Keeping Boomers Engaged and Millennials Committed in the Workplace

We’re pleased to highlight this Human Resource Development Review author feature. To view all other author features from HRDR, click here. Below, Dr. Chaudhuri and Dr. Ghosh provide further insight on their article, “Reverse Mentoring: A Social Exchange Tool for Keeping the Boomers Engaged and Millennials Committed,” that is found in Volume 11, Issue 1 of Human Resource Development Review.

1) Please share an overview of your article with our readers. The article titled, “Reverse Mentoring: A Social Exchange Tool for Keeping the Boomers Engaged and Millennial’s Committed” takes a positive perspective whereby the HRD professionals are encouraged to capitalize on the multi-generational workforce that they are gifted with instead of whining about the challenges that it poses. The article proposes reverse mentoring as a social exchange tool which is aimed at leveraging the expertise of both generations including the boomers and millennials, by being perceptive of their different needs, value systems, and work demands. Reverse Mentoring, which is a fairly new tentacle of mentoring is an inverted type of mentoring relationship, wherein junior employees are paired with senior, seasoned, and more experienced staff. Our article offers social exchange and age identification theory as the basic theoretical underpinnings that support the framework of reverse mentoring as a two way street. The mentoring relationship thrives on the mutual exchange between two generations—senior members of an organization will acquire new learnings in the areas of technology—mobile computing, social media, cloud technology, etc.—and work-life diversity, work-life balance, latest professional trends, changing consumer preferences,  and glean a more global perspective on the concepts of openness and diversity. The younger workforce will find in it an opportunity to hone their leadership skills and garner insights on organizational structure. This would eventually result in increased employee commitment and engagement for the millennials and the boomers.

2) How did you reach your interest in this topic? Being instructors at top-notch research universities, we were fortunate to interact with students of high caliber. While facilitating our courses, both of us encountered those AHA moments where our students were instrumental in helping us learn more advanced presentation skills including Prezi, Google HangOut, Google Talk, and the list could just go on. While we were fascinated with our exposure to these new tools, we were equally amazed to witness that there is so much more that these young kids can offer us with respect to new technology and their changing preferences of how they need to be taught to make it most effective for them. This led us to believe that if this relationship is formalized at a much higher level, typically in an organization setting – it can actually reap lot of benefits. Our curiosity led us to dig deeper into this new found intervention of reverse mentoring. What surprised us was the lack of literature in the area when we started researching it in 2011. While a few organizations are trying this intervention, academics have been still slow to jump into this bandwagon. Given the area was still very under researched, we found this an excellent opportunity to pursue.

3) How does your research connect with social responsibility? In 2015, the world witnessed a major demographic shift when the millennials became the largest share of the workforce. Based on the current trend, it is projected that in 2020 millennials will become half of the global workforce. With as many as 4 and in some cases 5 generations working side by side in the workplace, organizational leaders are confronted as never before with a growing generational gap, shifting expectations, as well as the constant need to stay on the cutting ‘digital’ edge.  As more and more senior executives are turning to their younger colleagues for insight and guidance, traditional mentoring is gradually shifting into reverse or reciprocal mentoring turning millennials into the must-have mentors for senior leaders who want to stay ahead of the curve. Additionally, the impending retirement of the boomers is resulting in a leadership gap and possible brain drain shortage. In view of this impending labor shortage resulting from the exodus of boomers, employers must find ways to keep these workers engaged post standard retirement ages. We proffer reverse mentoring as a socially responsible intervention which would keep the boomers engaged and the millennials committed.

4) How might a future scholar implement aspects of your research in their work? The extant literature is limited in its scope when it comes to the outcomes of the reverse mentoring relationship as it is a fairly new intervention. We would encourage future scholars to find organizations that have successfully implemented reverse mentoring. As the workforce continues to age and younger generations keep on joining the workforce, we would encourage future scholars to empirically test the propositions offered in this article about the work outcomes of a multigenerational workforce.

ChaudhuriS-2016.jpgDr. Chaudhuri is currently a lecturer at the University of Minnesota, where she also earned her Ph.D. in human resource development. Her research interests are related to different aspects of human resource development practices and its impact on organizational outcomes including organizational commitment and employee engagement. Dr. Chaudhuri has conducted and published research studies on training outsourcing, work-life balance, cross-cultural leadership, and mentoring. Her co-authored research on ‘Reverse Mentoring’ has been quoted by the Wall Street Journal, Canadian Broadcasting, Financial Times, and one of the leading world news channels.

R. Ghosh (Release July 14, 2017).jpgDr. Ghosh is currently an associate professor at Drexel University. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Louisville, and her MBA at the Somaiya Institute of Studies and Research in Mumbai. Dr. Ghosh’s focused research interests include mentoring and leader development, workplace incivility, and workplace learning and development. She has over twenty article publications in journals such as Advances in Developing Human Resources, the Journal of Management Development, and Career Development International.

Do Longer Working Hours Blur Work–Family Boundaries?

