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Bridging Your Workforce’s Generation Gap

Pretty much every workforce can be split cleanly into an older and younger generation. These are the people who have at least two decades of industry experience under their belt, and bright-eyed millennials who are fresh out of education. Generally, younger workers see the older employees as stuck in their outdated ways. The older generation see the younger as naïve and afraid of hard work. While this generation gap is understandable, it’s certainly not something you want to leave alone in your business. Here are some great tips on bridging it.

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Pretty much every workforce can be split cleanly in two with the baby boomers and Gen X in the upper half and Millennials and Gen Z in the lower half. Millennials make up the largest group working and according to Wiki the first generation to grow up with computers.

Generally, younger workers see the older employees as lacking the desire for anything new and prefer the status quo over change. The older generations see the younger workers as naïve and afraid of hard work. While this generation gap is understandable, it’s certainly not something you want to leave alone in your business.

Teamwork Is Dreamwork

Here are some great tips on bridging the inter-generational gap in your workforce so your business gets the best work from them.

First and foremost, stop assuming that one size fits all when it comes to tech. For most of us, especially millennials, and Gen Zers it’s hard to imagine where we’d be without all the gadgets at our disposal.

However, it’s important to remember that the feverish development of technology can be a little overwhelming for older generations. While millennials grew up communicating through emails and texts, baby boomers are in the most laggards but as the saying goes once bitten forever smitten.

Baby boomers will still prefer face-to-face conversations, however where technology assists them to communicate with friends and loved ones who are not nearby they will use it. Gen X and Baby Boomers spend many hours a day on their phones. They are digital shoppers – with six out of 10 regularly using online shopping. Therefore from a business perspective, it pays not to underestimate the desire of your older workers to use technology.

Your younger workers may pick up how to use a new app faster than their more mature peers so use this to your advantage and run workshops where the colleagues help each other grasp the shortcuts and software basics.

Another great way to bridge the generation gap in your workforce is by creating cross-generational mentoring opportunities. Mentors are not always older folk. Your younger staff can mentor their peers irrespective of their age. This will not only encourage more camaraderie between workers of different generations but will also present more ideas for business improvement.

Too Many Chiefs?

We’re all leaders and we’re all followers. In the workplace, less hierarchy is sure to improve collaboration without fear of stepping out of line. Assign leadership roles per activity and share the responsibility among all the workers. Confidence grows in your workers when you show them you believe in their skills including leading a special project.

Foster Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion

Younger generations want DEI in the workplace. Your mature staff may need some encouragement to own it as theirs. Remember we’ve all come a long way in recent decades with the inclusion of people regardless of race, religion, and whether the person is male or female. However, there is still a lot of work to do in the workplace. There will always be biases as we compete for roles and opportunities.

However, companies achieve more with DEI strategies. Customers are more discerning about which brands they want to be associated with and staff also choose which employers are right for them.

The generation gap might seem like a yawning gulf at times, but taking these steps will help close it.

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