Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, Gen Z… our workforce is made up mostly of these four, extremely different generations, but managing a business with these diverse groups in them can be difficult. Millennials currently take up the majority of the workforce, around 35%. However, many Baby Boomers are deciding to work past retirement age, marking a change in the average American workplace.
Despite this, communication continues to shift towards online channels as younger generations prefer to communicate through text, email, and social media. Although managing a multigenerational workplace may have its unique challenges, there are a lot of benefits out there to having different life stages represented in your company, so it’s worth learning how to manage a multigenerational workplace well.
When you have a mixture of different ages, mentorship is a natural way to get cross-generational relationship building. Great employees are always looking for a chance to grow. Leaders are always looking for people to take under their wing. As leadership sets up formal or informal mentorship expectations, each generation will teach others about what they’ve learned from their experience, creating closer, more well-rounded employees. These different perspectives provide a mutual understanding that’s hard to gain from anywhere else.
Transfer of Knowledge
As new generations come and older generations go, each brings and takes with them a new set of knowledge. Younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z tend to know more about technology. Older generations like Baby Boomers usually have a better grasp on higher-management skills like conflict resolution and negotiation. Offer individuals opportunities to teach others about their fields of expertise, and not only will they feel that their skills are valued, but each and every employee will benefit from learning, as well.
Balance Innovation and Experience
Innovation is nothing without the experience to see it through and, without innovation, experience would have nothing to work towards. As older people in the workforce are typically the managers and younger people are the dreamers, the two can work together and make a company that is constantly growing and changing but is also doing so in the most effective way possible.
Create space for conversations between the innovators and the experienced to meet and discuss their ideas. Mediate these discussions and gently guide conversations in a way that’s respectful of both perspectives. The company will get value out of any ideas generated this way, as they’ll be uncommonly creative but vetted by the voices of industry wisdom.
Realize What’s Important
Each generation tends to value different things. Baby Boomers value quality. Gen X values flexibility. Millennials value genuineness. Gen Z values freedom. Each workplace has the opportunity to unite a diverse set of values under one roof by creating a company culture centered on values that everyone can agree on. Finding this neutral ground respects the values of each individual while still giving them something to believe in.