What Talent Crunch?
In a recent article (November 8, 2010) on www.HREonline.com Dr. Peter Cappelli argues that “there is less than meets the eye when it comes to generational differences and that we are obsessing about non-existent differences in the interest between young people while ignoring the interests of the huge and growing older workforce”.
As a principal at Deloitte LLP (prior to my retirement last year), I served as leader of one of the pioneering initiatives on generational differences, and often heard the arguments Dr. Cappelli presents in his article. Based on nearly a decade of leading research in this area, I arrived at four major conclusions regarding generational differences: 1) All generations have much in common; we all share what I call the 3 R”s and 3 C’s; we want to be respected, recognized, remembered, coached, consulted and connected. 2) There are seven irreversible realities that affect all in the workplace (gen y more than others…at least they are the most vocal), and virtually ensure that the “good old days” can’t come back; these include changes in family structure that lead to need for flexibility, distrust of business, and the flat world of globalization; 3) the perception by many that the impact of these realities creates generational differences provides a “hall pass” to talk about workplace issues all of us face such as the impact of technology on how humans work/learn, and how to most effectively develop/retain talent; and 4) given the first three conclusions, all of us regardless of generation need a changed mindset. (More about this in a future post).
And this brings me to the point on which I strongly support Dr. Cappelli. We don’t really have the degree of a talent crunch that we think we have. How so? because we have a huge untapped resource of proven talent and experience sitting before us that knows how to work, namely older workers. We generally refuse to imaginatively utilize this resource . We seem more willing to complain about gen y, study differences (real and apparent) and fret about what they don’t know .
enough for now …more to come on these issues.