Communicate Blog

Women to Women

Sandra Olivier - Tuesday, August 02, 2016

fashion women In the spirit of Women’s Day this month I wanted to look specifically at some tips for women in the workplace. In many, if not most, sectors of the workforce we have accomplished women that can boast successful careers. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that the advice of others who has gone before you is priceless. Therefore I am a firm believer in putting together your own personal board of advisers that can guide you, and help you keep direction when you face tough choices in your career.

I have to confess this is not my own brilliant idea. I first heard of this when I read Caroline Dowd-Higgins book This is Not the Career I Ordered.  But she’s a smart woman who knows what she is talking about, so allow me to share some of my thoughts on this with you:

Making the cut
The first and most important question is: how do you select the right people to be on your board? Start with people in your work circle that you admire and who will be able to provide you with valuable insight in your career and choices. It must be people that will be honest with you, and help you to think differently about situations; after all you want to get a different perspective.
The other factor to keep in mind is that it’s important to select people that know you well, that you have easy access to, and will be willing to help and listen when the time comes. There is no use in wanting to add Richard Branson to your list as you have never even met the guy.
So what of type of people do you need to include in your mix to make sure this works for you? I give you my top 3 suggestions:

First off you need somebody who can be your conscience when your own one has gotten too bogged down with everyday stuff. It’s important to have somebody that can keep you accountable and help you to push forward to accomplish your goals. This needs to be a person that can be honest with you at all times and practice some tuff love when needed to make sure you persevere.

Having a Networker on your Boards is critically important as this individual will be somebody that knows people. So if you need a connection, want to talk to a specialist or tap into some specific market intelligence, this individual would be able to help you connect with the right people.

This individual can assist you with the bigger picture, help you dream a little and assist you with identifying goals that will help you reach that next step in your career. This person will need to be objective and practical but can also be a motivator when required.

 So in this month of celebrating women, start to gather your board of advisors and give your career a boost.

For more on this topic visit Caroline Dowd-Higgins blog.

Communicate Personnel is a specialist recruitment agency, with the very best recruiters. We have placed thousands of top candidates over the last five years at some of the most sought after employers in the country. If you are looking for a new career opportunity we have a variety of Finance jobs, IT jobs, Engineering jobs, Supply Chain jobs and Freight jobs. View our vacancies and apply today.

Soft Skills: The Key to Landing your next job

Sandra Olivier - Friday, July 29, 2016

facesUntil very recently technical ability and experience were the only things that companies looked for when hiring new people. However, research has shown the importance of soft skills on job performance and more importantly the bottom line. Contrary to popular belief, being an expert in your field does not guarantee you regular employment. Companies are now demanding more than just job expertise, which means you must also fine-tune your soft skills.

Why are soft skills important?
In any company, big or small success depends largely on the ability of staff to collaborate on projects in order to achieve the necessary milestone for reaching objectives. The reality is that as soon as people have to work together there is sure to be a difference of opinion or some form of conflict. This is not necessarily a bad thing as different ideas could help to create better solutions, if these individuals have the necessary soft skills to manage this. If not, it will only result in wasted time, strained work relationships, and ultimately failure of the project.  

Important soft skills to develop:
The focus has shifted for hiring managers to look for more than just competency areas as they’ve realised that culture fit are just as important as the expertise required to succeed at a job. Developing your soft skills could be the key to landing your next job opportunity.

1. Communication skills:
A topic that has been discussed many time and although this seems obvious, the ability to communicate clearly both in written and verbal form is vital for any job. You need to be able to get your message across to a variety of people and to ensure there is a clear understanding of what you require from the other person.

2. Growth mind-set
In order to excel in any career this is an important skill to develop. It will allow you to face difficult situations and challenges as learning opportunities. It is important to continue to grow your experience and people skills as you move upwards in your career.

3. Perceptiveness:
The ability to understand the unspoken cues and underlying nuances of other people’s communication and action is a valuable skill to develop. We often focus so much on our own messages and what we want to communicate to others that we don’t watch and try and understand where other individuals are coming from. If you misinterpret other’s intention, you can easily encounter difficulties dealing with people and not even know why.

