What You Can do to Reduce The Impact Of Generational Differences in The Workplace
Generational Differences in the Workplace Don’t Have to be Negative
For the first time in history, CEOs are navigating the management of five generations all under one roof. Baby boomers are watching millennials flood the workforce, and it’s your job to make sure that their skills and personalities complement one another. Generational differences in the workplace presents a unique challenge for today’s CEO, but these professional relationships between members of different age groups can thrive.
There are some simple steps you can take to ensure that generational differences in the workplace work in your company’s favor and foster growth in each of your employees:
Create a structure for mentoring to happen. You would think that millennials would walk into your workplace and make a beeline for those experienced, wise baby boomers. Likewise, you’d expect that Gen Xers would be thrilled that there’s somebody on staff for whom the newest technology is a breeze and are ready to give a tutorial on the latest apps to make everyone’s jobs easier.
If you put yourself in your employee’s shoes, you can see why this rarely happens. Ego and pride get in the way of complementary, intergenerational relationships forming. It’s just too hard to walk over to a younger colleague that you imagine may be after your job in a promotion and ask them for advice.
This is why you need a formal structure for mentoring opportunities. Enroll new hires in a matching program that aligns them with a more experienced employee for coffee meetings or lunch and provide them with discussion questions to get the ball rolling.
Set up intergenerational collaboration groups. There’s a lot of enthusiasm right now for work teams that are complementary in skills and specialty areas. The same types of benefits can be gained when you include multiple generations in one team. Your new college graduates will have insight into some of the newest tools available for improving productivity and streamlining tasks, while your seasoned employees will have insight and experience to share.
Make sure your culture includes everyone. Company culture is a great focus for CEOs, because it’s clear that employees are happier in a culture that fits their work style and personality. However, it’s important that your culture absorbs generational differences in the workplace. A progressive culture may draw millennials, but if your emphasis lacks depth and focuses instead on trends that appeal to only young people, you may miss out on the experience you need from older hires.
Focus on the individual. Generational stereotypes can only go so far. As you get to know your employees as individuals, you may find a millennial or two that far prefer face-to-face conversation to texting, or a technology-loving baby boomer that is always on social media. Utilizing a tool like a behavioral analysis can help you get an objective picture of your employees, including information about their tendencies and motivations.
Whether it’s generational differences in the workplace, gender differences or working with a wide variety of skill sets, it’s always a great idea to get to know your employees individually. Talk with us at PI Consulting Group to find out how the PI System can help you manage the range of ages that today’s workplace presents.