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Alice Ma

Fortune Pharmacal Co. Ltd.

Organization and People Development Manager

Read more from Alice Ma

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Engaging Rigid Senior Officials


Hi there,

I'm going to conduct a half day seminar to a group (40 pax) of senior government officials in how to tackle Generation Y employees.  My challenge is how to engage them in this seminar as they are so rigid that they won't cooperate to do any games or activities.  It's be a boring session if it only includes lectures and case studies.  Any creative idea to share?  I'm desperate!  Thanks.


3 Responses

  1. You are going to hate me for this…..

    Hi Alice,

    Sorry but….

    1. If YOU call it a "seminar" they expect to be lectured not involved.

    2. If you are going to look at how to "tackle" Generation Y it immediately suggests a confrontation and that isn’t comfortable…..senior officials often get hierarchical/rank/status focussed/"parental" when they are told they need to "tackle" young people……Transactional Analysis! 

    3. If you think they are rigid; they will be…..if you think they won’t cooperate, they won’t…..people tend to react to the treatment they get.

    4. Senior officials usually HATE doing "games"…they may be ok with "simulations" they might accept "role-plays" but if you tell senior officials (especially ones who are being told they have budget cuts to face) to do "games" they’ll probably think you are Generation Y (ie still in the playground) and reject it all out of hand.

    5. Case studies can be really really interesting….it just depends what you do with them!

    6. An "instructor:student" ratio of 1:40 is going to be very limiting immediately…you might want to re-think this!

    7. Doesn’t this approach suggest a differential in management treatment of staff dependent on their age…..if it does, is this not contrary to the Equality Act? Could not Generation Y employees object to being singled out for specialist treatment and could not Generations A-X employees complain on the grounds of exclusion? Discuss

    8. Finally (and I’m going out on a limb here), how much interaction do "senior government officials" actually have with Generation Y employees? ….Are all Generation Y employees the same… is an unqualified NEET identical to an Oxbridge Honours Graduate Trainee…..and are any of them actually any different from the senior government officials…..they are all human, they have all decided to work for the Civil Service?



    PS Have a good Weekend!



  2. Yikes

    Horrifies me when I see words like this…

    " they won’t cooperate to do any games or activities"

    And why do you think that might be?

  3. Gaining cooperation

    Hi Alice

    Rus makes a good point about how you see this session (you mention you are conducting it to them and that mind set might be colouring your view of it).  In my experience, people will engage with activities if they are real and they can readily identify the benefits. So how about getting them to come prepared with some staffing issues (and I have to assume there are some otherwise why are you doing the session??) that they want/need to resolve and then getting them in small groups to come up with some ideas on how to flex their style to get the most out of their staff, how to tap into their refreshing approach to technology and change in general, how they can learn from them and so on. In this way, you will be more the facilitator than the lecturer and they will feel more in control of their own learning.


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Alice Ma

Organization and People Development Manager

Read more from Alice Ma

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