5 Generations in the Workplace! How to Cope.
5 DIFFERENT GENERATIONS IN THE WORKPLACE! How to cope.
by Ann Meacham
Today’s managers and leaders have an unprecedented challenge: up to five generations working side by side in their workforce. Each generation brings its own life stage, communication preferences, priorities, and more.
Problems can arise from differing mindsets and communication styles of workers born in different eras. Frictions may be aggravated by new technology and work patterns that mix workers of different ages.
The key is to be able to effectively address and take advantage of the differences in values and expectations of each generation. But experts say managers must be careful not to follow blanket stereotypes.
Here is a quick overview of the five generations by birth years:
Generation Z: born 1996 & after up to 20 years old
Generation Y: born 1977 – 1995 21 – 39 (aka Millennials)
Generation X: born 1965 – 1976 40 – 51
Baby Boomers: born 1946 – 1964 52 – 70
Traditionalists: born 1945/before 71 and older
1. Train your managers to recognize generational differences and adapt. Start with the leaders.
2. Drop the routines. Experts say Millennials and Gen Xers dislike the formality of regular meetings, especially when there’s nothing to discuss. Limit meetings to when there’s a real need.
3. Encourage cross-generational interaction. Try a mentoring program: Younger employees learn to seek the experience and wisdom offered by senior employees; older employees learn to be open to the fresh perspectives offered by younger employees.
4. Offer different working options like telecommuting and working offsite. Boomers nearing retirement might use telecommuting to stay involved, Xers might need flexibility to attend kid events or attend to aging parents, and Millennials enjoy the freedom of getting work done without being in an office.
5. Accommodate different learning styles. Boomers may favor more traditional methods while younger workers may gravitate towards more interactive, technology-based forms of learning.
6. Keep employees engaged. Provide regular educational and training opportunities and career advice to keep all workers interested in the company. Fuel the high expectations of Millennials with special assignments that are outside their jobs. Consider putting them on a task force to solve a problem.
This is a complex and very real issue. Are you dealing with it like a pro?
Check out my Leadership Coaching Program on this website.
Read other tips in Leaders’ Digest
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