4. Cool headedness:
Staying calm in challenging situations especially when it comes to conflict will serve you well in your career. It’s important to keep your emotions in check in any situation and to approach problems with an open mind.

5. Pro-active problem solving:
Any work situation requires a certain amount of problem solving. Being pro-active and offering solutions will win you favour not only with your boss but also with your colleagues.

6. Negotiation skills:
The key to good negotiations is to create a 'win-win' outcome where both sides feel they have gained something positive through the process and both sides feel their point of view has been considered. Negotiation is essential in your career but also in your daily lives.

Looking for success in your career? We can help you untangle the steps to your next job opportunity. Communicate Personnel have placed thousands of top candidates over the last three decades at some of the most sought after employers in the country. If you are looking for a new career opportunity we have a variety of Finance jobs, IT jobsEngineering jobsSupply Chain jobs and Freight jobs. Browse our vacancies and apply today. 


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Hiring mistakes can be costly

Sandra Olivier - Friday, July 22, 2016

hand hiring When it comes to hiring new staff, more and more companies admit that hiring the right employees are arguably the most critical aspect of a successful business. Bad hires can be costly and on average, companies lose three times the annual salary of a new hire that doesn’t stay with the organization. Here are some tips to help you when you have to make your next hire.

Know who you're looking for
Experts say bad hires are often the result of the job description not matching the job criteria. The result: a new hire joins the organization and it quickly becomes clear that he or she does not possess the skill-set to effectively execute the job. The key is to create a job description that is laser-focused on the actual skills and competencies required for the job.

Hire the specialist, not the generalist
Conventional wisdom among hiring managers says hire the generalist who can adapt to whatever situation you have. However, the truth of the matter is that if you really look at it closely most people only really excel at one or two skills. When you are putting together a team you need to hire people that will have a specialist skill to compliment the areas in which the rest of your team might be lacking. It’s no good to have a couple of people that are all generalist but no real expert to help your organisation grow.

There is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ candidate
This is a mistake made often by hiring managers in that they believe that somewhere out there is a job-seeker who would be perfect for the position. The reality is unfortunately that there is no such thing. The current skills shortage in South Africa is adding to the challenges of finding skilled candidates. There is a gap in middle management with many qualified individuals choosing to work overseas. On the other hand it does offer opportunities to focus more on hiring the right attitude as the skills can be taught.

Get in the experts
Before you get your hackles up about recruiters fees, consider the value that the right new hire can deliver over the next 5, 10, or 20 years in your company.  Niche recruiters like Communicate Personnel know where to find top talent, can screen candidates and can guide you through the process of interviews, salary negotiation, saving you lots of time and money.

Take time with proper on-boarding
Employee orientation and training should be a vital part of a new employee’s probation period, ensuring they understand company policies, what’s expected of them, and how they’ll be measured on their performance.

Are you looking to make a new hire, want to avoid making a hiring mistake that will cost you time and money? Communicate Personnel is a specialist recruitment agency, with the very best recruiters. We specialise in the sourcing of top candidates in the FinanceITEngineering and Supply Chain and Freight industries, both for permanent and contracting placements throughout South Africa, and the African continent.  

We also have various vacancies, which includes Finance jobsIT jobsEngineering jobsFreight jobs and Supply Chain jobs

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Career Cycle: Starting A New Job

Sandra Olivier - Friday, July 15, 2016

road with start and finish At some point in your career, maybe you too have made the life-altering decision to start anew. We’ve all done it, moved from one company to the next. Let’s face it that first 60 to 90 days are always a bit of a roller-coaster ride. Changing jobs is ranked among the highest stressors in a person’s life. It’s like traveling alone to a foreign country, it's exciting to learn and see new things but also nerve-racking to navigate logistics and interpret an alien language.

You want to start on the right foot, making a positive impression on your new boss and colleagues. We provide you with some tips to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Your first day on the job is a bit like being the new kid on the block too. You are coming into a situation where relationships have already been formed. You're the only one who can't find the restroom, doesn't know where the boardrooms are located, doesn't yet realize that the receptionist wields all the real power, and doesn't know not to talk to the boss until she's had her first cup of coffee. There's so much to learn in addition to the duties related to the job you were hired for. It's quite overwhelming for most of us. But just show some courage and you will quickly learn the ropes of your new office environment.