In today’s dynamic world, majority of boundary-spanning professionals like sales are expected to work for longer hours, regularly interacting with clients and, in several instances, o7817055290_8609020d49_z.jpgperating across various time zones which ultimately results in blurring work–family boundaries.

Sales is a key boundary-spanning function, which has central accountability in the organization and that is the reason why companies make huge investments on their sales force. Sales professionals are largely seen affected due to imbalances among individual, family and professional goals, which finally results in burnout. In addition, their work-related commitments require them to counter multiple demands from co-workers and customers, thereby resulting in role stress.

Work–family conflict is seen as having two distinct domains: work negatively affecting family, that is, WFC and family negatively affecting work, that is, FWC. Both WFC and FWC are bidirectional in nature and have distinct patterns of correlates. WFC is found to be far more rampant than FWC. The probable reason for the same could be that work boundaries are less permeable as compared to family boundaries which result in work negatively affecting family more as compared to family affecting work.

An article from the Asia-Pacific Journal of Management Research and Innovation aims to measure the ratio of work to family conflict (WFC) and family to work conflict (FWC) and also identify various demographic variables affecting the conflicts.

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Abstract

In today’s dynamic world, majority of boundary-spanning professionals like sales are expected to work for longer hours, regularly interacting with clients and, in several instances, operating across various time zones which ultimately results in blurring work–family boundaries. The sample for the current study are sales employees as they are required to respond to various demands from colleagues, customers and from their respective families as well, which finally leads to conflict from both work and family. Of importance to the research is work–family construct measurement. The study first validated the Netemeyer, Boles and McMurrian (1996) work–family conflict scale in Indian context using exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis. The results of the data analysis are in line with the indications in the literature. In addition, the current study attempted to investigate the role of demographic variables on work to family conflict (WFC) as well as family to work conflict (FWC). The sample consisted of 330 sales employees working across different service and manufacturing sectors in Mumbai, India. Results indicated that age, marital status, hierarchy, hours worked, number and ages of children are significantly associated with both WFC and FWC. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Click here to read Work–Family Conflict in India: Construct Validation and Current Status for free from the journal Asia-Pacific Journal of Management Research and Innovation.

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*Clock image attributed to Nick Wright. (CC)

Do Family-Friendly Programs Reduce Employee Turnover?

4329856959_d420346295_zHow can organization’s prevent employee turnover? The recent Public Personnel Management article “Does Satisfaction with Family-Friendly Programs Reduce Turnover? A Panel Study Conducted in U.S. Federal Agencies” from author James Gerard Caillier of University of Alabama suggests that the key to employee retention for an organization could be family-friendly programs. Programs like telework, alternative work schedules, child care subsidies, employee assistance programs, and other similar programs not only attract new talent, but help companies retain long-standing employees. The abstract for the paper:

This article sought to understand the association between employee satisfaction with several family-friendly programs and turnover in U.S. federal agencies. It also built on previous cross-sectional studies that examined the relationship between these benefits and both attitudes and outcomes. More specifically, this article used social exchange theory to develop hypotheses regarding the effect of telework, alternative work schedules, child care subsidies, elder care, employee assistance programs, and health and wellness programs on turnover. Furthermore, 4 years of panel data were Current Issue Coverobtained from the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and FedScope to test the hypotheses. Consistent with social exchange theory, results from the balanced panel model indicate that satisfaction with family-friendly programs in general had a significant, negative effect on turnover. The results also indicate that telework, alternative work schedules, child care programs, and health and wellness programs reduced turnover. Telework, employee assistance programs, and health and wellness programs were significant at the .10 level. Elder care programs, on the other hand, were not found to have an impact on turnover. The implications the results have for theory and practice are discussed in the article.

You can read “Does Satisfaction with Family-Friendly Programs Reduce Turnover? A Panel Study Conducted in U.S. Federal Agencies” from Public Personnel Management free for the next two weeks by clicking here.

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* Family image attributed to bniice (CC)

Do the Benefits of Work Engagement Extend Beyond the Office?

3925183530_4902bb6ae9_zStudies of work engagement and the associated positive outcomes tend to focus on the effects of engagement exclusively in the work realm, but do the benefits of work engagement extend beyond the office? In a recent Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies article entitled “The Work/Nonwork Spillover: The Enrichment Role of Work Engagement,” authors Liat Eldor, Itzhak Harpaz, and Mina Westman expand the scope of research on the effects of work engagement.

The abstract for the paper:

This study examines whether work engagement enriches employees beyond the JLOcontribution of the domain of work, focusing on satisfaction with life and community involvement. Moreover, the ambivalence of scholars about the added value of the work engagement concept compared with similar work-related attitudes prompted us to assess the benefits that work engagement offers with regard to improving one’s satisfaction with life and community involvement compared with the benefits of other, similar work-related attitudes such as job involvement and job satisfaction. Furthermore, given the studies indicating the impact of sector of employment (public vs. business) on understanding the work/nonwork nexus, the current study also investigates the effect of the sector of employment on this enrichment process. Utilizing multilevel modeling analysis techniques on data from 554 employees in public and business sector organizations, we obtained results consistent with our hypotheses. Work engagement and employees’ outcomes beyond work had positive and significant relationships. Moreover, the relationship between work engagement and community involvement was stronger in public sector employees than in business sector employees. The implications for organizational theory, research, and practice are discussed as possible leverage points for creating conditions that promote engagement at work and beyond.

