Managing Generational Differences in the Workplace to be an Asset for Your Company
Generational Differences in the Workplace
It’s not unusual today to see multiple generations working in the same place at the same time, often on the same teams. It is possible there could be up to five generations present working toward the same goals. Can generational differences in the workplace lead to disconnect and unproductive situations? Or, can generational differences in the workplace be an asset?
Don’t Make Assumptions
Certainly, as Millennials can attest, stereotypes and preconceived notions about specific generations can be a detriment. Millennials are at the center of it now as they are being assigned many traits that may or may not be accurate. The truth is, individuals are individuals, regardless of their generation.
Having said that, does this mean that the younger generation doesn’t feel that the older generation has difficulty adapting to technology? Does this mean that workers from an older generation don’t question the work ethic of those younger than them? These types of questions do come up around stereotypes of each generation, but it doesn’t do any good for managers to buy into these stereotypes. Rather, leaders need to take an individualized approach to managing their multigenerational teams.
For example, a person who fits snugly within the era of the Baby Boomer generation shouldn’t be omitted from a team simply because they are perceived to have an inability to work with the latest technology the team is using. Rather, they deserve to be taken aside and introduced to the technology and given the time to absorb it so they’re up to speed with younger people who were brought up with a technology that is second nature to them by now.
This doesn’t apply solely to the older generations – every team member, as they are assigned a task, should be briefed to ensure they’re clear on many aspects of the task at hand. Have you clearly outlined what their role is with this specific task? Have you established firm deadlines? Are processes being used to reach a goal been explained so that everyone understands how to use them? You might find that one generation will need more time with one or the other of these aspects of the job, but don’t make assumptions.
Know Whom You’re Hiring
There is a lot of guesswork that goes on when you bring a new person onto a team. Despite a rigorous hiring practice, there remain unknowns about how a person will respond when put in a specific scenario. The way to be better prepared for these situations is to include the predictive index in your hiring practice.
At PI Consulting Group, we’re the predictive index experts. We utilize a scientifically proven method that helps our clients know exactly how a person will fit into a team. Will they buy into the company culture? Will they be a good fit with your multigenerational workforce? Contact us today and we’ll help you find out.