Welcome to the Monthly Work Remix, where I answer career and workplace questions submitted by professionals like you. Every month, I adapt episodes of my podcast, The Work Remix, into a reader-friendly advice column.
Click the links below to stream the individual episodes and hear my answers in greater detail.
Company Leader Asks about the Best Way to Host Training for All Generations
Hi Lindsey, I recently attended one of your webinars and found it to be insightful about today’s workplace. Thanks for sharing your work with all of us. My question has to do with multigenerational workplace training. While my company offers options for our employees and their unique generations, I still find it difficult to engage everyone. When it comes to training employees, what do you think is the recommended method for delivery with the multigenerational workforce?
This great question was submitted before the current COVID-19 pandemic, but with so many people at home, companies can provide additional training to employees. The current environment has radically changed the landscape of work, and therefore training and development, which means this question is more relevant than ever.
To get to my answer, let’s first talk about marketing. With the rise of the Internet, marketers have embraced what they call a multichannel or omni-channel approach to selling us products. Now that COVID-19 has closed most retail establishments, this tactic is becoming more commonplace.
Let me give you an example. If I want to watch an event like the Oscars (my personal favorite event of the year), I have a ton of options. I can watch the show live on TV in real-time. I can also scroll through the photos of the red carpet fashion on Instagram. I can watch clips of the winners’ speeches on YouTube weeks after the event. I can read snarky commentary on Twitter before, during and after the show. If I’m really lucky, I might even score a ticket to attend in person someday. Some of my choices of how to watch the Oscars might have to do with my being a Gen Xer. Some might have to do with my mood at the moment.
This is multichannel marketing.
Multichannel marketing applies to company training too. You asked for my recommended method for delivering training for the multigenerational workforce. My answer – as many “channels” as possible.
You shouldn’t provide video streaming and assessments for Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Zs while conducting in-person, instructor-led training Boomers and older employees. Instead, make all options available to all employees and let them choose which method they prefer.
I believe it’s a mistake to make assumptions about how people want to be trained based on their age. Sure, sometimes, Boomers prefer in-person workshops, but so do many Gen Zers. Millennials may want to watch webinars and take online assessments, but plenty of Gen Xers and Traditionalists and Boomers do too.
This sounds like a lot of work. But it doesn’t have to be! You can create content in one format and then repurpose it in many others. I wrote a blog post that will take you through the C.O.P.E strategy (Create once, publish everywhere).
Remember, even though live training has been put on hold due to COVID-19, there are dozens of ways to distribute information and learning online. A little digital creativity will go a long way to making sure all employees have access to the training they want and need.
Overwhelmed Gen Zer Wonders How to Find a Job That Fits Her Passions… During COVID-19
I’m a college senior desperately searching for a job during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m trying to find a job that lines up with my talents and passions, but I find myself applying for random positions. The reason is that people keep telling me I should be grateful to find any job, let alone a that job I’m a good fit for. Any tips for college graduates landing jobs that are the right fit?
It must be so difficult graduating from college in 2020. I know a global pandemic is not what you had in mind entering your last semester. Please know that I empathize with you, and I hope you pick up some useful tips here.
I recently hosted a conversation with Chelsea Williams of College Code, during which she talked about this very question. While we covered a range of topics in that discussion, I want to focus on what you said about talents and passions. Finding a job that fulfills you will be worth it in the long run.
First, get clear on what your strengths are. Where do your interests lie? This can be difficult to sift through amidst so much uncertainty, so tools and evaluations are super helpful. One example is the Strengths Profile from Cappfinity, a company with which I have partnered on research. Assessments like this one will give you an objective view of your inclinations and set you on the path toward a fulfilling job. Identify your values, your personality and what pathways might be great for you.
Next, you’ll want to find other professionals to boost your strengths and core passions. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people working in industries you’re interested in. A lot of professionals want to help young people right now. They absolutely want to give back and support college students, recent graduates and former interns.
Now might be the perfect time to reach out since a lot of people are less busy and want to be of service. Executives and business owners understand what’s happening in the job market and there’s a lot of empathy ready to be tapped. You’re not bothering people. Many of us really want to mentor right now.