You can read “The Work/Nonwork Spillover: The Enrichment Role of Work Engagement” from Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Picnic image attributed to Benson Kua (CC)

Mindfulness Leads to Positive Outcomes at Work

3752743934_586c123f3c_zMindfulness training can help individuals increase their attention and awareness, but how can this present-centered mindset help in the workplace? The recent article published in Journal of Management entitled, “Contemplating Mindfulness at Work: An Integrative Review” from authors Darren J. Good, Christopher J. Lyddy, Theresa M. Glomb, Joyce E. Bono, Kirk Warren Brown, Michelle K. Duffy, Ruth A. Baer, Judson A. Brewer, and Sara W. Lazar delves into the applications of mindfulness at work. Their findings suggest that mindfulness training can have a broad, positive impact across key workplace outcomes. The abstract from the paper:

Mindfulness research activity is surging within organizational science. Emerging evidence across multiple fields suggests that mindfulness is fundamentally connected to many aspects of workplace functioning, but this knowledge base has not been systematically integrated to date. This review coalesces the burgeoning body of JOM 41(3)_Covers.inddmindfulness scholarship into a framework to guide mainstream management research investigating a broad range of constructs. The framework identifies how mindfulness influences attention, with downstream effects on functional domains of cognition, emotion, behavior, and physiology. Ultimately, these domains impact key workplace outcomes, including performance, relationships, and well-being. Consideration of the evidence on mindfulness at work stimulates important questions and challenges key assumptions within management science, generating an agenda for future research.

You can read “Contemplating Mindfulness at Work: An Integrative Review” from Journal of Management free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from  Journal of ManagementClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

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*Rock tower image credited to Natalie Lucier (CC)

 

The March Issue of Public Personnel Management is Now Online!

4202408267_63ce65b910_zThe March 2016 issue of Public Personnel Management is now available and is free to access for the next 30 days. The March issue features an editorial from Jared Llorens, the incoming editor of Public Personnel Management, as well as an introduction from guest editor Linda Sun for the second part of an article collection on Humanisitic Management and Development of New Cities and Towns. Among the articles included in this issue is a piece from author Jun Yi Hsieh, entitled “Spurious or True? An Exploration of Antecedents and Simultaneity of Job Performance and Job Satisfaction Across the Sectors,” which compares public, private, and nonprofit employees to see if the relationship between job satisfaction and job performance differs in each sector. The abstract from the paper:

The purpose of this study is to test differences and similarities of the public, private, ppm coverand nonprofit sector employees by examining the antecedents and simultaneity of job satisfaction and job performance. The results, assessed by seemingly unrelated regression, showed that job satisfaction positively affects job performance, or vice versa. Explanatory variables such as goal ambiguity, leader–member exchange, and so forth also exerted significant effects on the outcome variables across three sectors. This study extends to explain the similarity and difference of three sectors based on the criteria of the values in common, outcome variation, task characteristics, and sector contexts.

Click here to access the table of contents for the March 2016 issue of Public Personnel ManagementWant to know all about the latest from Public Personnel ManagementClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Coworkers image credited to Alger Cugun (CC)

Book Review: The Problem with Work

The Problem with Work

The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries. Kathi Weeks; Durham: Duke University Press, 2011, 304 pp., $23.95 ISBN 978-0-8003-5112-2

Eugene P. Coyle of Eugene P. Coyle & Assoc. recently took the time to review the book in Review of Radical Political EconomicsFrom the review:

“Why do we work so long and so hard?” Professor Weeks opens this important and powerful book with questions about work that are not much addressed in political science or in mainstream economics. And she goes on to note that “. . . the fact that at present one must work to ‘earn aliving’ is taken as part of the natural order rather than a social convention” (3)…

RRPE 2015Weeks has a gift for summarizing political choices as aphorisms. In considering a politics of work as distinct from a politics of class, for example, she concludes “A politics of work, on the other hand, takes aim at an activity rather than an identity, and a central component of daily life rather than an outcome” (18). Later, in supporting her demands as preferable to what she acknowledges as impressive campaigns for a living wage, she says “. . . I am interested in demands that would not only advance concrete reforms of work but would also raise broader questions about the place of work in our lives and spark the imagination of a life no longer subordinate to it – demands that would serve as vectors rather than terminal points” (33). But I am getting ahead of the story.

You can read the full review from Review of Radical Political Economics by clicking here. Like what you read? Click here to sign up for e-alerts and have all the research and reviews like this sent directly to your inbox!