Narrowing the Generation Gap: Succeeding in a Multi-generational Workforce

Multi-generational workplace image

It is a remarkable time that we are living in. Literally, generations of people, who have grown up in drastically different times, are working together.

The Traditionalists born in the early 1940s and before, the Baby Boomers  of 1946-1964, the Generation X of 1965-1983 and the infamous Millennial generation of 1984-2002, which is entering the workforce and supposedly changing the ways an office has been functioning for long.

Now, these “boxes” are certainly debatable. Do we need such a compartmentalisation? Does such a categorization mean the same in the Indian context? Should people born after 1995 be included in the Millennial category or be termed as Generation Z? What about the differences of life experiences within a generation?

Whatever said and done, there are different generations working together. Or at least, they are trying to.

How do we make the best of such a unique phenomenon?


  • No Negativity Please!

It is important to not resort to negative stereotypes.

The Harvard Business Review found that every generation wants meaningful work, that they like to work to the contentment of their intrinsic motivation. The wider definition of what is meaningful is similar at the core.

It is more a question of perception, i.e. negative stereotyping, which gives rise to conflict. Interactions-with prejudices, biases based on a few experiences and what one has heard others say-as their basis could be detrimental to communication and actual appraisal of the person. This leads us to the next point.


  • Awareness Vs. Assumption:

Every generation is “known” for certain standout qualities, and encouraging the good ones is important. But it’s a bad idea to generalise and label someone just because they belong to that generation. Potentials may remain under-utilised this way.

There are young people who are not techno savvy. There are people in their seventies who have a firmer grasp of how social media works. It is a tight-rope balancing act between being aware and assuming.


  • Everyone Matters:

This point can come handy to those in managerial positions.

Many modern workplaces are making it a point to please the Millennial generation, for example, by making the work-hours flexible, making majority processes online, ditching the dress-codes, making structural changes in the workplace etc.

While it is not a bad thing to keep up with times, it is not a great idea to be completely insensitive to the needs of other generations, or even to the differences within a generation for that matter.

It is thus important to do a basic thing before implementing structural and administrative changes in the workplace: ask everyone.

Imagine someone who is more comfortable working “offline” in a nine-to-five time-slot, finding the office locked at those times because things are being done online. This not only takes us back to the previous point of assuming, but it also tells us about how blanket rules could hamper productivity.

We don’t want a workplace which pleases someone in their twenties but makes someone in their fifties uncomfortable. Or vice versa.


  • Complement and Compliment

Rather than focusing on the differences to a chaotic end, it is a good idea to work as complements. And it is equally important to appreciate the skills which the “other” generation has, especially if one lacks it.

For example, the Millennial might learn from someone of Generation X some tips about composing a formal email/letter, how to approach a client on call or face to face. The Generation X person can learn about some shortcuts about copying and pasting text from one document to another, thus increasing speed and efficiency.

And everyone could learn from the Traditionalists and the Baby Boomers the art of remembering hundreds of phone numbers by heart! Or the art of maintaining long term client-relations.

This is learning-from-everyone approach is also known as reverse mentoring, and technology is just one aspect from a whole lot of areas to learn. Communicating, networking, conducting meetings, how assignments are handled etc., are done differently by different generations, and learning from everyone can give valuable insights.

Sharing and valuing of experience is important.

A multi-generational team where everyone gets a task which caters to their strengths is definitely unbeatable.

While it is necessary to step out of one’s comfort zone, it is also important to cash in on the strong points of each individual. Open communication which guarantees an inflow of a variety of ideas, and then defining a common goal, with everyone doing what they are good at can go a long way in a successful completion of tasks, overall productivity and workplace harmony.




Recruitment Story: The Sweet Rewards of Professional Excellencies

recruitment story 2 design

A gesture that has a personal touch, for a professional feat goes a long way in boosting levels of motivation, confidence, and work-satisfaction in the employee. Acknowledging and being grateful for any such gesture, and articulating it to the person who gave the “reward” strengthens the professional bond.

How would you like receiving a huge cake on your wedding anniversary from a prestigious client?
Pretty overwhelming, joyful, valued, surprised?

This is probably one of the best feedback someone might receive for their professionalism.

It is time for another recruitment story giving lessons, both personal and professional.

This team leader got a call from a lady in Singapore, who had found out about United HR through a reference.
The lady from Singapore eventually became a regular client.
And the team leader helped her get a lot of candidates for several management and directorial positions. The lady from Singapore phoned the team leader regularly to express her happiness whenever someone got recruited. The team leader too, always answered the calls warmly, and made sure the quality of work was maintained.
Now one day, the team leader received another such call from this lady.
It happened to be the team leader’s thirtieth wedding anniversary. As the client lady from Singapore expressed her happiness about the latest recruitment, the team leader thanked her for giving such a happy news on a day like that. More pleasant words were exchanged and the call was over.
The team leader got another phone call from a different person asking for her home address, and assuming it was for a professional reason, gave it.

