As a supervisor, you are faced with many challenges. The workplace is inherently comprised of employees who are diverse in the way they approach tasks, react to situations, communicate, and much more. While some of these differences are due to varying personality traits, often generational differences are at play. How do you manage generational differences in the workplace?
Who are the Different Generations?
First, it is essential to understand who the different generations are and their mindset. There are currently four different generations working alongside each other in the workforce.
- Traditionalists – This is the oldest generation in the workforce. They were born between 1928 and 1945. They respect authority, obey rules, and are dedicated to their jobs.
- Baby Boomers – This generation was born between 1946 and 1964, before the option to work remotely and attend conferences via video chat existed.
- Generation X – This group is known as the entrepreneurial generation. They were born between 1965 and 1980 and prefer to be self-sufficient.
- Millennials – This is the youngest generation in the workforce to date. They were born between 1981 and 1996 and embrace technology.
How Do You Manage the Generational Differences in Your Team?
You will not be able to fit each generation’s style 100 percent, and that’s okay. This is more about bridging the gap. Here are a few tips for nurturing a cohesive multi-generational team.
Communication is Key
Use different forms of communication. If you need to relay information to one specific employee, then tailor your communication method. If they prefer, then, by all means, shoot them a text. If the employee prefers face-to-face, see that person in his or her office. Have a policy in place when communicating with your entire team, such as using email.
The Use of Technology
Older generations may struggle with adapting to technology, while newer generations crave it. In these circumstances, it may be beneficial to divide your staff into teams, in which you have a younger generation paired with an older generation team member. They will each bring different strengths and weaknesses and mutually open the other one up to new ways of doing things.
Get to Know Your Team
Understanding and getting to know what motivates your employees is hugely beneficial to close the generational gap. Hold periodic feedback sessions to learn what is working, what needs improvement, and where employees are becoming frustrated. Every generation has something of value to bring to the table, and a staff comprised of multiple generations will only strengthen your company!
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