In today’s business world, the millennial workforce is in full effect, and is now the largest demographic in the United States labor force. Now combined with those that make up Generation X and baby boomers, it is not uncommon to see a rise in tension within certain workplaces.
Differences in age often lead to complications in working environments, with power struggles occurring from time to time, or just general tension being felt throughout. Younger employees may see their older peers as stubborn or unwilling to change, while the more seasoned employees may see the younger staff immature or entitled. Whatever the cause of the issue may be, you as a manager should act accordingly and ease tension that could potentially boil over and affect business.
In order to have your team working closely together, you’ll want to bridge this generational gap. A factor that should be considered is the fact that many people do not want to escape their comfort zones in a work environment, sticking to their own schedules, and rarely reaching out for help without the involvement of upper management. It is fairly understandable. More veteran employees are much less likely to seek help from those younger than them, as it may seem like personal attack on their egos. On the other hand, younger employees could harbor a sense of intimidation when faced with the more experienced team members, preventing them from voicing their opinions.
A lack of collaboration can lead to many missed opportunities within an office. You being in a leadership role should seek ways to spark collaboration rather than wait for your team members to get comfortable with one another. Create a program in which more experienced employees can sit down with newer hires and mentor them in areas where they may be struggling or just unfamiliar with. An intimate one-on-one setting is great for generating collaboration. The younger employee involved will gain a great amount of insight, while he or she will also be able to teach the older employee about advancements in technology that may not have been understood before. It’s a mutually beneficial practice that often time bridges that generational gap.
A company’s culture has been considered one of the more important aspects of success. An environment in which everyone involved is happy, productive, and dedicated is one bound for success, thus stressing the importance of a company culture that is accommodating to every employee. Open floor plans, company outings, and opportunities to show your appreciation for all your employees’ hard work is a way to have your team members subconsciously relate to one another.
Today, more than ever, employees of numerous generations are working together in offices of all kinds. While some may embrace this workplace diversity, there are many that find it difficult to work alongside others of drastically different ages. Consider any of the strategies mentioned above in order to achieve success. Closing this generational gap should be a priority for those in management positions in order to ensure a productive, successful business.