Finally, I want to end with practical advice for landing the position you want. Let’s say you’re interested in being a social media coordinator and you feel passionate about communicating online through text, images and video. You’ll want to find a dozen different jobs that focus on social media and not limit yourself to one particular job title or industry. Go through job postings that appeal to you and pick out common buzzwords and required skills that these particular roles are looking for. Then work backward and apply those terms to your resume. “Speaking the industry language” is a great way to show recruiters that you’re prepared for the position.
I wish you luck in your job search!
Stuck-at-Home Millennial Needs Advice on Balancing Self-Care and Productivity
Before COVID-19, I heard people talk a lot about self-care and work/life balance. It was never something I paid too much attention to, but now everything from work, recreation and social life has changed. I’m stressed! How do I embrace self-care while still getting work done during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I’m so glad you’ve asked this question. It’s interesting how self-care and productivity complement each other. By spending time away from your desk, you actually become more effective at your job. (Within reason, of course!)
I recently chatted with Erica Keswin on the topic of self-care. She’s the author of Bringing Your Human to Work, a book that shares 10 ways to design a workplace that’s “good for people, great for business and just might change the world.” The question now becomes: how can we “bring our human to work” when we’re all working from home?
The first step is to honor your relationship with yourself. As the saying goes, we all need to put our own oxygen mask on first before we can take care of everybody else. The same principle applies to your business responsibilities. When you take care of yourself, you show up with more energy, empathy and mental quickness for your team.
Remember that self-care takes a lot of forms. It doesn’t just look like yoga and meditation (although those are great practices). Unfortunately, there are so many articles, blog posts and Instagram challenges about self-care that it’s hard to know what counts and what doesn’t. But self-care isn’t about “right” and “wrong.”
For example, simply keeping up a life-giving routine is an easy way to practice self-care. Erica says that rituals connect us back to our old lives pre-pandemic and remind us of what’s important in life. You might decide to honor relationships by taking time every day to call a family member and check in. You might set aside time to go for a walk or take a scheduled break from homeschooling your kids. It’s different for every person.
When it comes to self-care and work deadlines, it’s not an either/or situation. Priorities are still priorities. You can self-care and achieve business goals. It just takes awareness and practice to balance the two. I know this is a stressful time for many people, but a few simple relaxing activities sprinkled throughout the day can make an enormous impact on your mental health.
Baby Boomer Leader Needs Tips on Managing During Uncertain Times
Switching to virtual management has not been easy. Sure, it took a few tries to get everyone’s mics working for our Zoom calls. That’s not a big issue. The bigger problem seems to be that amid massive change, employees have lost motivation. How can I keep my team on task during such uncertain times?
Everyone seems to be dealing with the crisis in their own ways. Some people throw themselves into work, while others really need to take a step back to process. Neither of these are wrong, but I know it can be hard as a manager dealing with so much emotional complexity.
When uncertainty strikes, certainty is always a good motivator. I recommend being very goal and outcome oriented. You’ll want to clearly determine and communicate what success looks like for you individually and for your team.
Once you set clear outcomes, create a schedule. What do we want to accomplish this month? What do we want to accomplish this week? What do we want to accomplish today? Breaking down tasks this way makes large projects seem much less daunting.
Focusing on outcomes also gives people space and the flexibility to adapt to the “new normal,” as some have called it. If employees complete outcomes on time, then you might tell them it’s fine if they take two hours in the afternoon to spend with their kids. It’s fine that they adopt an irregular schedule to take care of an ill loved one. As long as everybody’s aligned around a shared destination, you can allow people to take different paths.
At its root, managing through uncertain times requires deep trust between manager and employee. Depending on your relationship with your employees before the shutdown, this might be a great opportunity to “reintroduce” yourself to the team. Different leaders are better in different environments.
It might also be time to try out a new leadership style. You could start sending out a weekly inspirational video. You could start fielding more suggestions from your staff. But whatever leadership style you choose, remember that people are looking for a leader that they believe cares about them and is going to position them for success during this crisis and beyond it.
Millennials are now the largest generation in the American workforce. Gen Zs are following right behind. How are you prepared to lead them? With current shifts to remote work and company emphasis on employee flexibility and autonomy, my new course, How to Manage Millennials and Gen Zs in the Workplace, will help you grow your leadership skills and create lasting strategies to empower your Millennials and Gen Zs. Join the waitlist today and be the first to know when this course goes live.