Millennials have been the largest generation in the workforce since 2015, according to data from the Pew Research Center, but they’re certainly not the only group in the office. Chances are, your staff is an eclectic mix of baby boomers, Generation X, millennials, and maybe even a few members of Generation Z.
Managing a team of diverse personalities is hard enough, but add a generational gap into the mix and chaos can ensue. Even with the same shared goals, it can be hard for cross-generational teams to function, because different age groups often have a difficult time relating to one another.
Thankfully, it’s possible to bridge the gap with a little time and effort. Follow these tips to get your mature and younger employees on the same page.
Open the Lines of Communication
Each generation has a standard way of communicating, which isn’t always understood by those from another age group. It’s easy for well-intentioned messages to be misinterpreted, causing tensions to rise. Avoid this by encouraging your team to ask for clarification if they’re unclear on words or actions from a colleague of a different generation.
Often times, it’s hard to see things from the perspective of someone mature or younger, so acknowledge the differences of each generation. Creating a dialogue puts these disparities out in the open, making it easier to understand and work past them.
Find Common Ground
Trying to get millennials to function like baby boomers — and vice versa — won’t work and isn’t productive. Instead, help your employees create new ways to work together that pleases everyone. Each age group will need to give and take a little, but when a shared rhythm is established, it will be smooth sailing. Starting fresh will allow everyone to feel like part of the solution, instead of like they’re being forced to adhere to the values of one particular demographic.
Encourage Employees to Learn From One Another
Rather than allowing staffers of different generations take sides, help them see what they can learn from one another. Mature, more seasoned, employees have decades of wisdom to pass down to younger staffers. On the other hand, those newer to the workforce offer a breath of fresh air to liven up stale processes and are more tech savvy.
Creating a mentoring program and pairing employees of different age groups together could be a great start. This will promote the transfer of knowledge and foster a mutual level of respect.
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