Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Workshop helps bridge generation gaps between workers

Consider this: Today, for the first time in U.S. history, the workforce has four generations all bunched together on the same proverbial assembly line.  

The four groups are: Traditionalists (born from 1900–45), Boomers (born from 1946–64), Xers (1965–80) and Millennials (1981–99).

And now more than ever, experts say they all need to play nice because of an evaporating labor pool; some analysts are projecting a shortage of 10 million workers in just three years.

To tackle the topic, DU’s University College Alumni Network (UCAN) is presenting a workshop called Managing & Leading Across the Generations: An Introduction. 

The event takes place Oct. 17, 6–8:30 p.m., in the Craig Hall Community Room, 2148 S. High St. Cost is $10, including parking. 

John and Nicole Heckers of Heckers Development Group Ltd., an executive and business consulting firm in Cherry Creek, Colo., will present the workshop. They’ll cover some of the more urgent management challenges among the generations and a few tricks and tips to motivate, challenge and coach them. 

“Managing between older generations and younger generations has always been a challenge but the challenge is easier when you learn the strengths each generation brings to the other and manage to the strengths rather than the weaknesses,” John Heckers says. 

The Heckers will remain afterwards for questions.

UCAN President Mary Sue Alexander (MPS, MAC ’05) says human relations managers, employers and teachers would benefit from the lecture. 

“Really anyone interested in learning how to play nice or manage when the LP or 8-track crowd mixes with the I-Pod generation,” she says. 

Jackie Posey (MAS ’06), one of the event’s coordinators and a consultant at United Launch Alliance, a company that operates space launch systems, calls the workshop “a great learning opportunity for any manager.” 

“Chances are a group that reports to a manager is cross-generational,” Posey says. She uses her job as an example. “The guy across the aisle from me is just starting … his first job after college. Even if you don’t manage people that are cross-generational, there is a strong possibility that you will work with cross-generations.”

The workshop begins at 6 p.m. with wine, beer, hors d’oeuvres and networking; the presentation begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by a discussion at 7:30 p.m. 

The event is part of the DU Presents series started in 2006 to help alumni continue to benefit from the University. Each lecture is sponsored by an academic college or school and features a faculty member or distinguished speaker. DU Presents is open to all alumni and their guests regardless of college affiliation.

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