Mike Hourigan, Hybrid and Blended Workplace Keynote Speaker

The Hybrid Workplace Meets 4 Generations

As a hybrid and blended workplace keynote speaker, I don’t believe the business environment has ever been more uncertain and confusing.

The most common mistake I address as a motivational speaker on the topics of hybrid workplaces and blended workforces is that employers often treat their workforces as a homogenous group. There is nothing homogenous about the group at all, save for the facts that they work for the same company and typically have the same benefits package. When policies and procedures are presented to “the group,” the way in which those procedures are relayed generally satisfy no one. A one-size-fits-all approach usually satisfies no one and no single generation.

The workplace as bus station
Truth is, that even prior to COVID-19, “the office” never was a cohesive unit; there always were generational differences most often ignored. Sometimes the generations caused workstyle and work ethic friction, sometimes not (often by virtue of iron-handed management). However, as the lockdown was enforced, the differences became more apparent and difficult to manage. Through the worst of the hybrid experience the divisions between generations became increasingly apparent as work teams often stopped communicating. The workplace became a “bus station,” where travelers preferred to simply make it to their destinations without interaction or commonality. It has made for a toxic and ineffective outcome.

For clarification, in my keynote speeches on blended workplaces I point out the differences between generational lifestyles.
Boomers. The Baby Boomers are clearly not digital natives. They were around before “Silicon Valley” and the internet was a thing. They like stability, centralized offices, loyalty and need to maintain a sense of routine.
Gen-X. While Gen-X employees are not digital natives, research shows at least 54-percent are tech savvy. This generation tends to stay longer at companies and want to play critical roles in leadership. Interestingly, while Gen-X is receptive to coaching, at least one-third would rather get advice from someone outside the organization.

Millennials. Millennials are the age-diverse group and they fully embrace all things digital. 71-percent of Millennials want to be mobile and have the ability to use their own devices. They live in a cloud-based world and often prefer to make up their own hours and to share and collaborate.
Gen-Z. Gen-Z workers are just now establishing themselves in the workplace. They have never known a world without tech, but they strongly desire a frictionless access to all things digital. They want communication to be instantaneous and at all hours. They are not a 9-to-5 generation in mindset. They are coming of age at an uncertain time.

Who’s wrong?
Despite the generational jokes (“OK, Boomer!” and “Millennials: walking around like they rent the place,”) and all that, a highly functional workplace should not be like a bus station filled with strangers, but where people learn to work together and achieve common goals.

But what has happened and who is wrong?
What has happened in the work environment is that most everyone forgot how to communicate. COVID made it worse, but “dictating policy” caused greater division, resignations and “quiet quitting.” Who is wrong? No one, and everyone.

When the workplace started to become a bus station, we all needed to step up and stop it. As the generations in the “office” moved farther apart, whole organizations (not just specific generations) suffered. Sometimes the results were catastrophic. And, here’s an even more troubling outcome: when generations stop communicating to one another, like a virus it can spread within generations as well.

A lack of communication got the workplace into this mess, and communication will lead everyone out. First, there must be a focus on speaking the same language. As a hybrid and blended workplace motivational speaker that’s what I do.

To contact Mike Hourigan, Hybrid and Blended Workplace Motivational Speaker, please call Mike today at (704) 875-3030 or fill out the form below.

Hybrid Blended Workplace Speaker

Hybrid Workplace Keynote Speaker

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    Mike does much more than present one-of-a-kind keynote speeches - he provides fun and fact filled breakout sessions as well as dynamic training programs for numerous organizations like Marriott, Disney, Harley-Davidson and even the U.S. Army.