Dispelling the Myths About Generational Differences in the Workplace
A New Approach to Generational Differences in the Workplace
When addressing generational differences in the workplace, your first step should be to dispel some of the more common stereotypes. For example, have you heard that Millennials feel that Baby Boomers are close-minded and terrible at using technology? How about Boomers believing that Millennials are self-entitled?
The fact is, Millennials were brought up in the age of the Internet, which means for them, using technology is completely natural. If you’ve got some older workers on staff, they can tell you about using a rotary phone and how fax machines were all the rage “back in the day.” It doesn’t mean they can’t acclimate to technology, but it might mean you’re going to spend extra time getting them up to speed.
As for entitlement, older workers might look at their younger counterparts and misinterpret a need for recognition as something else, such as entitlement. Rather than seeing that as a negative, recognize that giving credit where credit is due can serve as a massive motivator.
The real goal of addressing generational differences in the workplace is to find common ground, which leads to a more productive environment where goals are easily met.
Finding common ground means that your disruptive conflicts become a source of inspiration for finding new ways to reach objectives. Rather than having constant conflict, everyone becomes better informed about issues that lead to a heightened level of productivity.
Be mindful of the fact that just because someone falls into a specific generation, that doesn’t define who they are. You might find that a Millennial and a Gen Xer have the exact same preferences on how they want to be managed. You might also find that a Baby Boomer and a Millennial on the same team have identical career aspirations, despite the huge age gap.
What matters is that you address everyone for the individual they are. Some characteristics will be tough to figure out, which is why communication is so important. Your managers and team leaders need to be excellent listeners. But there is more to it than just listening.
For organizations that use the Predictive Index, addressing generational differences in the workplace changes as workplace motivations are identified and reveal what is usually hidden in people.
At PI Consulting Group, we can help you unlock the complexities of the different generations in your workplace and help you build the most productive teams possible. Contact us today and let’s discuss the process.