How to Manage and Lead a Mixed Generation Workplace?

How to Manage and Lead a Mixed Generation Workplace?

In the current work environment, five generations (The Silent Generation, born before 1964, Baby Boomers(1946-64), Generation X(1965-80), GenerationY(1981-96), and Generation Z(1997-2015) are working side by side, each with diverse leadership, communication, and career development styles.

Employees from these generations can offer unique perspectives and bring in different strengths to the table such as identifying a potential solution, enabling a better understanding of the target audiences, teaching each other more efficient ways of performing business and learning to work together in synergy.

However, a mix generational workforce carries the risk of conflict, lack of mutual understanding, communication gap, preference for different working styles, etc. For example, Gen Xers are more likely to be skeptical and independent-minded while Gen Y ‘s or Millennials like teamwork, feedback, and usage of technology.

According to research conducted by Robert Half Management Resources, it was observed that the generational differences are mainly in the areas of communication skills (30%), ability to adapt to change (26%), technical skills (23%) and cross-departmental collaboration (14%).

HR Managers usually struggle to deal with the mix generational workforce. However, by learning ways to manage them, they can play a vital role in making the workplace more welcoming and respectful for all employees.

Below-mentioned are a few tips to successfully manage a diverse workforce:-

Do not make age-based assumptions

To take full advantage of your multi-generational workforce, avoid making any assumptions based on age. Instead, interact with your employees to know about their individual preferences and working styles. This will help them work more efficiently and be more engaging.

Adopt different communication styles

Each generation is open to a different communication style. For example, while Boomers opt for phone calls, Millennials prefer to communicate through instant messaging and texting. You should adopt specific methods of communication according to the employee’s preference.

Foster an environment of learning through sharing ideas

This would enhance one’s knowledge along with inculcating a sense of cooperation as a team. While traditional mentorship is an excellent way of preparing less-tenured employees for advanced roles, young professionals also have knowledge and insights to share with their veteran colleagues. For instance, companies like HIII, PNC, or AT&T have cross-generational mentorship programs to increase diversity and inclusion at the workplace.

You may consider establishing a Reverse Mentoring Program so that Boomers and Gen X’ers can benefit from the skills and perspectives of their Millennial colleagues.

Refine techniques to deliver feedback

Gen X employees want to be left alone, while Gen Z employees want immediate feedback on their performance. Therefore, you should refine your techniques (for instance, using a personalized approach) for delivering feedback.

Promote camaraderie

According to a report on workplace happiness from Robert Half and Happiness Works, employees who have on-the-job rapports are more satisfied than those who don’t. Thus, it is essential to provide employees with an opportunity for building stronger work relationships.

Provide suitable training

Many companies have incorporated inter-generational and interpersonal skills training as critical components of leadership development and management training programs. These programs focus on opening the channels of L&D & creating a work environment to address the needs of incoming generations. Thus, through such training sessions, participants experience how different generations react and interact with each other.

Navigating through generational diversity in the workplace can be challenging for both employers and employees; however, it can be a definite competitive advantage for companies that embrace it.

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