Generational Diversity Isn’t Getting Old: MCCA Conducts In-Person, Distance Learning Forums in Septemberr
Generational diversity is present in most offices around the world (those garage-housed Internet startups not withstanding), but is often overlooked when it comes to addressing diversity practices. The current workforce is broken down into four groups: traditionalists, baby boomers, generation X, and generation Y (sometimes referred to as the Millenial generation). MCCA addressed the issues surrounding generational diversity, with an emphasis on younger members of the workforce, at two September events.
The first was an in-person event. The Mid-Atlantic Region Generational Diversity Dialogue was held on Thursday, September 18, 2008, at CIGNA Corporation’s downtown Philadelphia, Pa., office. The interactive dialogue and panel discussion was led by Dr. Arin Reeves of the Athens Group. The presentation, entitled “From WWII to X and Y: Leading 4 Generations in 1 Direction,” was well-attended and produced an affable, yet candid, discussion about generational differences.
Dr. Reeves emphasized that, whereas lawyers of previous generations may adopt a “sink or swim” approach to professional success with partnership as the ultimate goal, members of generation Y prefer structure and a healthy work/life balance. Other differences are seen in methods of communication. The youngest members at an office prefer to communicate via text message and email, and don’t place as much emphasis on face time.
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The presentation, panel discussion, and audience participation showed that generational diversity is something that everyone experiences. The new ideas and perspectives of the youngest workers will increase the flow of ideas in the workplace. The presentation also showed how candid discussion can clear up generational barriers.
In addition to the in-person event, MCCA’s first-ever web seminar, entitled “From Recruitment to Retention—Attracting and Connecting to Today’s Associates,” was held on September 24, 2008. The combined telephone/web interactive session explored the ways in which Millennial employees interact in, and contribute to, the legal workplace. Judith Finer Freedman, Founder of the Balanced Worker Project, served as the presenter for the webinar. According to her, the secret to embracing the Millennial generation is communicating that the firm’s leaders value their input, new ideas, and unique work style. Participant feedback ranged from “excellent” to “enlightening,” indicating that they particularly valued the practical tips and techniques she offered that they could apply immediately to the workplace.
Please join us when we continue this important conversation in January of 2009 with another webinar. We will be asking participants to send in specific issues that firms and organizations are experiencing with new associates. This follow-up session will tackle these issues in a discussion format, so that those who participate will walk away with potential solutions. More information on registration will be sent out via an MCCA e-mail blast in December. Until then, leverage the Millennial generation’s strengths, and turn their challenges into positive energy for your firm or organization!
For more information about upcoming Diversity Dialogues or other MCCA events, please visit www.mcca.com DB
From the November/December 2008 issue of Diversity & The Bar®