Management of the workforce in any organization can be challenging. One of the challenges that have arisen recently is managing generational diversity. Companies have around four generations working for them: the Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, and Gen Z.
Each one of these generations comes with its traits, goals, and needs. How can you ensure that all these generations can come together and work as one force? Fortunately, while it is challenging, there are several benefits of employing multiple generations.
The following five tips will make managing generational differences in the workplace easier:
1. Avoid Generational Bias
While it is good to be aware and understand the generational differences, it is essential to avoid stereotypes. Make sure not to assume things and relate certain traits to all your employees who belong to one generation. This includes seemingly innocent jokes such as Gen Y is lazy, or Gen X is usually left out.
These can hurt employee-employer relationships. Moreover, such stereotypes are mostly inaccurate. A common prejudice is that the older generation does not find working with technology very comfortable. However, it is not entirely true. People above 55 can be less likely to find working with tech stressful.
Instead of encouraging stereotypes, talk to your employees. In this way, you can learn their working styles and individual preferences.
2. Encourage Regular Feedback
This is an efficient strategy to overcome the multiple challenges of managing a multi-generational workforce. Make sure to incorporate feedback sessions into your schedule. You can ask your employees their thoughts and experiences of different aspects of your workplace.
By taking regular feedback from every employee, you will help them feel included. It will make them feel heard. It makes them believe that their opinion matters and you value all their input equally. Make sure you include every member from each generation.
Taking feedback from both sides is very important. Think carefully about how you will give your inputs to various generations. Such open feedback sessions will enable avenues for better communication among multiple generations. Moreover, you may also find out ways to reconcile any differences among them.
3. Assemble Teams with Generational Diversity
For projects, make sure that each project team has people from all generations. It helps in leveraging the strengths of every age. Each generation can bring its unique assets to the project. Moreover, it encourages the members to collaborate.
By bringing together different generations, you can allow them to spend time together. Eventually, they will be able to set aside their differences and build relationships. However, there is also a possibility that some disagreements may arise.
Try to foresee some possible conflicts and take the necessary steps to avoid them. Meanwhile, a few differences can be solved through discussions. It allows them to sort things out and reconcile.
Some tips to make multi-generational teams work include:
- Older employees can mentor younger employees.
- The more senior generation sharing knowledge and their work experience.
- Younger employees introducing older employees to the latest technologies.
- The younger generation sharing any new updates in the market trends.
Adopting Various Communication Styles
Each generation may have a communication style that they prefer the most. They may be more comfortable and convey more efficiently with it. Boomers may choose phone calls, while Gen Z may opt for instant messaging. However, remember that it may vary on an individual basis.
Make sure that you can adopt their different communication styles. Learn which mode of communication your employees prefer and try to embrace it. In this way, each employee will be comfortable and communicate openly.
There are also chances that each generation could learn from the others. They may soon adapt to each other’s communication styles. Ensure that you provide them with ample opportunities to interact with one another. Some of the ways through which this can be done include:
- Group discussions
- Team outings
- Mentoring programs
Accentuate the Similarities
There are considerable differences among different generations. However, there are also several similarities. Ensure to find out what these could be and encourage them. You can remind your employees of their similarities, which may help them bond better and make managing generational differences in the workplace easier.
The most common similarity that most of your employees may share is their skills and interests. Teammates may have some common skills that make them a part of a project. Other similarities could include their values, background, and hobbies.
Generational diversity is common in most workplaces. While it is tricky to manage them, it is not impossible. Remember and incorporate the above tips to bring your multi-generational workforce together.