By Jennifer Hetrick
How do you manage a multigenerational staff?
Sealstrip Corp. President Heather Chandler had plenty of advice for the 22 women attending Friday’s Women EXCEL breakfast meeting, hosted by the YWCA Tri-County Area at Sealstrip Corp., Douglass Township, Montgomery County.
“The goal of Women EXCEL is to support professional development and networking of women,” explained Stacey Woodland, YWCA Tri-County Area’s executive director.
The YWCA Tri-County Area hosts its monthly breakfasts for Women EXCEL members from September to June each year, and coordinates brainstormed topics and speakers through its advisory committee.
The topic, “Managing a Multi-Generational Staff and Developing an Award Winning Workplace Culture,” was something Chandler knows well. On top of the company receiving numerous awards and honors in recent years, Chandler’s contribution at a state level involved her serving as a member of former Gov. Tom Corbett’s Advisory Council for Manufacturing.
Chandler spoke on categories of age groups by recent generations: the matures, baby boomers, Generation X, the millennials and the outliers who don’t fit within these generalizations for one reason or another.
One example of the differences Chandler discussed was how the matures tend to be loyal to the company, baby boomers loyal to their jobs, Generation X workers loyal to their leaders and millennials loyal to their peers.
Other variations of perspectives and behaviors Chandler noted were in how respect is viewed. Matures usually feel respect ought to be given to elders by default, and millennials often feel a person needs to earn their respect.
Matures view management as figures of authority, baby boomers view them as leaders, Generation X finds them to be a nuisance and wants to work independently, and millennials feel left behind without the encouragement and support of mentors, Chandler said.
“Title changes are great for millennials,” Chandler said. “It makes them feel like they’re progressing in their careers.”
Chandler had some advice for millennials, who tend to want to rush out at the end of the day without helping to clean up. That leaves that day-end labor to the more responsible-feeling generations.
The solution is to pair up people to complement their different skill sets and help them understand each other’s perspectives and ethics.
Following the presentation by Chandler, those in attendance took a tour of the facility to see its production, engineering, shipping and receiving, customer service, administrative and conference room spaces.
Sealstrip specializes in resealable packaging for the food industry and a variety of other clients inside and outside the United States.