Focus on your core skills
You’ve been hired for your experience and the competencies you bring to the table. So focus on that and you will be able to contribute much sooner, and provide you the needed time to figure out the landscape.  Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts, and believe in your ability to succeed in your new position. But also remember that no one expects you to solve all the organization's problems on your first days on the job - nor that you know everything so, relax a bit, and ask for help when you need it.

Learning is part of the process
You might be all excited about your new position and the opportunities available but it’s better to rather spend some time listening and understanding the culture before you make any changes. Especially in the first couple of weeks, make it your goal to listen 90% of the time, and talk 10% of the time.

Finding ‘that person’
There is always one individual at a new job that understands the underbelly and inner workings of a company better than others. This person is well connected and can make miracles happen at the last hour and is most probable part of the back office. The quicker you can track down this ‘go-to’ person, the easier time you will have.

Quick wins help you early on
Leave the “big vision” on the back burner for a while and identify problems that can be tackled in a reasonable period of time and  have solutions that will result in tangible operational and financial improvements. Jumping in and showing progress will kick start your reputation with solid credibility; increasing confidence in your ability to execute and get things done.

Your initial impressions will set the tone for the relationships, culture, and environment for the future in this company and your role – so be sure you make them good ones!

What’s your best advice for starting a new job?

Communicate Personnel is a specialist recruitment agency, with the very best recruiters. We have placed thousands of top candidates over the last five years at some of the most sought after employers in the country. If you are looking for a new career opportunity we have a variety of Finance jobs, IT jobs, Engineering jobs, Supply Chain jobs and Freight jobs.
View our vacancies and apply today. 

 Apply Here

5 Leadership Skills to Help Advance Your Career

Sandra Olivier - Friday, July 08, 2016

hand with mechanical wheels Business is constantly changing and professionals everywhere must be flexible and versatile when it comes to their skills and knowledge. Individuals must redefine themselves on a constant basis and always be willing to learn new things. Organizations are currently looking to hire leaders who can take collaboration to a new level in building their teams, offers innovative thinking, the ability to anticipate the future and implement required strategy.

Often people are not aware of the fact that there are job skills and there are career skills. Although job skills are the most important as you need to first be qualified for a specific position, hiring managers all agree that soft skills and culture fit is also key. Here are some important skills you will need to develop if you want to take on a leadership role in your career. 

Social Capital
Having a strong network of business contacts can really help out your career. One where you have peers you can go to for advice and help when you need it. You've heard it before and you'll hear it again: It's not always what you know but who. Relationships mean everything professionally, and the people you’re connected to are vital to your success. The key to networking is that it is a mutually beneficial relationship between two or more people. So, give back where you can by sharing news you think your contact would be interested in. It’s never too early or too late to start building a smart career network.

Versatility is your ability to adapt. It’s your aptitude. People with adaptability are both flexible and versatile. This is an important skill to develop in today’s business world as change is a constant.

Each person that works in your organization or on your team is unique. It is true that people can be categorized by generation, gender, nationality, personality style, thinking style, etc. However, at the end of the day people are still unique.

People want to be treated as if they matter and what they think is important. If you step into a manager role you will be responsible for dealing with all of these differences and this requires flexibility, adaptability and the willingness to be innovative with your people to assist them to bring out the best in themselves.

Emotional Intelligence
Most companies nowadays consider emotional intelligence as being as important as technical ability, and often base their decision on the same when hiring or promoting employees. High level of experience in emotional intelligence will boost your interpersonal skills and reduce stress, both of which are vital for hassle-free leadership.

Strategic Thinking
Being able to better analyse and deliver data in a way that everyone can understand is key to advancing. Effective leaders are constantly asking themselves where the company is headed in the near and long term, and proposing fresh approaches that will get them there. All of these abilities are critical as they tie directly into the development of business processes. People in leadership positions need to be able to clearly recognize where changes are needed that will help improve how a business functions.

