Different generations at work: How to make it work
How to manage different generations in the workplace
The challenges of the generation gap are significant, but you can overcome them. Here are six tips for managing your employees to get the benefits each generation has to offer.
- Challenge stereotypes
Older generations are often pigeonholed as traditional and opposed to change, Gen X as detached, Millennials as entitled, and Gen Z as flight risks. These stereotypes come from negative spins put on each generation’s work habits and goals, and if you buy into them, they can keep you from creating true collaboration.
Keep an open mind as you manage your workforce. Don’t make assumptions that will limit your effectiveness or your expectations of your workers. Instead, approach each as an individual. Take into consideration the challenges each generation has faced to build understanding.
- Offer training on how to navigate new work conditions
Offer training that will help every employee navigate your preferred working model. Teach them the skills for navigating a virtual workplace and maintaining work-life balance. Offer courses to help build teamwork and increase communication.
- Make diversity and inclusion training part of your L&D strategy
Each generation has different comfort levels and experiences with diversity in the workplace.
Establish a foundation of safety and collaboration by educating employees on how to be inclusive. Share your policies and values with them. Offer courses on diversity, recognizing and overcoming implicit bias, and how to treat one another with respect. Give people the knowledge and skills to support an inclusive workplace.
- Get different generations working together
Intentionally place employees from different generations on the same project. Base placement on what each individual has to offer the team vs. age, and you’ll get a diverse skillset.
As noted, bringing diverse abilities and viewpoints to the table can boost productivity and innovation. It also creates an opportunity for the generations to learn from one another.
- Create opportunities for team bonding
Consider setting up mentoring sessions where more senior employees can coach younger ones on a specific work-related topic.
Getting people together frequently will build a stronger sense of team. And stronger relationships will break down barriers to productive collaboration.
- Offer benefits that speak to every generation
Understand and incorporate the benefits different groups care about. For instance, younger generations may be more interested in salary, career development, and learning opportunities. Those with families or nearing retirement may be more concerned with health insurance and retirement benefits.
Consider how you can best support all of the different generations in the workplace Prioritize the options that make the most sense. Offer training as a regular part of the employee experience. Communicate clearly and upfront about flexible work options as well as healthcare and retirement plans.
When employees know your values resonate with theirs, they’re more likely to see a future with your company.
Managing key differences helps you provide a safe and rewarding workplace for all your employees. It also ensures you’ll be prepared to succeed in today’s business world and adapt to thrive in whatever changes come next.