Today's post is written by Kronos Summer Intern, Megan Grenier. Megan is an intern on our mid-market marketing team. She'll be returning to Saint Anselm College this fall where she's studying communications.

My experience as an intern at Kronos this summer has been incredible. I have had the opportunity to learn and do so many new things. One of the most interesting aspects of my work experience - and sometimes one of the most challenging - has been learning to communicate appropriately with colleagues who span many generations.

When I first started, I had to learn many new technologies that I was not accustomed to. Next, I had to learn how each person I work with communicates. I work with fellow Kronites who span Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers. It can get a little tricky trying to balance all of the communication styles!

I have had to ask a lot of questions: when should I send an email versus an IM? When is an in-person conversation the best option? Is it okay if I stop by my boss's office unannounced?

With so many questions, I have made a few mistakes: like not hitting “reply all” on an email or starting to work on a task my manager just emailed me about without first telling him that I was available to do so. While I have made my fair share of mistakes, I have learned a lot because of them. Perhaps the biggest two things I have learned is that it is okay to ask questions, and it is better to overcommunicate than to under-communicate.

And so, based on my experience, my two pieces of advice to future interns would be:

  1. Ask as many questions as you need to: It is better to get clarification early on, so you can be led in the right direction, rather than making errors along the way. I have noticed that my managers and coworkers appreciate my consideration, and it makes my life a whole lot easier.
  2. Overcommunicate. My managers always prefer when I give them more information than less. They want to be kept in the loop. So, it is okay if you send them that extra email, they will appreciate it.

Communicating with people in general can be a challenge, but multigenerational communication is a whole new ball game. To learn more about the topic, check out my series The ABC's of XYZ on Kronos's What Works blog, where I dive deeper into these questions, to help bridge the communication divide in a multigenerational workforce.

Today's guest blog is courtesy of one of our summer interns, Marissa Beaudoin.

After reading a recent blog post about “optimizing your millennial employees” (and other countless articles and posts related to Generation Y), I can't help but give my opinion on the matter. Not because of the constant bad reps they're getting, or even the numerous stereotypes about their laziness and poor attitudes, but simply because I am one of them.

As an intern for a global software company, I've been exposed to the corporate world and more importantly, have worked with Generation Y my entire life. Sure, there are always going to be those who slack off, behave inappropriately in the workplace, and simply just make fools out of themselves, but isn't that true of every generation?

In my current intern program, I've met the most intelligent, driven, and quite simply, good young adults. And while there are always going to be others who are not quite as hard-working, I truly believe that us Millennials have a lot to offer. So instead of complaining and focusing on your Generation Y employees' weaknesses, I suggest harnessing their talents in order to be successful in the 21st century. Here are a few tips to make the most out of your younger workforce:

  1. Listen to them. Our generation is extremely talented, creative, and full of outside-the-box thinkers, so when you listen to what they have to say and give them opportunities to voice their opinions, you'll be surprised at what they have to offer your company. Often times, managers continue with the same goals and strategies for decades since that's all they've ever known; but if those ideas are challenged and new solutions are offered, the company can greatly benefit and grow.
  2. Learn from them. Particularly in terms of technology and social media, Generation Y knows a lot. Many times I personally think I don't know much about technology or computers, but after working and interning in several different positions, I've realized that I know a lot more than others. So those younger employees that actually do claim to know a thing or two are most likely the experts.
  3. Give to them. Our generation is constantly receiving feedback in real-time, whether it's receiving grades and feedback in class, or when we're constantly being judged and critiqued by our peers. We are always reflecting on what we do and thinking about how we can improve. I can certainly attest to this, where I find myself ending every email and project with “Let me know if there's anything I can add or change to this”.  While managers may be used to only giving end-of-the-year reviews, Millennials will be able to grow from constant feedback, be it constructive criticism or praise when appropriate.



Today's guest blog is courtesy of one of our summer interns, Marissa Beaudoin.

1012827_10151807670131115_1501959386_nI once read that college graduates should approach finding a career the same way you approach finding a partner- the only way to find the right job is to go out on a lot of “dates” to try them out and see what they're like.

For a lot of people, this means they will try out a bunch of different jobs, staying at each one for an average of less than four years. This concept of “job hopping” is a nightmare for employers, managers, and HR professionals because it means more hiring, more training, and more expenses. So naturally, the widespread goal is to retain employees so they don't consistently need to be replaced, and this can be achieved by finding the right people for the job.

But how are people supposed to know what they want to do, especially when they're straight out of college? As a 21-year-old college student entering my senior year at a small liberal arts school outside of Boston, I have a general sense of what career I would like to pursue. I have a marketing major and ideally would like to find a career in this field, but I'm not sure if this is what I am going to do for the next 40 years of my life. Did you know what you wanted to do with your life at 21? If so, is it the same thing you've done all throughout your professional career? Probably not.

So then, how can employers avoid this whole “job-hopping” thing if most people have no idea what they want to do after college? Should we cross our fingers and hope we've picked the right job and career? Take a miserable job and stay there until retirement? Simply just not get a job? No, no, and definitely no. The answer is internships.

By now, I'm sure we've all heard or read about the importance of internships and how they're essential for getting hired after graduation. However, as an intern myself at Kronos, Inc., I've been able to better understand the things I'm good at, the things I'm not, and what I'm looking for in a job. So even if I can't exactly say what it is I want to do with my life, my internship has definitely helped guide me in the right direction.

I've also learned that having an internship gives you the opportunity to experience a real-world working environment. You can't teach students in a classroom how to contribute in meetings or communicate with your co-workers- these are the kinds of daily activities that seem so normal to people who have jobs, but for students who have never experienced them, they can be pretty overwhelming.

So many students can benefit from having an internship, and employers can greatly reap the benefits as well. By giving college students the opportunity to get real-world experience and help them narrow down what they want to pursue as a career, they can hire candidates well-suited for their jobs and avoid hiring new employees every few years. Kronos has certainly understood this concept, growing their internship from 20 interns a few years ago, to 54 this summer. And while I still am not 100% sure of what I'd like to do after May 25th 2014, I know I have a much better idea after my internship here this summer.

Guest Blog submitted by: Greg Scott, Jennifer Earls, Kelley Kossakoski

Hello, everyone!  We are excited to introduce you to a unique miniseries at the Workforce Institute, a series of blog posts that will follow the early stages of professional development of three recent entrants into the working world. We'll tackle issues that affect how generations interact in the workplace: technology, communications, perspectives and anything else that we, or you, feel is relevant.  Welcome to the Ground Floor.

So, who are we?  All of us just recently joined the workforce, and are members of a Marketing Employee Development program at Kronos, Inc.  More importantly, we're all from Generation Y (which includes anyone born after 1980).  We may have our obsessions with iPods, text messages and the Internet, but we're also beginning to enter the workforce - in HUGE numbers.  At 75 million strong, Gen Y is the largest generation to come along since the baby boomers.

Let's face it.  The workforce is now more diverse than ever, especially with regard to age.  In fact, 64 million people will be leaving the workforce by 2010.  Conveniently, the largest generation since the baby boomers, Gen Y, is stepping in to fill their shoes.

We're here to share our thoughts and insights on how generations can work together, and more importantly, establish a dialogue on these cross-generational issues.  We want your comments, ideas, and experiences!

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