Credible leaders attract enthusiastic and committed followers, and people want to work for them. No single thing creates credibility. Rather, a combination of things must be in place for you to establish it. Credibility is something that all leaders and potential leaders must aspire to obtain. Establishing credibility as a leader isn't something that happens instantly. It's a process that involves time, effort, and patience. The sooner you start building your credibility the easier it will be once you have moved into a leadership role to have the support of your team.

Communicate Personnel is a specialist recruitment agency, with the very best recruiters. We have placed thousands of top candidates over the last five years at some of the most sought after employers in the country. If you are looking for a new career opportunity in the Finance, IT, Engineering, Supply Chain or Freight industries, view our vacancies and apply today. 

 Apply Here

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Career cycles, where do you find yourself?

Sandra Olivier - Friday, July 01, 2016

Career Cycle Graph As with all things in life, your job goes through different cycles. During the hunt for a new job, you are normally excited about the prospects a new position can offer you. That feeling often changes when you have to face that first day on a new job, everything feels unfamiliar, and you are trying to figure out the new office landscape. Understanding where you are in your career cycle can help you to make better decisions about what your next career move should be.

Cycle 1: “Life is a dream”
Starting a new job can be hugely exciting. You meet new people, you feel valuable, and since you are the ‘new kid on the block’, everybody showers you with attention. The first test associated with entering a new work environment is getting to grips with the people who you’ll be working with from now on. You’re also going to have to learn a lot of names and faces fast. This is especially important if you are a manager, as you will need the full support of your team to get anything done.

As you start to settle in you realise that not everybody seems that happy with the company and slowly some cracks start to appear in your dream job environment but at this point you are still living in the proverbial dream world.

Cycle 2: “Facing up to reality”
Once you have been with the company for a couple of months and start to learn the ropes and figure out the new office landscape, you also realise that there are several imperfection. You start to think that maybe your old job wasn’t so bad as you realise that although there are new systems in place here, some are just as bad and in your opinion pointless as before. You are more and more aware of the inadequacies of your new employers and loose a bit of the positive energy you had at the start.

Cycle 3: “Dissatisfaction sets in”
As time passes you become more negative, and start to feel frustrated and demotivated. It’s hard to admit but you’ve pretty much lost that loving feeling for your job. You no longer believe that you can affect the direction the company is going and are more frequently starting to look around at other positions to find out what the market is like. You deal with a high level of boredom and very high volume of reactive work, which means you’re not learning or growing.   

Cycle 4: “Action”
You’ve reached the cycle where you feel trapped in your job. There are no signs of a promotion, advancement, or anything new happening any time soon. The company culture may be to blame and the best way to avoid feeling trapped is to take some action.

You can hope that your company will change…again. Management and policies change very frequently these days. So, chances are if you can hang in there and be a little patient you’ll soon see changes that you hoped would occur.

However, you also may feel that no matter the change, your road has ended at this company and this might be a great time to pull out your resume and update your brag book.

It doesn’t matter which cycle of your career you find yourself in, whether you are a candidate urgently looking for a new job or somebody looking to form a long-term career building partnership, talk to us. We have a team of dedicated consultants specialising in the Finance, IT, Engineering, Supply Chain and Freight industries. They can connect you with Top Employers in South Africa while assisting you to map both long and short term career objectives and advise you on what steps to take to reach your ultimate career goal. Apply today. 

 Apply Here

Generations and the pay gap in the workplace

Sandra Olivier - Friday, June 24, 2016

business womanRecent studies have shown that the pay gap between genders is smallest in the Gen-Y population. However, the gap still widens for Gen Y (as it does for all other generations) as responsibility level increases. Women are well-represented at junior levels, but not so much at middle, senior and executive levels with very little representation at management or board level. The South African gender pay gap is estimated, on average, to be between 15% to 17%. What this really means is that if you are a South African woman you will need to work at least two more months than a man to earn the same salary per year. The good news is that as the workforce matures, the subsequent generations will experience less and less of a discrepancy. Each year is a step closer to this thinking.  

