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This is not your father's oldsmobile

None of us can run a restaurant alone so we surround ourselves with capable people. In nearly every workplace there are members of the WWII Generation, BabyBoomers, Generation X'ers and Millennials (Gen Y). Each generation grew up in a unique time period that contributes to their communication style, work style, personal style, and even basic beliefs about the world.

When the generations don't understand each other's styles — have no idea about "where they're coming from" — a lot of frustration and bewilderment can result. Vocabularies are stretched, work ethics collide, and productivity can plummet. But with a little knowledge it's easy to see that even though generations are not created equal, they can work together and even benefit from each other's experiences and uniqueness.

An understanding of generational differences will affect the way you:

  • Interview
  • Hire
  • Train
  • Motivate
  • Reward
  • Communicate
  • Evaluate
  • Direct
  • Discipline

This applies to your employees, but it effects other managers, owners and even guests!

Claire Raines, a leading expert on generations at work, has a fantastic perspective on the four generations. On April 10, 2002, she took part in a National Restaurant Association on-line moderated discussion about how to effectively manage employees from different generations. I encourage you to read the transcript of the session. Claire has many insightful things to say about these issues, our employees and our industry.

This has also become a favorite topic with my audiences around the country, so I've put part of my Finder's Keepers seminar that outlines some generations differences into an on-line slide show. You can also download copy of the slides to share with your team, friends or family.

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