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5 Ways To Make Different Generations Get Along At Workplace

5 Ways To Make Different Generations Get Along At Workplace

It is not unusual nowadays to find four different generations of workforce toiling away in the maze of cubicles or in the long tables of the open office. Millennials, Gen X-ers, Baby Boomers and Traditionalists work side by side, with each group having distinct work habits, motivators and preferences. The 50 year average age gap among employees show the change in work patterns in recent years brought about by recent financial crises, making it more prudent for baby boomers to keep on working beyond retirement age.

The differences between generations are distinct and unique as the people who represent them. Milennials want a work-life balance and job-hop. Baby boomers are loyal. Gen X are entrepreneurs and are results-oriented. Traditionalists have great work ethics. This can be both a boon and a bane for managers who need to balance the generations out in order to get the most out of their workforce.

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Here are 5 strategies to help everyone get along at work:

1. Educate your team and management

Train your teams and managers on the differences of generations and work styles. It’s not enough that managers learn how to deal with different generations, each employee also needs to learn how to deal with the co-workers they work with.

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There are many professional seminars on dealing with different generations available today. Most companies offer such programs in-house, recognizing the value of training employees on such topics.

2. Create multigenerational teams

When new projects come up, group your teams in accordance to skill and not age, and mix it up with each new task. Everyone has something to contribute and though the work styles and experiences may be different, with a shared goal and a shared sense of responsibility, people learn to work together better. It is too easy to build a team based on age group. However, this is not maximizing and balancing the talent of your workforce.

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It is also beneficial to get an idea from each team member on who do they think should be part of their team for various tasks or to achieve specific goals. Such information is useful when you are creating teams in the future.

3. Establish a Mentoring Program

Establish a formal mentoring program in your office. Pick people who want to share what they know and people who want to learn or who need a little coaching. Mentoring can go both ways, especially with multigenerational employees. A traditionalist can share his experience with a millennial. The millennial in turn can share his knowledge of technology with those not comfortable with using it. This mentoring can be done even outside the office, in a more informal setting that will suit both parties. Mentoring aims to develop the employees career-wise and personally.

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4. Celebrate little victories

Celebrate team victories, no matter how small and whether work-related or not, by hosting gatherings: Lunch together as a team, grab a drink or two after work, perhaps schedule bowling or some activity that everyone in the group can participate in. People who are closer in age will normally get together for lunch or quick snack in the office. Rarely do they invite people who are not in their generation. Managers or team leaders need to take initiative on getting the team together informally. People are more relaxed and open to new things outside the office.

5. Invest in Team Building

Schedule team building exercises for your division. Team building is an effective tool in building a cohesive unit. Shared tasks and goals, establishing trust and support from your co-workers goes a long way in bridging multigenerational gaps. Team building also emphasizes differences and individual contributions of the group in achieving specific targets. It can also address personal issues between team members.

Team building is needed when there are conflicts in the office, different generations working together, and when there are many new faces in the team.

Featured photo credit: office office/anurag agnihotri via flickr.com

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Lianne Martha Maiquez Laroya

Lianne is a licensed financial advisor, Registered Financial Planner, entrepreneur and book author.

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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