How to get Millennials, Gen X & Boomer's working TOGETHER
Updated: Feb 2, 2019
When I walk into most organizations, the generational gap is on the increase. This is evident in the sense that more college students are being recruited, while seasoned employees are busy delaying retirement to a later age. Against this backdrop, I see people of different ages, ranging from 18 to 70 years, finding themselves working and doing things together in an office. The blend of Gen X, Boomers with Millennials, undoubtedly infuse diversity into the work environment. Also, it adds generational differences in experience, technological familiarity, values, and lifestyle, that can lead to ideological and operational obstacles along the way.
Take America as a case study, according to a 2017 Pew Research Centre Millennials are the largest generation, leading with more than 56 million, compared to the 41 million of older people in the workforce.
Managing different personalities is one of the biggest challenges for managers in any organization. Millennials, Gen X, and Boomer's seem to have the most opposite set of goals, and from all indications, this will become increasingly more challenging if not addressed.
According to recent findings from the Bureau of Labour Statistics, 46 percent of the workforce will comprised of Millennials by 2020, compared to the 25.6 percent increase in senior staffs by 2022.
With this continuous disparity in the generation gaps at the workplace, managers can no longer ignore this issue. Otherwise, they risk decreased productivity, employee turnover and a decline in profits, to name a few. Fortunately, there are some ways managers can capitalize and bridge the gap between the generations and harness the unique skills put forward by both the groups in the work environment.
Creating Diverse Teams
When restructuring, decision maker's should avoid grouping together people of similar age. Rather, they should see it as an opportunity where each generation can come together and learn from the skills both have. Different backgrounds and experiences, provoke different discussions and solutions.
When creating such teams that draws from a cross-section of both generations, managers must also ensure that it is strictly based on skills, instead of age. Like what professor Barbara Khan said,
“Millennials use technology in a much native fashion and integrate with it in ways that I don’t think people in previous generations understand”.
It is very necessary to learn from the unique characteristics of each groups, especially with Millennials. By putting such a diverse team together, both groups will learn from each other skills and increase their level of collaboration and corporation.
Understand the background of your employees, where they are coming from—how they view their workplace role, and what they value. For examples, Millennials take pride in making a difference while Gen X and Boomer's place high value on productivity.
Adopt a Coaching Model
Give serious thought to a coaching model, one which has become a growing trend at many work environments. At Brian Nugent International we created simplified templates that we use, and give our client's to help assists employees by means of asking powerful questions to enable others attain their fullest potentials. Have the model go over key factors of the company culture and mission. In doing so, this will ensure that all staff are working towards the same vision. When employees are coached, it helps in uniting employees and sharing perspectives.
Play the Game Commonalities
Research indicates the more connections/things in common we have with someone the more we can work together harmoniously. For years our company has incorporated this game into many organizations only to see wonderful results. This is a game, where you pair people from different generations and have them find three things in common. Depending on the size of the group, you can have them do this with one person or 10 people, it can be unlimited - you decide. This forces them to communicate on a much deeper level than the normal day-day operational dialogue. Easy topics include, but not limited to: birth place, sibling count, month you were born, favourite place to travel, collections, odd quirks, pet peeves, favourite food and so much more. This is a seamless, but yet fun way, to get everyone in a playful mood that transfers over into greater relationships.
Define Company’s Guidelines
Lastly, clearly define all company’s guidelines and ensure full compliance with acceptable and unacceptable modes of communication. For instance, while Gen X and Boomer's may prefer phone calls to come through as after-work messages, Millennials likely expect them to come as texts or through social media platforms.
The above findings and recommendations are important for managers and HR to study and implement as a way of bridging the gap between Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomer's. Use these tools and you will create greater employee satisfaction among all staff, and a better work environment.