Closing the generation gap

Baby Boomers are stubborn.

Millennials are self-entitled.

Generation X is apathetic.

Posts are…wait, what’s a post?

Stereotypes have their place, but the office isn’t one of them. We’ve all heard the above statements about our fellow employees and employers. Some might even be true, but it’s important not to dwell on them, as workplace harmony is crucial. Ageism aside, how can you make the most of the many generations that populate your office?

Listen – This goes for the oldest of the Baby Boomers to the youngest Millennial. For an office to run efficiently, all parties must listen to one another. If a company has been operating on the same frequency for decades, a Millennial might spot something that could be done to streamline the process. In the same respect, a particular process might be set in place for a reason. Millennials and younger Generation X-ers could benefit from the experience of a Boomer, and would be wise to listen up.

Engage – A great manager knows how to engage his or her employees, and it can get tricky when dealing with three different generations. One way to combat the generation gap would be to engage employees different. Baby Boomers prefer a team-oriented workplace. If you notice a younger person in your company sharing this characteristic, consider integrating that team member with an existing team. Another way to engage your employees is to ask them what motivates them. While the trend follows that Baby Boomers don’t expect praise while Generation X-ers and Millennials prefer instant gratification, this may not hold true for all team members. See what they want and adjust accordingly.

Play to strengths – The best part of having a multi-generational workplace is the myriad skill sets each group possesses. You have over 60 years of experiences to draw inspiration and motivation from. It’s already good practice to encourage employees to play to their strengths, but what if you took it one step further? Find out the nuances of each generation – your employees will thank you for it. This chart from Fairleigh Dickinson University will serve a good starting point:

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