In this edition, we’ll explore perspectives from two generations regarding the development of people. We asked Generation X tax supervisor David Cumberland, born in 1971, and Millennial staff accountant Colleen Bankuty, born in 1986, from Sarasota, Fla.-based Kerkering Barberio to answer the following question:
“What more can Baby Boomers do to develop younger team members?”
CUMBERLAND’S GEN X VIEWPOINT
First, Baby Boomers can acknowledge the differences between generations and individuals. Working to identify the particular areas where individuals don’t see eye to eye can help ensure that the development approach is suited to the people involved, regardless of generation. By having an understanding of younger generations’ viewpoints, perceptions, and work styles, Baby Boomers can better adapt their approaches to developing younger generations. This leads to a more positive impact on the firm and the profession.
Communication is also key. An understanding of how each younger generation communicates and prefers to be communicated with can help Baby Boomers guide and develop them. Younger generations are expecting more frequent, informal performance reviews. They’re more likely to ask “Why?” and Baby Boomers should be ready to respond to these inquiries.
Baby Boomers also have to accept that the days of working for a single company upon entering the workforce until retirement are long past. Younger generations are more focused on how an organization supports their personal and career growth goals and how it impacts the community.
Baby Boomers can also develop younger individuals by assisting them in identifying and clarifying their professional and personal goals. Providing support, encouragement, and time to pursue these goals will help to keep younger generations engaged at their firms longer and more fruitfully.
BANKUTY’S MILLENNIAL VIEWPOINT
Sometimes we feel lost by our lack of experience. Many times, we depend on those with greater experience and knowledge to guide us to the answers we seek. The Baby Boomer generation, with its 30-plus years of experience, is a priceless resource for these developing professionals. The fast-paced environment of public accounting requires various avenues for the delivery of this valuable knowledge and experience. Many Baby Boomers know this and make a variety of channels available to younger team members from which to learn.
One such channel is direct interaction. This tends to be the most useful for the exchange of pertinent information. For instance, a young professional is working on a project, encounters a challenge, and needs assistance. Who better to ask than those with the most experience? An open-door policy lends itself to this possibility, offering the most direct and immediate exchange of questions and answers.
Another way Baby Boomers can share their knowledge is through team and company meetings. Brainstorming sessions and discussions led by those with the most experience allow for free-flowing exchanges of questions and ideas.
A mentor is a great resource to round out a young person’s professional development. Baby Boomer mentors can offer guidance for the younger team member’s career, work-life balance, networking opportunities, and day-to-day questions.
All of these avenues will add up to the perfect formula for Baby Boomers to lead the Millennial generation on the road to success.
This column is facilitated and edited by Brianna Marth, the Millennial sales and marketing coordinator, and Jennifer Wilson, the Baby Boomer co-founder and partner of ConvergenceCoaching LLC, a leadership and marketing coaching and training and development firm that specializes in helping leaders achieve success. To have your firm’s generational viewpoints considered for a future Accounting Tomorrow column, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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