Bell Helicopter Textron is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tilt rotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell’s global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries. The company employs more than 2200 engineers in Fort Worth, Texas, and Montreal, Canada.
The management team of Bell Helicopter invited Cam Marston to conduct a 90-minute session during the company’s annual supervisors conference. Faced with the challenge to fully engage today’s young engineers in what is a highly traditional work environment, Bell Helicopter wished to better understand what makes the younger generations tick. Prior to the event Cam asked leaders to consider how changing generational dynamics were affecting the company. During the presentation Cam gave clarity on why these changes were occurring and the importance of both understanding Generation X and The Millennials as well as changing leadership attitudes and habits that are in conflict with the expectations of today’s workforce. He also provided the supervisor team with tactical solutions to a variety of challenges common to multi-generational dynamics in the engineering environment.
Cam’s presentation highlighted the difference in motivators for each generation, a critical lesson for Bell Helicopter’s workforce, where the core is comprised primarily of Baby Boomers. His message resounded for the supervisors, who had been struggling with how to engage and reward an employee base that increasingly did not seem to share the same values. According to leaders in the company, many came away from the presentation recognizing that it is okay, and indeed necessary, to take different actions for different employees, as every person has individual motivators and needs. The result has been a sea change in the attitudes and actions of Bell Helicopter supervisors toward their staff. Many opportunities for cross-generational communication have been created or improved, including monthly feedback breakfasts, a company-wide design challenge, town hall meeting formats and more.