Fast forward to when she was at home. The doorbell rang, and lo and behold, there was a cake delivered to her from the client lady in Singapore, for her “ wedding anniversary”! That person asking for the team leader’s address was calling from Hyderabad (he was a successfully placed candidate), and was directed by the lady from Singapore to do so. He had selected a huge cake with wonderful icing.

This client lady had also emailed praising the landmark number of thirty years.

The team leader had received felicitations from distant places! Both, the client and the candidate had gone an extra mile.

One talks about the sweet returns of a great job. But rarely one thinks of receiving such a literal sweet return!

 Efficiency, and consistency are two factors that contributed to establishing a sense of reliability.

This reliability goes a long way in retaining clients and maintaining client-relations.

It is hard to imagine something similar happening if the team leader wasn’t consistently delivering results. She clearly didn’t stop making efforts after just one successful assignment. What’s more, there was always cordial, warm communication taking place. This goes a long way in making sure the client feels valued.

The personal touch in a gesture is truly a marker of the client-satisfaction.
And sure enough, in this case ,professional excellence leads to a figurative cake and the sweet taste of job satisfaction, which are way beyond the monetary rewards.

Kudos to Mrs. Ansuya Satish, who is the team leader in the story and we thank her for sharing pearls of wisdom, and take things to learn from her.
She has been one of the Great Pillars, on whom the Glorious History of United HR rests.

Mrs. Ansuya Satish
Mrs. Ansuya Satish

Professional Lessons to learn from Diwali Festivities

Diwali image 1


As many of us know, Diwali is not just about a day. The festivities and the rituals begin right from Dhanteras, and go on for days till Bhai Dooj.

Now, here are some professional lessons to be learnt from the five days. Don’t worry, we are not asking you to work during the holiday season, but the following lessons can always be implemented after you come refreshed from a Diwali break.


This day, the thirteenth day of the dark fortnight of the month Kartik, is associated with cleansing and purchasing.

The day gives us lessons about the importance of getting rid of chaos and old clutter , and thus make space for order, novelty and freshness.

In the office space, it is similarly necessary to get rid of old, obsolete technology, and be up to date with the emerging trends. Plus, it is a great idea to keep the work station clean, tidy and ordered. There is known to be a positive correlation between work efficiency and a well-lithygienicpeaceful work environment with minimal disturbances.


 Chhoti Diwali:

The fourteenth day of the fortnight is associated with preparation of sweets using various ingredients like flour, semolina, dry fruits, milk solids, etc.

Remember how the various sweets are not simply “sweet”, but the taste of the main ingredient always lingers? Be it milk, cashews, almonds, pistachios, there is an instant recognition.

It would do us good if we keep this in mind: it is necessary to retain one’s essence to gain recognition.

For example, an HR manager of any company, would much prefer a candidate who is honest  and transparent as opposed to someone who is showy (flamboyant) and ingratiating.

Sooner or later, the inner qualities of that candidate would be recognised, like the main ingredient of the “sweet.”



Here comes the festival of lights! There is sound, there is colour, there are feasts, there are Pujas performed, there is celebration everywhere! The young people visit and take blessing from the elders. Oh, and there are diyas, rangolis!

In the professional lingo, this teaches us the importance of good networkingbonding, the importance of mentors. It tells a lot about the power of one small diya. About the power of one single colour to add that missing touch in a rangoli. Sometimes, a rangoli remains incomplete without that one colour. Team work is the Key.

A line of diyas has the capability to light up an entire place. Collaboration, not competition is the way to go.


Govardhan Puja and Bhai Dooj:

Govardhan Puja is celebrated to mark the feat of Shri Krishna when he lifted up a mountain to save cowherds and farmers from incessant rains. Some regions celebrate this day as a New Year, and some as the Annakut, literally mountain of sweets. Some celebrate the bond between husband and wife.

Bhai Dooj celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters, here, the sister acting as a protector of the brother.

Anyhow, the two days teach us a lot about the importance of being supportive to our colleagues, especially in the time of crisis.

Taking responsibility, having empathy, handling interpersonal relationships effectively are some of the lessons we can take with us. It tells us about the importance to have Emotional Intelligence. In short, the importance of taking leadership in little things.

Emotional Intelligence could be used in handling meetings, negative feedback or appraisal, client relations, empowering your colleagues, etc.

Diwali festivities not only give us good times, but good lessons which could be applied in a professional setting.

Delving into meanings of festivals and traditions, could help us a great deal to understand the values and their timelessness.

Happy Diwali!


