Let’s face it: there’s a larger gap between different generations in the workplace than ever before. Today’s up and coming talent grew up in a completely different world than the employees who have been in the same industry for decades, slowly working their way up the ladder–and it shows not only in their technological capability, but in their expectations in the workplace. Your goal is to attract the top talent in your field and keep it, no matter what the age of the employee–so how do you meld those different groups together into a seamless team that keeps your business running as efficiently as possible?
Be results-driven, not process-driven. People who come from different generations may approach problems from drastically different angles and work with vastly different styles–and that’s okay. If an older employee accomplishes his best work without turning on his computer until the very end of the day, while the youngest employee in your office does her best work by staring at a screen all day long, don’t look at the differences in how they’re doing it. Look instead at their results: are they accomplishing the same high standards of quality that you expect from all of your employees? Then they’re not as different as you think.
Encourage mentoring relationships between employees of different generations. All generations have something to recommend them, whether it’s a strong work ethic that believes in “doing your time” and “working your way up from the bottom” or a driven intensity that attacks every problem head-on with the newest technology in hand. Encourage mentoring relationships between individuals of different generations to encourage them to learn from one another.
Be flexible with your routines. Millennials and members of Generation X, for example, prefer not to have meetings for the sake of meetings–they want meetings that are limited to a specific purpose, and that deal with that purpose without dragging on forever. Be aware that a routine that has worked well for years might not work with an incoming generation–and be willing to re-evaluate those routines rather than sticking to them just because “they’ve always worked before.”
Working with multiple generations in the workplace can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Keep your end results in mind and retain your willingness to be flexible, and you might be surprised with the results. Need a little more information? Contact us to see how we can help.