But for those of you who don’t want to—or can’t—wait around until 2050 to see equal pay, here are four strategies to at least get you closer to even with your male counterparts.

Set the Tone in Initial Negotiations
That first salary negotiation with any employer is critical. It’s harder to get a bigger raise later, so that first negotiation can be make or break for the duration of your employment at the company. Failing to negotiate your salary from the start is not only an initial mistake; it is one that will continue to follow you and will be compounded over the years, disadvantaging you throughout the remainder of your career.

Smart Negotiations is Key
The smart first step for women is to reframe the conversation from a battle to a problem-solving collaboration, which opens a lot more options. You need to prepare for this conversation in advance and know how much more you want and why.  More importantly you need to know what you are worth, how to persuade your employers by also showing how it will benefit them.

Raise your expectations
Women are not as good negotiating for themselves as men are, mostly because of different expectations. Are you aspiring high enough? Raise your own price and you're guaranteed to achieve a better result. A higher salary goal communicates confidence, and confidence inspires confidence and with it higher salaries. Assume that your salary is negotiable, and that you don’t have to accept the first offer you receive. The first step toward successfully negotiating is making the decision to negotiate in the first place.

Don’t be complacent, check your pay status regularly
In business, and in life, things change. Always ensure that you are aware of your current market value and if you discover that your current salary doesn’t match then ask for a raise. Don’t just assume your employer will offer it to you. If you are not getting what you’re worth, you need to speak up. The more data you have to support your request the better. Instead of just assuming you will be taken care of, make sure to take care of it yourself.

Ultimately, if you are looking to negotiate your salary and do the work you also need to be willing to do the work. So, whether you’re negotiating salary with your current company or for a new opportunity, consider the steps above to negotiate the salary you deserve.

Need help in showcasing your worth to your next potential employer? Communicate Personnel is a specialized recruitment agency that can assist you with your job search. Our consultants will help you achieve your career goals and manage the entire recruitment process, from interview to offer stage. We Connect Great People with Great Careers. Visit our vacancies pages and apply today. 

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Managing Different Generations in the Workplace

Sandra Olivier - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

generations in the workplace There are many factors currently influencing the workplace but there is no arguing that it is an ever-changing environment. Today, many people are living much longer, which means you have employees in the work place that often times stay on after traditional retirement age of 65. The way organizations function and interact are changing fast and this is mostly attributed to a younger generation that is joining the workforce with different values and opinions. At this point in time, there are four generations that are active in our workforce, and there's little doubt that having that wide an age range in any organization is bound to come with challenges.

Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Centennials: they all seem to want something different. Boomers are very loyal employees, they love the social interaction at work, will work long hours and are willing to invest time in working their way up the corporate hierarchy. Gen Xers think that boomers are crazy to work so hard, and are so much more sceptical about life in general. They are committed to do a good job, but find it important to go home at night and have a life. Millennials — are extremely impatient; if they're not happy, they won't work through it: they just leave. Centennials is a new breed of young worker that distinctly values independence and individuality. How are you supposed to pull all these people into a team and get them to work well together? Here are some tips:

Mentoring & Learning:
Learning and development matters to everyone, regardless of age or life stage. Overall the older generation tend to still prefer the more traditional forms of training, either from a handbook or presentation. The younger generations are much more comfortable with technology in their everyday life and therefore attracted to learning environments that utilizes interactive technology.

Each generation have a different strength, experience and knowledge they can offer. It’s important to encourage each generation to mentor the other. Inclusion helps to use those differences as leverage to maximize results. In addition, most employees’ value being included versus excluded. Inclusion equals teamwork. Teamwork leads to achieving results faster.

The differences in work life balance
Generations have a different perspective on what constitutes work life balance. Many baby boomers consider traditional company hours for purely business activities and find it unprofessional to take time off for handling personal business during this time. As a result, this generation don’t value things like flexi-time and alternative schedules very highly. In fact they are of the opinion the more time spent in the office the more successful you will be in climbing the corporate ladder.

