NEWS: Harrington Hired to Discuss Generations with the USDA

Leadership Speaker and Author Addresses the USDA-Rural Development Department about Generations in the Workplace

Over 60% of employers say that they are experiencing tension among employees from different generations in their workplace.  Studies have shown 70% of older generations dismiss younger generation’s talents, while 50% of younger generations dismiss the talents of their older generations.  Matthew Harrington, leadership speaker and author specializing in the Millennial generation (1980-2001), was brought in to discuss some of these unsettling statistics as he presented for the USDA’s Rural Development Department at their All Staff Retreat on June 5th in Littleton, New Hampshire.

Harrington used the opportunity to discuss with the group what defines a generation – not just time dates, but rather the experiences that occurred during the formative years of each generation that helped define their outlook and beliefs about the world around them.  According to Harrington, “because of these different experiences each generation, each group comes to the table with different beliefs and expectations about the world and the job they work at.  This can cause tension and conflict in our organizations among diverse generations with different outlooks.” 

The 2015 year marks what experts suggest will be the year that the Millennial generation, the youngest generation in the workplace, will become the largest demographic in the workplace.  The Millennial generation has become infamous for their lack of loyalty to organizations, their familiarity with technology and their need for affirmation and continuous feedback.  Current reports suggest that the Millennial generation, representing approximately 93 million people, will make up 75% of the workforce by 2030. 

“It is imperative that today’s organizations discover new ways to excite and engage this generation and harness the raw talent that they bring to work,” states Harrington.  “Likewise, we have to find ways that we can combine the experiences, talents and differences in each of the generations to tackle many of the monumental challenges we face in the future: ongoing globalization, economic stability, accelerating technologies and an increased volatile and uncertain business climate.”  The presentation for the Rural Development Department focused on how organizations can begin to strategically build a workplace culture that encourages Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers to engage, lead and, in turn, create great organizations together.

Author of Survival of the Hive: 7 Leadership Lessons from a Beehive and considered an up-and-coming dynamic trainer and speaker, Harrington is a subject matter expert on social media, social learning, the Millennial generation, and new forms of leadership within the workplace.  Harrington’s ability to work on both sides of the leadership spectrum between senior leadership, managers and young professionals provides trainings and workshops that bridge the generational gap.  Harrington is a business partner at New Directions, an innovative leadership and team-building firm that works with companies like Keurig Green Mountain, Alcoa manufacturing, Killington Resort, the Clark Art Institute and Coca-Cola. For more information on Harrington visit

USDA Rural Development Department is committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. By offer loans, grants and loan guarantees to support essential services such as housing, economic development, health care, first responder services and equipment, and water, electric and communications infrastructure, the Rural Development Department is passionate about helping rural America.