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Top Story:  Crossroads Bolsters Understanding of Generational Diversity

06/20/2014

By Chrisalyn Santos
Public Affairs Operations

Traditionalists. Baby Boomers. Generation X. Generation Y/Millennials.

Generational Crossroads logo

All of these generations make up the OCC’s dynamic workforce. Each group is said to have its unique view of the workplace, its preferred way of communicating, and its own needs when it comes to training and professional development. And, most importantly, they all have much to learn from each other.

Now the OCC has an employee network group that will harness the views of all of these generations to bolster the overall strength and effectiveness of the agency.

The next Generational Crossroads event is set for Tuesday, July 29, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. (eastern) in HQ 1W-220. The guest speaker, Sean Clayton from the National Archives, will discuss how to manage different generations in the workplace. Generational Crossroads Executive Sponsor Larry Hattix will open the meeting and join in for a brief presentation about the employee network group. The presentation and meeting will be available by videoconference (Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, and New York) or teleconference. To call in, dial (888) 858-2144; code 4519333.

The Generational Crossroads group was launched at the OCC in January and held its first meeting in March of this year. The group is focused on enhancing generational awareness at the OCC by providing support to the agency’s multi-generational workforce. The founding members of the group are Organizational Development Specialist Jenna Boyt, Credit Risk Analyst Marcey Hoelting, Program Analyst Jamie Souza, and NBE Steven Westenskow. Senior Deputy Comptroller for Enterprise Governance and Ombudsman Larry Hattix is the group’s executive sponsor.

Generational Crossroads originated from the idea of starting a network group for new employees in Generations X and Y. Boyt says the idea evolved, and the group’s founding members decided to broaden the group’s focus to include the professional needs of all generations in the OCC’s workforce.

Hattix is enthusiastic about being the executive sponsor for the Generational Crossroads, and he is confident that the group will deliver value to OCC employees and the agency. “I’m very interested in generational awareness, and the mission of Generational Crossroads makes sense to me in terms of leveraging diversity across generations to help the OCC become a stronger agency. That’s pretty exciting,” he says.

Boyt says Generational Crossroads can help the OCC with its strategic planning – especially in terms of the Aligning and Leading initiatives. For instance, one of the Aligning goals is to enhance the agency’s ability to retain critical skills within the workforce. That will require a fluid transfer of knowledge between the more experienced staff to the newest members and vice versa. Generational Crossroads can play a role in helping the OCC enhance communication among the members of its multigenerational workforce, according to Hattix. “You have OCC folks with 20 or 30 years of technical expertise and others with less tenure with valuable skill sets and a unique perspective. So there’s this idea of transferring knowledge both ways,” Hattix says.

At the time the group launched, more than 100 OCC employees expressed an interest in joining. Now 120 employees are part of Generational Crossroads. During its first meeting in March, the group encouraged OCC employees to share their ideas of what kind of activities and programs they want the group to focus on. Going forward, Boyt expects Generational Crossroads to hold training sessions, brown-bag lunches, and other activities aimed at bringing awareness of OCC’s generational diversity.

The OCC’s Diverse Generations

Traditionalists
(1922 - 1944)

  • Have strong faith in institutions and leadership
  • Value hard work and rule-based decision-making
  • Tend to be loyal. Many in this generation have stayed with a single employer for their entire careers
  • Are not likely to initiate conflict in their workplace

Baby Boomers
(1945 - 1964)

  • Respectful of differences and well educated by traditional methods
  • Individuals who have learned to adapt to technology
  • Work for them defines value
  • Need to assert their individuality, but view teams as effective

Gen X
(1965 - 1979)

  • Open minded and sensitive to diversity
  • Educated by traditional methods; supplemented by the Internet
  • Comfortable with the Internet; prefer to embrace the Internet and technology to help control their lives
  • They will work with others in a team and are also comfortable working alone

Gen Y/ Millennials
(1980 - present)

  • Are referred to as information fluent and connected 24/7
  • Engage in multiple activities simultaneously
  • Thrive on flexibility at work and require the opportunity to pursue new challenges
  • Seek ongoing opportunities to grow and learn new things; loyalty must go both ways

Editor’s Note: These broad descriptions of the generations were obtained from the Corporate Executive Board.

Last Updated: 08/29/2014