Recruitment Story: Sleeping, Smelling, Dreaming Generators

recruitment story one

Some of us would be familiar with our parents and grandparents telling us stories about the struggles they had to go through when they were younger. Anecdotes about walking long distances to go to school, when all we have to worry about now is whether we will be able to catch the bus on time. About how one had to actually spend hours in the library to look for one tiny snippet of information, when all we have to do is one Google search.

Looking at these incidents with humour is all very well, but the thing is, all of this is true. We have to admit that our parents and grandparents did some pioneering acts which might daunt us if we think about it now.

Here we present one such story about our initial years.

Flashback to almost thirty years back. The India we know today was different then. The world as we know now was different then.

There was a requirement of an “Operator” for an 11,000 kva, 40 feet tall generator at a Textile mill in Nigeria.

The only brief given was the person should:

“Sleep with Generator

Smell of Generator and

Dream Generator.”


This was no era of KRAs.

This was no era of specifications of degrees or specialisations.

This was no era of interconnected email networks which now ensure that there is an almost instant spotting and filtering of potential candidates. Headhunting was the only way.

Add to the mix, although generators were a norm in industries in India as well as Nigeria and electricity not as widespread as it is now, a machine this big was still a rarity.

How would one cope with a “Brief” like this in the present day?

It was the brief where we had to understand that there was a need of someone who knew all about dismantling and assembling generators like the back of his hand.

They needed someone who could work hands on with a generator. Or more specifically work hands on with an 11,000 kva, 40 feet tall generator.

We found the perfect candidate for this position. Yes, with no KRAs and just this brief. Yes, in that era.

This was all done, under the able guidance of our CEO, Dr.O.P Pahuja, who is a hands on Engineer himself. This tells us so much about his visionary nature.

Dr. O P Pahuja
Dr. O P Pahuja

This recruitment story is of the time when industriousness, problem-solving skills, perseverance, awareness, risk-taking, courage were the qualities that were necessities. They were needed to thrive and keep companies running successfully.

This recruitment story is a testimonial to the pioneering and industrious nature of Team United HR. It aligns perfectly with one of our mission statements: “Putting right People in Right Places”


Beyond the Rivalry

Collaboration Image


Setting up goals– long term and short term- is an important activity that fuels growth. Sometimes, the standards are set according to what the supposed rival is doing. We have to be better than them, is the call of duty one answers to.

Healthy competition is good if it helps one come up with new ideas and reach targets.

What happens when the competition doesn’t really lead to anything? What if it just becomes an activity that drains your energy? What if it just turns into an unproductive, loss-making enterprise?

Not just in recruiting, but in many other industries, getting a client is important. Or more like winning a client is important. However in Recruiting Industry, sometimes, this “win” determines how much you would get paid, or to notch it up one level, whether you would get paid at all!

Retaining a loyal client is another aspect about this “winning”. That you would no longer be able to hang on to the regular because of various reasons on your part could be a stressful and often anxiety-inflicting event.

Joshua Skult in his article talks about how he just couldn’t find someone who was good with a particular software. His regular client had been making repetitive calls. Ultimately, he collaborated with his “rival” recruiter and found a placement for this client. What Skult did was, as he put it, take 50% while he could, rather than lose the 100%.

He feared what many do: he would lose the competition.

But he chose to collaborate with a fellow recruiter. Our NPA works on the same line, and that’s how splits work for everybody.

Another example, given by Stephen O’Donnell talks about his experience with collaboration. According to him, “A few years ago, The Recruitment Agency Network (RANJobs) in Scotland was a network of firms which initially built a website to contend with S1Jobs price rates. Before long those agency owners, who would normally never speak, were pursuing a joint tender for a huge government contract in order to compete with major national agencies.”

It is important to not make the rival an enemy.

And although, it might be so that collaborations, and their frequency and requirement is increasing now owing to the employment rates and trends, they are not that new an endeavor. They aren’t that uncommon too.

Collaborations are seen in areas which seem to be not even connected remotely to the corporate space. For example, in academia: interdisciplinary studies are on the rise in humanities.

We see confluences of engineering and biology in many recent scientific advances and studies.

The most common collaboration which we seem to be completely desensitised to is seen in fields of advertising, media and films.

We all remember ads which claim so and so product is “free” with their product. This is a daily example of collaboration, where both the companies profit in one way or another.

Skult very aptly puts it, “…with the interconnectivity that the world now offers it only makes sense to take full advantage of the ability to share information, ideas and business with those around us. What once was seen as naive or risky is now actually a smart play that will increase productivity, create valuable alliances and improve client relationships. It will take a willingness to shed long held fears, but, having done it, I know it works.”

Alliances, collaborations, calculated risks, trust, are some of the keywords we need to remember to think beyond competitions, enmities  and rivalries.