On the other hand both Gen X and Gen Y yearn for better work-life balance to attend to family or pursue own interest. Generation Y relate to balance in terms of not necessarily working less but rather working differently, more flexibly. Millennials want to be able to work hard and have a life at the same time. Flexibility really is a foundational item for them, not just a 'nice to have’.

As managers it’s important to understand the difference in perspective in order to provide the right motivation for each generation if you want to retain your talent.

For Baby Boomers it’s important to feel in control, they want effective feedback as this helps them feel more in control in terms of what they work on and how they work on it.  They also desire public recognition for a job well done, and like to receive it from management or even peers.

Gen-Xers are motivated more by how their actions contribute to the organization’s success. For them it’s important that feedback should include how their individual progress impacts the company and its achievements.

More than any other generation, millennials crave positive reinforcement and seek to validate their value to an organization. To address these needs, provide daily acknowledgement of their contributions or redirect them immediately if they need to do something different.

Each generation brings to the office unique strengths, knowledge and even challenges, such as a preferred communication style, desired benefits or how they like to be motivated and managed. These differences can be an asset if managed correctly, but they also can lead to misunderstanding, conflict and miscommunication. Understanding the differences will go a long way in ensuring your multi-generational teams are working together productively and effectively.

Communicate Personnel is a specialized recruitment agency with years of experience in the Finance, IT, Engineering and Supply Chain/Freight industries. We can assist with the sourcing, assessing, screening, and matching of candidate to ensure you find the right fit for your company the first time. Contact us today.  


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Challenges Different Generations of Job Seekers Face

Sandra Olivier - Friday, June 10, 2016

ipadThere are currently more and more Millennials entering the workforce and Baby Boomers are preparing for retirement, which leads to some definite generational gaps developing at work. Whether it’s younger people managing older employers or vice versa, there is a huge number of challenges arising because of the differences in age.

While generational diversity in the workforce promotes a broader range of talent, the awareness and impact of these different role players are key to understand in your job search.

One such area is during the job search and interview process. The challenges in terms of generational gaps are plentiful so what do you need to know?

Baby Boomers
If you’re a job-seeker of the baby-boom generation, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed by the way things have changed in the job market. Job boards and networking are now seen as vital ways in which to start your job search.  There are many misconceptions around older workers but the reality is that as baby boomers you are flexible when it comes to chances in the workplace, goal-oriented and more devoted and engaged than your younger counterparts.

When you interview for a new position, you have the opportunity to convince those in charge of hiring that you’re just as passionate, energetic, adaptable and technologically savvy as those half your age. It’s important to show how you are open to new ideas and how you’ve been proactive in learning about new technologies or systems in your field.

Use your age and knowledge gained to your advantage by making sure you convey the impression that you’re mature and experienced but also an enthusiastic individual who’s eager for new challenges.

Don’t emphasize numbers of years of experience, but rather, hindsight, learning from mistakes, self-awareness, and the value you can add as a result of your rich background.

Gen X
The Generation X-ers were born between 1965 and 1980, caught between parents who are aging and children they are raising, many from this generation are trying to balance family priorities and work responsibilities. You’re in your 30s and 40s, in the middle of your lives, your careers, and have a lot of responsibility. You’re caught in between two huge groups of people who are, in their own ways, competing with you head on head.  Boomers to the left of you, Millennials to the right — and you with all the frustrations that come with being part of a smaller generational cohort.

If you are part of this generation you are known for being self-reliant and entrepreneurial, traits that show potential employers that you are ready to tackle any project and don’t need a lot of hand-holding. Your priorities for job search may be different than other generations as you need your career to fit into your life especially with the multitude of responsibilities you have at this stage of your life.

If a boomer is interviewing you, be sensitive to the fact that they might have different views around benefits like flexitime and working remotely and therefore avoid leading with this type of questions.

On the other hand if a millennial is interviewing you talk more about your enthusiasm and interest for growth within the company as they tend to be more involved.

Tech-savvy to the hilt, inspired and informed by global trends, thought leaders, and online influencers, and mostly raised by the baby boomer generation that empowered itself during economically successful times, millennials seem to have it all. Unfortunately, what they also have is a bad reputation – one that warns of being indulged, entitled, and lazy.

