Listen to Jessica Kriegel on Comstock's Update the State (Worker)

On this episode of Action ItemsDr. Jessica Kriegel, an organizational development consultant at Oracle and author of the book “Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit From Ditching Generational Stereotypes,” and Angélica Quirarte, a government innovations strategist for the California Government Operations Agency, and join host Tre Borden to discuss how the State — and private organizations — can address an aging workforce and prepare for a younger generation of workers.

Taking stock of a generation: the millennials are all right

“It’s imperative that you get to know the person in front of you and you don’t assign all these stereotypes to them because of this 20-year-wide age bracket that they happen to fall within,” writes Jessica Kriegel, author of Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit From Ditching Generational Stereotypes.

Lumping an entire generation of people together and ascribing them with broad personality traits doesn’t really make a lot of sense, Kriegel writes, issuing a caution about the “generational snake oil” you find in every other magazine and on a growing number of shelves in the business book section.

The malignant myth of the millennial featuring Jessica Kriegel

Despite the fuzzy definition, "our culture is currently obsessed with generational labels and the stereotypes that go with them," said Jessica Kriegel, author of Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit from Ditching Generational Stereotypes. "Although I would say that this trend of thinking differently about the younger people in our world has been prevalent for thousands of years," she added.

Kriegel said her research found most books, articles and consultants focused on Millennials rely on "an oversimplification of human behavior." She also found that they frequently contradict each other.

Those contradictions are inevitable because of the diversity within the demographic group, she said.

All-male panels lack diverse perspectives, limit quality of message

The words “yield politely” are seared in my mind ever since the director of the Sacramento Business Review responded to my objections to an all-male panel of experts at the annual business forecast scheduled Tuesday at Sacramento State.

Two years ago, I was asked to lead the development of a human resources section for the forecast. The theme was gender diversity in the corporate world. Our findings, which I presented at last year’s event, were not surprising: Women are greatly underrepresented in upper management levels in Sacramento...

 

Why We Must Challenge Generational Stereotypes

Prior to 1970, California labor laws prevented women from working more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week. Why? There was a faulty assumption on the part of lawmakers that the “weaker sex” needed protection from the rigors of overtime work. 

An assumption is a belief based on little or no evidence. Assumptions lead to stereotypes. This stereotype about women was so generally accepted, it took years of feminist consciousness-raising to overcome.

Though of lesser social impact, perhaps, the same thinking is today falsely categorizing a different group of workers. This time, false assumptions are stereotyping generations, most egregiously, the Millennial generation.

Why you should ditch generational stereotypes

Diversity in the workplace has been proven time and again to be a good thing, and countless publications these days devote digital and real ink to how a new generation of workers, the Millennials, are shaking things up at the office—for better or for worse. But assuming that a particular generation will bring certain strengths and weaknesses to the work environment is falling into a dangerous trap, says Jessica Kriegel, whose book Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit from Ditching Generational Stereotypes was published earlier this year.

Wichita Business Journal features Unfairly Labeled

In her new book Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit From Ditching Generational Stereotypes, organizational developer Jessica Kriegelargues that the generational labels we toss around are loaded with implicit stereotypes, and these stereotypes are divisive and unfair.

While this applies to all generations, it’s most pervasive for the 80 million 

Read Jessica's interview with Knowledge@Wharton

‘Y’ Generational Stereotypes Are Bad for Business

Generation Y, aka the millennials, now make up the largest cohort in the workforce, and the people hiring them — and marketing to them — have plenty of preconceived notions about them. But no generation is a monolithic block, and trying to fit all of them into the same pigeonhole does everyone an expensive and often demoralizing disservice, whether it is “cynical” Gen Xers or “tech-averse” members of the Silent Generation.

Jessica Kriegel works at Oracle as an organization and talent development consultant, and her new book dissecting this issue is Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit from Ditching Generational Stereotypes. She recently appeared on the Knowledge@Wharton Show on Sirius XM channel 111 to talk about why it’s so important for businesses and managers to avoid stereotypes.