Mercer reports on generational differences in the work place – implications for sales training?


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More than 2,400 U.S. employees took Mercer’s latest What’s Working™ survey. The key takeaway: Compared to past surveys, they feel less committed to their employers and less satisfied. One in three is seriously looking to leave; among younger workers, it’s four in 10. Widespread apathy is also a concern: The 21% who didn’t commit to staying or leaving are least satisfied and engaged.

We found these findings generally interesting. Yet, we were especially interested in two generational insights the study identified.

1. Younger workers represent a challenging contradiction for employers – they tend to be more satisfied with both their organizations and their jobs, and are even more likely to recommend their organizations as a good place to work. However, younger workers are also far more likely to seriously considering leaving their organizations.

Implications for employers? The question is whether companies should just accept this dilemma as the way it is or make the investment to try and change younger workers’ attitudes about leaving their organization.

2. The youngest workers have more in common across borders than do older colleagues – while cultural norms historically have had a powerful influence on worker views and attitudes, this is changing among the youngest members of the workforce (especially those age 24 and younger). This means that people under 24 years old are more likely to view work more like their global counterparts than older workers in their own countries.

Implications for employers? If a common global work culture is emerging, HR programs could gain huge economies of scale if they could be structured and operated consistently across borders, employee mobility would be easier because they would need to adapt less as they move from one location to another, and organizations could fill talent gaps from a global pool, thereby building more diversity into the leadership pipeline.

Historically most large organizations haven’t addressed generational differences as a major consideration when designing and delivering sales training. Given that we have a substantial information base about generational differences, is it time to put this information to use when designing sales training programs? What would you do to design a sales training program specifically to be used with younger workers – the millennials?

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©2011 Sales Horizons, LLC

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Janet Spirer
For more than 30 years Janet Spirer has worked with the Fortune 1000 to craft sales training programs that make a difference. Working with market leaders Janet has learned that today's great sales force significantly differs from yesterday. So, Sales Momentum offers firms effective sales training programs affordably priced. Janet is the co-author of Parlez-Vous Business, to help sales people have smart business conversations with customers and the Sales Training Connection.


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