It’s not unusual to find a mix of multigenerational employees and managers in today’s work environment, and it’s also not unusual for there to be clashes in today’s multigenerational workforce. As the leader of a business, you likely already realize the unique value and insight your employees bring, no matter how young or old they are. Something else you likely realize is that you have to restructure your workforce in a way that supports the values of each and every one of your employees.
Understand the Gap
Before you can start to resolve an issue, you first have to fully understand just what that issue is. In terms of workforces that have a blend of generations, the wrinkle is the old organizational model no longer successfully meets the expectations of younger workers the way it might older workers. One reason for this is that it’s now less common for there to be a single earner in the family, and that’s even if the earner has a family at all.
There are more opportunities than ever in the multigenerational workforce, opportunities that are often more readily embraced by Millennials who don’t define professional success the same way their older coworkers do. Rather than relying on stereotypes and outdated notions when it comes to younger employees, you should instead bear in mind that Millennials can be just as process-oriented as the Boomer generation.
Start at the Top
One of the first things you can do to mitigate a clash of employee values is make sure your management team undergoes training in order that it can easily recognize generational differences and respond to them. Adapting your multigenerational workforce becomes much easier when supervisors and managers are well equipped to handle unique problems.
Another action you can take is to open the lines of communication between older and younger employees and foster cross-generational interaction. Encourage younger employees to turn to their older coworkers for supplemental knowledge and experience. Not everything can be taught in a class, and there might be some industry information that’s still relevant but not taught in the classroom. You should also encourage your older employees to seek out Millennial employees for a fresh perspective and knowledge regarding new technology and industry information. Make it clear that generations can and should learn from each other.
Another strategy for strengthening your multigenerational workforce is to offer more workplace flexibility. Both younger and older employees are sure to enjoy having the option of telecommuting and performing work offsite. No one has to sit through traffic, and there might be some employees who are more comfortable working at home, in a coffeeshop or elsewhere. Something else to think about with telecommuting is that is can be a great way to encourage Boomers to remain with your company longer now that they can slowly taper off their workloads.
On a related note, you should also be more accommodating of different learning styles. The Boomer generation is likely to prefer being trained through handbooks and PowerPoint presentations while Millennials often prefer more interactive and technological methods of learning, such as on a tablet. Rather than have separate training sessions and divide employees, try to think of ways to blend the two learning styles, which might facilitate some new ideas and fresh perspectives.
Engage Your Employees
If your employees’ minds start to wander, there’s a good chance their bodies will follow suit and wander right out of the door into the arms of another company. Keep their attention rooted on their jobs by offering educational and training opportunities geared towards a multigenerational workforce. Your Millennial employees are likely more ambitious than you might believe, so don’t hesitate to give them special assignments that don’t fall under their regular job descriptions. Such assignments can make for great learning experiences and break the chains of monotony. Provide older workers with training on how their jobs have changed over the years and where they can expect their jobs to go in the future in order that they can prepare accordingly. Forewarned is most definitely forearmed.
Open up your mind and your management style to the new demands of the multigenerational workforce. Doing so is a great learning experience for everyone involved, and it can help improve your company at the same time, which you’re sure to appreciate. For more tips on bringing out the full potential in your business and making all-star hires, be sure to check out more of the expert articles and tools here on Mighty Recruiter.