Workplace challenge

“Performance Evaluation in Talent Management Cycle “The Talent Management Challenge – Managing Multi-generations in Today’s Caribbean Workplace” – PART II”

by Global Expert Systems

This week we will give you a profile of the four generations that are sitting side by side in today’s Caribbean workplace. Again, it’s important to remember that this is not set in stone and your generational analysis may vary from country to country – based on culture, history and other markers which you may deem to be relevant that your own geopolitical space.

However, if we took Trinidad and Barbados as having similar historical markers, we would agree that there is indeed a generation of economic and political struggle and severe hardship.

Characteristics of the 1937-1958 Generation

This generation tends to be very career oriented and many have approached the 30 year plus mark in the same organisation. Many in this generation did not benefit from a free university education at an early age and sought to improve themselves later in life through on-the-job-training, some evening classes and/or university and professional training done mostly out of pocket after work hours. They nonetheless have remained loyal to their organisations and are very accustomed to organisational hierarchical structures.

Unfortunately, with the rapid reconfiguration of the Caribbean corporate landscape starting in the 1990s and beyond, this group has suffered the most in terms of reintegration into the workforce. The reason being is that many of them were unable to compete against a younger more qualified generation. Of particular note, this group suffered from what is known as “too old to be hired, too young to be fired.”

Caught in this vortex of ageism: this generation was affected by the following:

? Lack of competitiveness in the job market

? Insufficient savings and retirement planning to meet early retirement

? Age discrimination

Characteristics of the 1958-1970 Generation

Just be reminded that we are defining the groups by the years of their birth. So this next generation experienced the wave of independence and represents the first generation to receive a college education en masse. They were still career oriented and shared a lot of the values of their parents. However, they formed the basis of an emerging middle class made up primarily of civil servants and professionals.

This independence generation built this new middle class and shared the following characteristics:

? Smaller planned families

? Investment in education

? More international travel

? Access to credit

? Longer term savings planning

? Increased home ownership through mortgages.

The above middle class dream forged a desire for stability, work-life balance and increased demand for higher income based on more negotiating power – certainly within the context of Trinidad and Barbados.

By the time the next generation enters the workforce towards the end of the 1980s, there are clear signs of generational conflicts. More often than not, these conflicts are based more on perception than reality.

Characteristics of the 1970-1983 Generation

For those who straddle two generations, we refer to them as “cuspers” by virtue of sitting on the cusp of two groupings. The cuspers form an interesting group because they tend to:

? Share multiple values from both generations

? Navigate more easily between both generations

? Act as a bridge to resolving conflicts

This highly educated generation was no longer interested in lifelong jobs and rather than planned their careers, they stategised them. On analysing CVs from this generation, it not uncommon to see at least three jobs changes in a 10-year span. This group is constantly seeking the next best opportunity and does not share the same fear of change as their parents. Moreover, this generation is the first real group to benefits from the globalisation phenomenon. With higher levels of education and even more negotiating power, this is very transient type of worker.

Characteristics of the 1983-2000 Generation

Finally, as we intimated before, the Millennials are here with us in the workplace. This is perhaps the most misunderstood group. Highly technical and digital, this group brings with it notions of being spoilt, pampered and highly privileged. Of course, the irony is that they are criticised by the very ones who nurtured their habits and behaviour.

Born into mass pop culture, in the age of TV, music videos, digital games and computers, they are accused of short attention spans by their older peers. However, they appear to be much more entrepreneurial and independent and are a lot more willing to take risk.

Unfortunately, space does not permit us to delve into a lot more of the research that is out there on multi-generations. Suffice it to say, we are now starting to hear and see more interest in this trend within the Caribbean workspace. We hope therefore that we have given you a little insight into these four groups and that you will be inspired to do further reading and research on the topic.

Part 3 of the Multi-generation Next week we will start an exciting three-part sub-series on: The Talent Management Challenge Strategies for – Managing multi-generations in today’s Caribbean workplace – PART I.

This is your last chance to register for the 1st Caribbean & Latin American Conference on Talent Management on September 25 at the Savannah Hotel, Barbados and September 26 at the Kapok Hotel, Trinidad. Feel free to visit Global Expert Systems online at or email us at for more information. We also have lots of free material on Talent Management and this entire series is available on our Facebook page at . Do pay us a visit there are like our page!

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