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Battle of the Ages: 10 Ways to Bridge the Generation Gap

Posted by Huyen Nguyen on Sep 27, 2012 9:13:00 AM

Lately we have posted a few articles on behaviors that can have an effect on the workplace, such as problematic personalities, bad attitudes, and business manners. However, what do you do when you have a workforce that consists of four generations and each generation has different values, different ideas, different ways of communicating, and different ways of getting things done? describe the image

The four generations present in the workplace today are the Traditionalists (born before 1946), the Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964), Generation X (born 1965-1980), and Generation Y or the Millennials (born after 1980). Can there really be that much difference between these generations?

Let’s look at an example that will help put things into perspective. If asked to recall how and where Kennedy died, the Traditionalist and Baby Boomer generations would probably say gunshots in Dallas, Texas, referring to the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy. Generation X would probably say a plane crash near Martha’s Vineyard, referring to John F. Kennedy Jr., magazine editor, American socialite, and eldest son of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. Generation Y or the Millennials would probably say “Kennedy who?”

Although there are fewer Traditionalists and Baby Boomers’ in the workplace than there were a few years ago, the generational gap that exists between employees can be a source of contention. Each generation has distinct communication styles, attitudes, behaviors, habits, and expectations. Organizations must create systems and processes that are useful to employees of all ages. Acknowledging that there is a generational gap is the first step to addressing the issue, but organizations must take action to ensure that the generational differences do not hinder employee productivity. So what are some other ways that organizations can bridge the generational gap?

Based on a survey conducted by the Profiles Research Institute, here are 10 ways employers can bridge the generational gap in the workplace:

    1. Initiate conversations concerning the generation gap at all levels of the organization.
    2. Educate managers and employees on the different generations present in the workplace.
    3. Match the different generations within your company with your customer base.
    4. Reward employees based on productivity and performance, not tenure.
    5. Educate and train employees to know how to best approach and communicate with employees from different generations.
    6. Offer appealing benefits that apply to employees of all ages.
    7. Train managers and leaders on how to lead teams with men and women from different generations.
    8. Present various forms of training and tuition reimbursement for employees of all ages.
    9. Establish a mentorship program where employees from older generations teach the employees from younger generations and vice versa.
    10. Encourage and establish multigenerational teams.

Many employees believe that the correct way, and the only way, is their way; despite what they believe, that is not true. In business, to work effectively and efficiently, to increase productivity, and to improve performance, organizations and employees need to understand generational characteristics and plan for success.

Source : Profiles International

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Topics: Workplace Management, Training and Development in Business, Team Management

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