Managing Multiple Generations in the Workplace
Sep 1, 2021
Do you find yourself managing multiple generations of employees in your workplace? Do you feel like it is hard to keep everyone on the same page? If so, this blog post has some helpful tips for managing different generations. Read on to learn more about generational diversity and how each generation values work differently.
Generations in the Workplace
Managing a diverse workforce is challenging, but it can be done. A recent Gallup poll found that more than 50% of U.S. workplaces consist of people from two or more generations in the workplace at once, and this number will only continue to grow as baby boomers retire and millennials take their place. These generations include “Traditionalists” (born before 1946), “Baby Boomers” (born between 1946-1964), “Generation Xers” (born between 1965-1980) and “Millennials” (born between 1980-1994), and “Generation Z” (born after 1995).
Multigenerational management can be complex because each generation has different motivations, perspectives, and needs. However, learning about the generations that make up your workforce will help you better understand them by their characteristics which define them as a group.
Traditionalists value hard work and loyalty. They value in-person communication and prefer face-to-face meetings to other forms of collaboration like email or workflow management tools. They can be slow to adapt, but they have a lot of life experience that managers should leverage in the workplace.
While Baby Boomers are known for their strong work ethic, they also share a competitive and goal-driven spirit. They grew up learning that their worth was tied to professional achievement. As a result, they tend to be self-assured and independent thinkers who will not hesitate to question authority if necessary. Similar to the generation before them, this era thrives on working with others either virtually or face-to-face while providing discipline and resourcefulness at all times.
Gen Xers prize work/life balance and have a high tolerance for change, which can help companies maintain stability through generation turnover. Gen X grew up with computers and is comfortable communicating both in person and through email and technology. They appreciate a hands-off management philosophy and value self-sufficiency.
Millennials prize independence and flexibility with their career path, which may not fit well with established corporate structures or expectations. They are tech-savvy, but their reliance on technology can affect the way they interact with others. They appreciate instant feedback from their management and tend to like specific instructions.
Generation Z” (born after 1995) are digital natives with experience on social media at an early age; they’ll expect instant feedback as well as constant communication from their employers to keep them in the loop about company decisions.
The Benefits of Generational Diversity
While maintaining a generationally diverse workplace does require some thought as to your management approach, mixed-aged teams allow the different generations of employees to share their unique skills. Older workers can teach younger ones valuable knowledge accumulated over decades, while young people provide innovative ideas and insight into new technology. With more collaboration between these two groups comes a greater variety of thoughts which inevitably leads to increased innovation for your company’s projects!