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High Performance: The Connected Generation

October 14, 2020 -  By
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(Image: appleuzr / DigitalVision Vectors / Getty Images)

A key part of solving the labor crisis is for leaders to better understand the next generation. Many owners and senior managers in our industry are Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964 (56 to 74 years old). I know this generation well since I’m a member of it. While there are exceptions, Boomers generally struggle to understand and appreciate the differences between their generation and the next generation. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone my age or older complain loudly about Millennials or GenZers. In fact, it is rare to find a Boomer who truly appreciates the next generation’s differences. In this series, I have been addressing a specific aspect of these differences. This post is all about connectedness.

I think we can all agree that each generation is much more connected than previous generations. As a whole, they have been afforded opportunities to travel the world and participate in activities that were rare for most Boomers. While my friends and I played Capture the Flag in the neighborhood, the next generation is exploring the world and participating in travel leagues. This difference isn’t necessarily a bad thing and it’s certainly not the fault of the next generation, but it is different.

In addition, technology and social media platforms have made the world a much smaller place. As a result, the next generation’s networks are substantially larger and intertwined. Their daily lives overlap between family, friends and work in a way that my generation never thought would be possible or acceptable. My generation lived a compartmentalized life where everything had its place and time.

One of the more controversial ways connectedness shows up at work is with parental involvement. According to Gallup, 75 percent of Millennials involve family and friends in career/job decisions. While Boomers may struggle to understand this, employers who embrace this reality and actually facilitate it are miles ahead of their competitors.

Some of the Boomers might be wondering if the effort to understand the next generation is worth it. It’s a great question. According to Gallup, companies in the top quartile of employee engagement experience 21 percent higher profitability, 70 percent fewer safety incidents, 24 to 59 percent lower turnover depending on annual turnover rate, and 41 percent less absenteeism. You may decide if these results would be helpful or not in your business.

Now go forth.

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About the Author:

Harwood is a Managing Partner with GrowTheBench and Pro-Motion Consulting. Reach him at He is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager, NALP Trailblazer, NALP Consultant, and Certified Snow Professional. Harwood holds a BA in Marketing and Executive MBA with Honors from Michigan State University.

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