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The five generation workforce
For the first time since the Industrial Revolution, five generations of employees now work side-by-side. Differences and diversity build highly productive environments. But the management of these differences is key to workplace success.
Longer lifespans, delayed retirement and an eagerness to begin working earlier are just few of the reasons we are seeing a greater span of generations working together than ever before. And while this new norm is something to be celebrated, bringing opportunities, it comes with its own challenges. Generation X managers, for example, can find themselves caught between managing two generations older than them and two generations younger than them, a difficult feat that can’t be achieved with one overarching approach.
The key is to be able to effectively address and take advantage of the differences in values and expectations of each generation. Here are a few tips to help a multi-generational workplace succeed:
- Conduct regular engagement surveys to keep a pulse on needs
- Motivate with the right rewards – using survey feedback to understand what works best for different generations
- Build collaborative relationships. We understand and appreciate others more when we have the opportunity to get to know them. Creating opportunities for employees of different generations to interact
- Create opportunities for cross-generational mentoring. This can work both ways - don’t automatically assume that younger generations will be mentored by older generations. All age groups have opportunities to learn from each other
- Consider life paths. Understand where your employees are at in their life paths in terms of responsibilities and interests they may have outside the workplace. But don’t make assumptions. It’s important to remember that employees, regardless of generation, share both commonalities and differences
Ultimately, managing generational differences in the workplace is all about creating an environment where people understand and appreciate various points of view, even if they differ from how they saw things going.
By understanding the different mindsets and tendencies of different generations, you can create a less fragmented workforce and make people of all ages build relationships with each other. Appeal to the right people in the right way and you will have a workforce that operates beyond mere policies and processes, and strives to put in that extra amount of effort.
This article is a summary of an article originally published by Baker Tilly Mooney Moore and published with their approval.