known, SATs,
The part that Gen-Y is going to fall down on is, if you provide them their grade and
score with no feedback, because that's the part that they really desperately need. How
am I doing? Checking in constantly. How is this working? They want it in real-time. They
don't want to wait six months and then be told in January they did a poor job.
If you can build that into your structures and get your managers to a place where they
do see themselves as part teacher, they're going to be much more adept at managing Gen-Y,
who is going to be a perpetual student.
Great answers. I have saved my favorite for last. Let's talk about telework, mobile work.
What have we noticed are the impacts of telework, hoteling, et cetera, on the productivity rates
of our workforce? Where is collaboration needed to work on this or refine it better? What
literature is out there that can help people understand the impacts of that?
I'll get us going on it. We'd love contributions from others. I said in my remarks that this
telework can be taken a little too far. It's important to actually think about the type
of work for which it works best, and then also, if you are moving more towards a telework
environment, what ground rules, norms, can you put into place so that people get the
most out of it and find a productive and rewarding way to work together?
The places where telework is most useful in terms of types of work are, of course, in
individual contributor roles. It's very, very useful and helpful. Also, in roles when employees
are on the phone a lot, through either citizen or customer service. Sometimes those can be
done very, very well from their living room, as opposed to a cube farm. There's really,
in many cases, no reason.
In fact, the productivity metrics on those, you're often measuring length of time on the
phone or how long a call is or the customer's or client's service rating. Those can be seamlessly
monitored, regardless of where those people are located. Those are some examples of things
that are pretty easy. In fact, many times, the employees are really excited about it.
There sometimes can be a jump in productivity.
Where things can be tough is where you have very collaborative work environments, geographically
distributive environments. This is particularly challenging for global organizations and global
companies. I know we struggle a lot with this, where we have work teams where someone is
in Asia and someone is in Europe. You've got people doing conference calls from midnight
to 3AM, and it's like, "Whoa." Where's the lifestyle balance in that? That's not necessarily
a good tradeoff.
The same thing is true with the East Coast/West Coast time divide. You get some really crazy
stuff happening when people go to all conference call and telework.
Another real issue about this, and Jeff and I were talking about it just prior to coming
onto the panel, is the multitasking. If people are just on a conference call, and they've
got it in the background, and they're typing on another thing, and they're surfing the
web, it's like, are you actually getting people's focus on the work?
You run into a situation where sometimes individuals who have never actually interacted personally
are working together in work groups. Tele-work in terms of teams works much better with teams
who know each other and have made a personal bond first.
Actually, you talked about the boot camp phenomenon for your developers. So that's where you can
build this. They come for three months which is a pretty significant amount of time to
work together to set some values and norms and understand what they're trying to do together.
Then, you release those people to the wind. Then, "Hey Dave." We're on the phone and I
know Dave. I can pull up his picture and it's almost like he's right there. Do I care if
he's on a beach in Hawaii while we're talking? Well no, not necessarily.
That's because we built the trust up front. We're very clear on what we're trying to accomplish,
and what our roles are, and our contributions are.
Those are just some of the places where telework can actually break down if you don't build
in some of these things to be on. So build in some face time for a team to actually norm
and form before they're scattered to the wind.
Build in ground rules, if you will, about expectations for one another. When we're on
a conference call or on a video conference, no multitasking. There's no reason that teams
can't set norms like this for one another so they get the most out of it.
Then, very importantly, measure your deadlines and your output. Not just your activities,
but your output, whether you're actually getting what you want out of your work together. Measure
how it's working for people.
We use something at McKinsey called a team barometer, which is just a very quick online
survey for all the members of a team, weekly. They all just click, "This is working for
me. This isn't," et cetera. "Here are some things we could do." It gives the Team Lead
a view every week as a pulse of how people are doing, because the other risk with telework
is that you can lose some people who will just disengage and tune out for weeks at a
time. You never really realize that you could have pulled them back in earlier.
Tools like that can really help teams, particularly in distributed environments.
Regina: That's great. There's so much that we could go on to talk about here, but we
have reached the end of our time for today. At this point, I'd like to say thank you very
much for coming. If you haven't turned in our survey, Tracy will be there to catch you
as you leave the door, and make sure you leave it with her.
Keep an eye out for announcements for our upcoming academies and flash mentoring activities
that the CHCO Council sponsors. Thank you, again, all of you, for attending here in our
live audience, and for all of you out in the virtual web on the webcast. Thanks so much,
and take care.