Speaker to discuss meshing four generations in workplace

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News
Photo of Scott Zimmer.

Zimmer

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A seasoned public speaker, writer and market researcher will delve into the intergenerational nature of today's workforce during two appearances in Kalamazoo next month.

Scott Zimmer from BridgeWorks will present "Bridging the Generational Divide" as the featured speaker for Kalamazoo County's 18th annual Respecting Differences talk.

He will present the program, which is free and open to the public, at 9:30 a.m. and again at 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 13, in Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave. in Kalamazoo. Both presentations will include an on-stage American Sign Language translator.

BridgeWorks has been dedicated solely to the study of generational differences since its inception in 1998. The company has worked with clients as varied as AARP and MTV, including more than 30 Fortune 100 companies. Its personnel wrote the best-selling business books "The M-Factor: How the Millennial Generation Is Rocking the Workplace" and "When Generations Collide: Who They Are. Why They Clash. How to Solve the Generational Puzzle at Work."

To learn more about BridgeWorks, visit generations.com.

About the talk

Zimmer notes that four distinct generations are working together shoulder to shoulder in the labor force, with each generation having a unique set of attitudes, values and work styles.

During his Kalamazoo presentation, he will bring his unique voice and passion for conducting generational research through a global lens to explain who those generations are and identify the stereotypes that keep members of these generations from understanding each other.

He also will present solutions for engagement, team synergy and motivation for all generations; help to develop approaches for communicating across generational divides; and identify key trends associated with the future of the workplace.

It used to be that older workers were bosses and younger ones took orders. Now, roles are all over the map and rules are being rewritten. Zimmer says organizations are feeling the pain of generations as they struggle to manage productivity and morale while maintaining high standards of quality and service in a challenging economy.

Through the Respecting Differences program, he will give attendees the necessary tools to convert intergenerational diversity from an obstacle into an opportunity.

About the presenter

Zimmer earned a bachelor's degree in communications from St. John's University in 2000 and is one of BridgeWorks' generational experts and resident Gen Xers. He grew up in the 1980s and 1990s—sandwiched between the idealistic Boomers and innovative Millennials—so he is able to hone in on the key challenges facing all three generations.

During his 12 years of public speaking, Zimmer has developed a uniquely personable style in which data as well as insight and humor are used to foster an environment in which every generation feels valued and understood. His keynote talks illustrate the stress points between generations and provide clear solutions to help relieve tension and encourage better understanding and collaboration across generational divides.

Additional information

The annual Respecting Differences program began in 1999 as a collaboration between the City of Kalamazoo and Western Michigan University to heighten awareness of diversity issues in the workplace.

In addition to Kalamazoo and WMU, this year's program is being sponsored by the City of Portage, Kalamazoo County, Kalamazoo College and Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. It also is being supported by the Kalamazoo Human Resources Management Association.

Direct questions about the 2016 program to the city of Portage's Rob Boulis at boulisr@portagemi.gov or (269) 329-4402.

For more news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.