Generational workforce differences can prove beneficial to an organization if they are managed the right way. There are currently five generations that make up the workforce, and here they are from oldest to youngest: Traditionalists (born between 1925 and 1945), Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), Generation X (born between 1965 and 1979), Generation Y (aka Millennials born between 1980 and 1994), and Generation Z (born after 1995). With the rate at which society has been progressing, younger generations (such as millennials and generation z) have developed different values and habits than older generations (such as Baby Boomers and Traditionalists). While these generations have different things of equal value to contribute to the workforce, it can become a problem if they clash in the workplace. And since these generations tend to respond better to different styles of supervision, managing a multigenerational workforce can be a challenge for employers.
Train managers on generational workforce differences
To create a workplace where all generations feel comfortable and productive, it’s important to train managers on the characteristics of different generations and what factors keep them satisfied. When managing a multigenerational workforce, you must move beyond a one size-fits all approach. For example, younger generations like Generation X and Generation Y tend to prefer more flexibility as to how their work gets done. They often are productive working alone and may want the option to work remotely. Many Generation X workers have children and aging parents and your managers should accommodate their need for schedule flexibility in this area. But older generations like Traditionalists and Baby Boomers are likely to respond better to a more structured work environment and more face time with managers in the office.
Removing negative stereotypes and bias
It’s helpful for your managers and other employees to be aware of generational workforce differences without drawing negative stereotypes. For example, just because millennials tend to be more tech-savvy and tend to respond well to regular feedback and praise doesn’t mean they should be seen as “entitled”. When managing a multigenerational workforce, it’s important supervisors focus more on the employee’s individual values and strengths as opposed to making a general assumption of who they are based on their generation. Conduct regular training to remove negative stereotypes older generations may have about younger generations, and vice versa. Encourage more positive attitudes from your employees about generational workforce differences. For example, Baby Boomers can teach millennials how to perform best in face-to-face meetings, and millennials can educate Baby Boomers on how to utilize technology (such as Skype and e-mail) to conduct more business and waste less time.
Create success for your business with multigenerational teams
Once you have considered both the generational and individual characteristics of your staff, keep these in mind when creating teams at your business. Communicate to all team members the different skills each individual brings to the group and how they all balance each other out. Train employees on how they can work together to effectively achieve business goals. To track the progress of each employee and identify any necessary changes you need to make along the way, it’s important to get regular feedback from employees when managing a multigenerational workforce. To find out some of the best tools for receiving quality feedback from employees, check out this helpful article from HubSpot.
Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.