First and foremost it’s important to be mindful that different generations exist especially during your job search. It’s your job to adapt to the communication styles of the people you are trying to convince to hire you. You may find that some interviewers have negative stereotypes about your generation. Make sure you do your research before going to an interview and review and prepare some of the tricky interview questions that will be asked.

The chances are very good that you will be interviewed by someone in an older generation so it’s important to highlight the positive attributes of your generation, like that you are highly motivated and intensely focused. Many hiring managers also perceive Millennials as tech fluent, flexible and excellent team players which are all sought after skills. Use that to your advantage.

It doesn’t matter which generation you represent, we understand that job search is not always easy. Whether you are a candidate urgently looking for a new job or somebody looking to form a long-term career building partnership, talk to us. We have a team of dedicated consultants specialising in the Finance,  IT, Engineering, Supply Chain and Freight industries. They can connect you with Top Employers in South Africa while assisting you to map both long and short term career objectives and advise you on what steps to take to reach your ultimate career goal.  Communicate Personnel connects Great People with Great Careers. Apply today.


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Different Generations working Together

Sandra Olivier - Friday, June 03, 2016

ipad In the past the work environment use to be a lot less intricate as it mainly consisted of the old-timers and the know-it-all, young hotshots. Today, the workplace mix is a lot more complicated. For the first time in history, there are four generations working side by side: the Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964), Generation X (born 1965-1976), Generation Y (1977-1995), and the Centennials (born after 1996).

At work, generational differences can affect everything, including recruiting, building teams, dealing with change, motivating, managing, and maintaining and increasing productivity. Millennials and Gen X represents talent, while Baby Boomers represent skill. A younger group brings fresh ideas, but the older colleagues have the expertise to bring those ideas to execution. The benefits of a multi-generational workplace can only be realized when each generation realises and starts to appreciate what the others bring to the table.

When you have to work with colleagues from different generations there can be challenges as different age groups have different ways of doing things. Here are some tips to help you work alongside people from all ages.

Communication style
Typically the older generations prefer talking face-to-face or on the phone, and the younger generations are much more use to text-based messages like email and instant message. When you have to work with somebody from a different generation understand their preference. You are more likely to get cooperation when you use a communication method that they prefer and feel comfortable with.

Cultural expectations
We all see the world through our own generational filter.  The experiences of our youth shape our points of view.
Research has shown that Baby Boomers values personal growth and team involvement. They are labelled as the “me generation”, privileged to be able to focus on themselves. Boomers identify with accomplishments and with achievements that were obtained at work, and personal gratification. They are ambitious, highly-educated, and multi-taskers with a willingness to work long hours. This generation grew up in organizations with large corporate hierarchies, rather than flat management structures and teamwork-based job roles.

On the other hand Generation X has learned to be sceptical of just about everything. So when you have to work alongside this generation be straightforward with them – don’t try to sugar-coat anything. Do not expect them to “give their life to the job” and refrain from giving them too much extended hands-on supervision.

Finally the millennial employee is interested in feedback on their performance. More than any other generation these individuals like to understand if they are doing their job well and will work much better alongside you if they are being coached rather than managed.  

The key to teamwork with colleagues from different age groups is to always try and find the commonality. If too much emphasis is placed on differences, there is a risk of not bridging the generational gap due to a lack of leveraging commonalities that bring employees together.

All generation feel that trust is important and that it must be earned. People need to show that they know what they are talking about (credibility), do what they say they will do (reliability), and keep the other person’s interests at heart (sincerity).

Employees from all three generations desire many of the same things in the workplace, including respect, flexibility, fairness, and the opportunity to do interesting and rewarding work.

Recognising and understanding generational differences can help everyone learn to work together more effectively and transform your workplace from a generation war zone to a productive team.

Communicate Personnel is a specialist recruitment agency, with the very best recruiters. We have placed thousands of top candidates over the last five years at some of the most sought after employers in the country. Communicate Personnel connects Great People with Great Careers. If you are looking for Finance jobs,  IT jobs, Engineering jobs, or Supply Chain and Freight jobs, view our vacancies and apply today.


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