For the first time, the current workplace is filled with adults from every age group and generation. The oldest group is not ready to retire yet and the youngest group is anxious to make their “mark” in the business world. To work with each generation, it is important to understand that all generations, though influenced by different life events, have valuable skills that can be used to create a dynamic and interconnected team. Regardless of what generation they fall in to, the best way employees can learn to work together is for everyone to understand the influences each generation brings to the workplace.
9 Tips to build a stronger, more productive, generational team.
• Seek to understand the differences rather than judge each generation
• Recognize that no generation is better or worse. They are all just different
• Optimize uniqueness within the workforce
• Begin retention planning on day one
• Help teams create conflict resolution guidelines
• Customize everything you can – including benefits
• Offer the 3 “F”s appeal: Family , Fun, Flexible
• Redefined retirement
• Become a Gen-Mixer
4 Generations In the Workplace
There are generally four generations defined within the business world. Each generation has different values, skills and characteristic, largely influenced by the time period in which they came of age. People tend to retain the values taught during early childhood and their teen years, based on family type, current events and changes in society. By understanding these influences, we can better understand all generations.
a. Born between 1922 and 1943
b. Approximately 7% of the current workforce
c. Historical Influences include: the Great Depression, World War, the Industrial Age and the New Deal Program created by President Roosevelt.
a. Born between 1943 and 1963
b. Approximately 42% of the current workforce
c. Historical Influences include: a more prosperous economy and expansion of good. Vietnam, assignation of President, First lunar landing, Civil Rights Movement
a. Born between 1964 and 1978
b. Approximately 29% of the current workforce
c. Historical Influences: 50% raise in a divorce parent family, first generation of dual career household, massive layoffs by major corporations, oil embargo, Challenger explosion, Chernobyl disaster
a. Born between 1978 and 2000
b. Approximately 22% of the current workforce
c. Historical Influences: Gulf War, Princes Diana, grew up with Nintendo entertainment, home computers and cell phones, AIDS epidemic, loss of space program
When developing a multi-generational workforce, it is important to consider the contributions of each member of the team. Different generations will bring different strengths and weakness to the team but by understanding the weakness you can turn them into strengths enabling your team to succeed. Understanding what you believe are “negative” behaviors will be the key to changing or using the behaviors to your advantage. Consider each worker as a valuable asset, there to help you succeed. Treat each worker with respect, support a free exchange of ideas and most important, allow each worker to do their best. A strong multi-generational team will become an irrepressible team, accepting changes and facing challenges with a strong can-do attitude.
References: When Generations Collide: Who They Are. Why They Clash. How To Solve The Generational Puzzle At Work. …By Lynne Lancaster and David Stillman
Managing The Generational Mix: From Urgency To Opportunity. By Carolyn Marin and Bruce Tulgan
Generations At Work: Managing The Clash Of Veterans, Boomers, Xers And Nexters In Your Workplace.
By Ron Zwemeke, Clarie Raines and Bob Filipczak