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.

We need to stop our obsession with generational differences

y all accounts, Amanda Blackwood is a successful millennial in the corporate world. At age 33, the Sacramento resident is vice president of operations at Kings Casino Management Corporation and a partner in OE Consulting Group, an organizational effectiveness consulting firm. She was previously the chief financial officer for a multi-million dollar real estate development company and has 13 years of experience in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. Yet, she still hears the words “your lack of experience” every couple of months in professional settings.

How can someone so accomplished be perceived as unseasoned? The answer lies in society’s obsession with generational differences.

Comstocks reflects on Jessica's All Male Panel article

Back in mid-January, Jessica Kriegel wrote an op-ed for the Sacramento Bee calling out the Sacramento Business Review’s refusal to diversify the all-male panel presenting the organization’s 2017 economic forecast. The response was swift and brutal: Kriegel’s name and photo were removed from all digital materials for the review — of which she was one of 17 authors — and the organization’s account blocked her on Twitter.

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. 

Read John Helmer's take on hearing Jessica speak

As a proud Gen Xer who is – by definition – independent, resilient and adaptable, it pains me to say this, but I have been duped.  And you know what?  So have you.

At the MBA CSEA Regional Forum in San Francisco last Friday Dr. Jessica Kriegel shredded to pieces much of the research that has been done on Millennials and made me question all of the “truths” I have come to accept about Millennials, Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, and every generation before and since.  Incidentally, she did so just before I was to moderate a panel discussion about recruiting and retaining Millennials, so I had to rely heavily on the “adaptable” attribute I had [incorrectly] assigned to my generation.

Jessica's latest article featured in "The CEO Magazine"

Generational labelling is meaningless and counter-productive in the workplace. Not only does such labelling create unfair biases and lead to inappropriate reactions, but in fact, there is no clear evidence to support the messages that the stereotypes convey.

Yet CEOs, managers and supervisors consistently use these stereotypes to make decisions, presuming to understand the collective tastes, ambitions, values and work habits of millions of people born in the same 20-year time span.  The result is miscommunication among team members and lower productivity.

Listen to Jessica on the Tommy Schnurmacher Show discussing Unfairly Labeled

GUEST: Author and top talent management pro Jessica Kriegel talks about the problem with terms like “boomer” and “millennial” in her new book “Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit From Ditching Generational Stereotypes”.

Beth Ruyak interviewing Jessica on Capital Public Radio

People born between 1980 and 2000 are Millennials; those born 1964 to 1979 are considered Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers Those are people born 1945 to 1963. But put them all together in the workplace and there can be issues. Are they real though? Or just based on assumptions?

Jessica Kriegel is a Millenial; she is a consultant for Oracle with a doctorate in Education. She’s a regular contributor to and the author of a new book titled: Unfairly Labeled, How Your Workplace Can Benefit From Ditching Generational Stereotypes. 

Healthcare Business Today features Kriegel's 5 Steps to Dropping Generational Stereotypes

We make generational assumptions at work without realizing it. But what if our assumptions were racially or ethnically driven? Replace the word ‘millennial’ with Hispanic: “Millennials are entitled, lazy, innovative, want to save the world…”

After reading the above, clearly it’s no longer a question ofwhy organizations need to eliminate stereotypes, but how.


Sacramento Lifestyle Publications features Jessica's book launch event

Recently local author Jessica Kriegel, Ed.D. held a launch party for her new book, Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit From Ditching Generational Stereotypes, in downtown Sacramento. The event featured music, bites and libations, and signed books were available for purchase with proceeds benefiting the Sacramento Philharmonic Opera.

Jessica Kriegel featured in Momentology on Marketing: Why Generations is a Weak Segmenting Strategy

Maybe you’ve heard that Baby Boomers are the generation with the strongest work ethic, missing the fewest workdays, putting in the longest hours and taking only rare vacations? You may think that Millennials are fun-loving and combine work with play, seamlessly integrating an afternoon surfing with client conference calls. Millennials are natural technology wizards, are constantly online, addicted to gadgets and apps of all types because they are “digital natives”, right?

These assumptions about different generations were just beginning to flood the internet and board room conversations in 2010, the same year I began a doctoral program at Drexel University with the intention of building a career as a “millennial expert”.