corporate culture | May 04, 2016

Talking ’Bout My Generation: Introducing New Speaker Jessica Kriegel

There are 80 million millennials in America today—some are CEOs, some are unemployed—yet we insist on lumping them together. Entire schools of thought have emerged around this misunderstood generation, offering tips on how to deal with them, sell to them, and manage them at work. We’ve become enamored with generational differences, says Jessica Kriegel, but it’s detrimental to both the workplace and greater society. In her book Unfairly Labeled, Kriegel advocates discarding harmful generational stereotypes (for all generations, not just millennials) in favour of a new, harmonious work culture—one with less bias, enhanced communication, and empowered workers.

We tend to pigeonhole millennials as “digital natives,” but this isn’t always a fair classification. To Kriegel, the technological prowess we assign them has more to do with socioeconomic status than with generation. And although there’s a certain fear surrounding millennials entering the workforce, this isn’t unique to their cohort—younger generations have been looked down on for as long as we can remember. In fact, we attributed the same shortcomings to Gen Xers in the 1980s as we do millennials now—so in essence, it’s not a question of generation, but of life stage.

Leadership, too, suffers at the hands of generational stereotypes. If executives make assumptions about their millennial employees, and keep them at arm’s length, they’ll never view them as individuals with unique strengths—and this is a problem. But by eschewing the generational lens, says Kriegel, and embracing our newest class of coworkers as people instead of categorizing them, we’ll make the millennial transition era one of productivity, not of stagnation.  

Kriegel is an Organizational Development Consultant at Oracle Corporation, where she advises on matters of change management and organizational development. She received her doctorate in Educational Leadership from Drexel University, where her dissertation focused on generational differences. A regular contributor to Forbes, Kriegel was awarded the Association of Talent Development’s “One to Watch” Award, and was named to Sacramento Business Journal’s “40 Under 40.” Her keynotes are pragmatic, applicable lessons for a workforce in dire need of an attitude overhaul. For anyone immersed in the modern, tri-generational workplace—or anyone marketing to them—Kriegel’s insights are a practical and immediate way to move forward.

To hear Jessica Kriegel’s informative keynotes on millennials, unfair labels, and leading a multigenerational workforce, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau.

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