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What should HR leaders be talking about in 2015?  With an aging Baby Boomer Generation, an up and coming Millennial Generation and Generation X stuck in the middle, the issues surrounding how best to move forward with this mix is of course a vital one.  Each of these generations are marked by certain things that represent who they are in the work place.  Some are rising above the expectations, while others are muddling about doing exactly as every study has suggested they would do.  The key for HR in 2015 is to figure out exactly how to work within, or create, a construct that is adaptable to all of the unique needs.  Can this be done?  Only time will tell…but the most creative, strategic minds in Human Resources will be able to map out a plan for how this can happen.

The Baby Boomer Generation is on the brink of retirement, if not already retired.  This is a large generation of team players, of loyal employees but the knock on them as technology has seeped into every corner of the global marketplace is that they don’t adapt so well.

Generation X have been identified as an adaptable group, with the ability to collaborate and problem solve to come up with solutions to issues.  The issue of job flexibility really started here, as technology presented them with options like working from home that allowed them to still have flexibility to be at children’s activities, etc.  The Baby Boomer Generation unfortunately did not have this type of flexibility, as most worked in brick and mortar companies.

Generation Y, or Millennials, are of course the most tech savvy generation, having grown up with technology as a cornerstone of their existence.  They are, unlike Baby Boomers, not viewed as team players or hard workers, but as most studies have shown, when something excites them, they are all in!

So how does the Human Resource department handle this blending?  Simply put…it is going to take a lot of creativity and coaching along all lines. Undoubtedly, companies have already run into issues involving generational differences, and as we move closer to retirement for Boomers, we need to recognize that they are still a vital part of the work force as the Millennial Generation continues to step up to the plate. HR professionals need to also figure out how to glean the wisdom that the Baby Boomers bring to the table before it disappears.  In the middle are the X’ers, who will also have to adapt their style in the coming years, just as the Millennials will have to adapt to a work force that expects certain things that may not be as comfortable for them. 

Overall, it’s quite the headache for HR professionals in 2015 and beyond!  It’s not an insurmountable task…but it will take time, energy and some strategic thinking to make these generations into a viable work force that feeds off each others gifts, beliefs and understanding of how tasks are best accomplished. 

Here are a few more thoughts from human resource and business leaders about what HR needs to be thinking about in 2015.

“More and more workers over 40 are faced with two choices – adapt to new technology or become obsolete. He would encourage HR professionals and business admins to help their employees think outside the box and learn new skills in the coming year — or be replaced.”

Richard Lieberman, Attorney and Author

“In 2015 HR leaders should be focusing of bringing training into the immediate work environment. Planning a first time business trip to China? What can I read or watch online just before I go. Have a difficult employee or coworker? What can I read or watch online that can help? Who can coach me? Training and development should be “just-in-time” and directed at a specific “felt need.” The old 1-3 day seminar is dead.”

– Scott C. Hammond, PhD, Professor of Management, Utah State University

“HR should focus on this motto during 2015: right person, right seat. So many people focus too much on just filling the position and not enough on what the position is and who would fill it perfectly. It’s important that hiring managers focus on the job they are hiring for. They need to dig into the candidate’s behavior and ask interview questions to determine if they’d fit into the company’s culture. Having a predetermined set of questions will reduce their hiring time and help them find the right person for the position.”

– Natalie Pike, Inbound Marketing Coordinator, Hireology

“The aging workforce and the retirement of baby boomers will create knowledge drain and leadership gaps in many organizations and industries. Human Resources leaders must be preparing their organization to capture that knowledge and transfer it before boomers retire. Training employees to move from doers to leaders is equally important. It takes a different skill set to lead a team than to contribute as an individual.”

– Brian Formato, Principal, Groove Management, LLC

“HR leaders need to start focusing on the importance of talent acquisition, specifically how to better attract quality candidates. The emergence of social recruiting, combined with a continued reliance on job boards and applicant tracking systems, masks the inherent flaws of a volume-based approach.”

– Kyle Gantos, Founder & CEO, MeetYourGig.com

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