Boomers vs Zoomers

We have written in the past about the challenges of leading multi-generational teams and the potential for a clash of expectations between “Baby Boomers” and “Gen X” and Millennials. It seems to be a particular issue for sectors that demand several years of technical and professional qualifications and experience before you start on the management ladder. As a result, the older generation dominate the management suite in a way that doesn’t happen, say, in media or IT. Now, as the first of the Gen Z cohort (born 1996-2010) enter the workforce with their own expectations of how their careers should go, an energy publication has produced some ideas for leaders that match our own views on leadership and driving high performance in complex businesses.

An article on managing Gen Z in the Journal of Petroleum Technology  draws upon three academic papers. It recommends companies should, among other things:

  • Expand on leadership, multiculturalism and “soft skills” offerings in training
  • Use cross-postings as a learning and development tool – increase change and mobility
  • Bring in mentoring and coaching
  • Include videos and online learning – even without the Pandemic, this is a Zoom generation

And while this article is specific to the energy sector, its findings apply to any business that is based on science and engineering and that’s going through significant change. If you read our last blog – “The Tale of Two Careers” – you may recognise some of the issues touched on here – in particular the benefit of early career mobility and training that goes beyond the purely technical and covers the soft skills – better described as people skills or behavioural skills.

And that’s the topic for our next blog – why soft skills is a misnomer….