Managing Generational Differences in the Workplace
Awareness of Generational Differences in the Workplace Helps Ease Tension
Baby Boomers are enjoying long careers, and their expertise is still a strong voice in shaping their respective markets. Likewise, sheer numbers are driving the influence of Millennials in the workplace. While generational differences in the workplace could create some tension, there are some steps you can take to turn the merging of various generations into a stronger team:
Be aware, but don’t pigeon-hole people. Nobody likes to be put in a box. Talking about an entire generation having a particular personality trait isn’t a valid approach, and it’s good to be aware of the pitfalls of explaining one person’s behavior away as a generational trait.
On the other hand, it’s good to be aware of how generations shape your company. Know your demographics. Do you have a predominantly Baby Boomer leadership team that requires you to put together a succession strategy, or is there a large Millennial component that requires you to examine leadership potential among their ranks?
Communication is important, but so is the communication format. One of the key generational differences in the workplace is the communication format. While it’s always a bit risky to make generalizations, it’s probably safe to say that Millennials and Generation Xers will be more comfortable with text and email, where a Baby Boomer is likely to prefer a phone conversation or an in-person meeting.
While we’re talking communication, you should also look for ways to encourage it as much as possible. Pair older and younger workers on projects and encourage them to mentor one another in their strengths. For instance, while the Baby Boomer can share a lot of expertise and experience, the Millennial may have insight into new apps that create convenience or streamline a business process.
Encourage a unified approach. In a business organization, you have defined goals that you’re all working towards, and individuals are always going to have different ideas about how to get there. The focus is that you’re all on a team, pushing together towards a set of objectives.
Get a clear picture of employees. If you’re a Millennial manager, it’s easy to see your team of Baby Boomer employees through that lens. It’s better to consider them as individuals and understand their personalities and how certain traits shape their business practices. Utilizing a behavioral analysis helps put some of the hype around generational differences in the workplace to rest.
PI Consulting Group helps companies like yours navigate the challenges that come with talent management, including generational differences in the workplace. Call us for an appointment to learn more about The Predictive Index and other resources we provide and let’s talk about some strategies for turning generational differences into an opportunity for your company.