Bridging Your Workforce’s Generation Gap

generationsPretty 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 Generally, younger workers see the older employees as stuck in their outdated ways.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.

First and foremost, stop assuming that one size fits all when it comes to tech. For most of us, especially millennials, 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 generally prefer to use telephones, or even better, face-to-face conversations. While you’re not going to be able to keep everyone happy all the time, there are certainly ways you can reach compromises. If your older workers can fulfill their responsibilities without a certain piece of tech, then don’t force it on them. You should also consider crossing digital and paper-based tools at your business, with things like business checks for QuickBooks.

Another great way to bridge the generation gap in your workforce is creating cross-generational mentoring opportunities. This will not only encourage more camaraderie between workers from different generations, but will also open up more learning opportunities on both sides of the gap. The next time you’re in need of some mentoring sessions, be sure to mix your younger workers in with the older ones. This will present an opportunity for millennials to learn about the value of strict structure and face-to-face interaction, and sap some of the baby boomer’s experience with your company. By the same token, your older workers might be able to pick up a few technological skills, and learn about the modern work-life balance. With a little bit of guidance, both age groups will come out much richer for the experience.

Finally, make sure you’re looking past your employee’s skills and experience, and considering other, equally important factors. New skills can be learned, but a fitting attitude can’t. when you’re looking to develop your younger workers, try to forget their experience and skill sets for a moment, and put a little more emphasis on their behavior. The baby-boomers and older employees are generally much more enthusiastic about the work that they’re assigned. I don’t have to tell you how far enthusiasm goes within a business! Putting workers from this generation in more visible and influential positions can serve to breathe life into employees who might be slightly more jaded. The next time you’re putting a team together, be sure to consider these kinds of valuable soft skills.

The generation gap might seem like a yawning gulf, but taking these steps will close it rapidly!

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