One of the results of the coronavirus pandemic is that many more people are working from home where possible. Even in the produce industry, where many vital parts of the industry require on-site presence, many people are now working from home. This is a new, unprecedented occurrence and can cause friction within companies during an already difficult time.
Generational differences can pose challenges
Patrick Kelly is one of the co-authors of the book Millennial Boom!, and part of his work is to help educate people in companies on the generational gap between the millennial and the baby boomer generation and to provide these companies with tools to learn how to navigate these differences to create an environment ripe for innovation.
“I grew up in the produce industry and was picking oranges at the age of 14,” Kelly shares. “Growing up in this industry, I’ve learned that it is dominated by the boomer generation. That’s the way it was when I was growing up, and it’s still that way today. And I have experienced many times where I wasn’t taken seriously because of my age and because the way in which the boomers would acknowledge experience and skill didn’t align with what I was offering. Then I met Hans Finzel, who co-authored Millennial Boom! with me. Hans is from the baby boomer generation and together we wrote this book that explores the different mentalities of these two generations and help the two generations thrive together in life and work! Let’s not forget that the experiences and stories in the book are from our industry.”
More than 80% of the people in the produce business are from the boomer generation today. Kelly says: “This is why it is necessary to figure out a way to work together. In a few decades, this number is going to be down to 0% and we need to find a way in which this transition can be constructive and positive rather than hostile and uncomfortable.” As Hans Finzel, says: “condemn or collaborate.”
“Be reactive and resilient during this time”
One of the best ways to adapt to this new situation is to be reactive and resilient, Kelly recommends. “The produce industry is a place where people are generally proactive and aggressive, and this is what helps them be successful. But in this type of situation, we need to turn that around and need to focus on being reactive and resilient instead.”
Another recommendation by Kelly is about the use of the Zoom application: “Apps like this need to be used for productivity. Once it is being used to ensure attendance from the people working from home, that’s when you have an issue. This situation is an opportunity to find out how well you understand the culture of your company, and a way to bridge the gulf of technology.”
Helping out during times of crisis
Due to the precautions taken to prevent the spread of the virus, the events Kelly had scheduled this month had to be cancelled. To make up for this, and to help out everyone in the industry struggling with this new status quo, he will be offering his book for free during the first half of April and will also be providing 10 sessions of millennial boom training for free on the Millennial Boom social media channels.
“There is a huge opportunity cost to not getting along in the workplace. Our goal is to help people within the sector work together and thrive together, and through this create new opportunities for the industry,” Kelly concludes.
To follow the training with Patrick Kelly and Hans Finzel through April 15, click here.
To get a free copy of the e-book, click here, and enter the following coupon at checkout: MillennialBoomFree