Generational differences are in many businesses but it is the way it is handled that will determine how productive the employees will be. Employees from each generation believe differently about how a job is done. With four different generations in one department, trying to get that job done will end in a collision instead of a collaboration.
Comments like… Just do your job!, I am the boss and, He wants a promotion after only six months, ha!… all create different reactions among people. The different reactions are proof that generations are not the same; each one has a different way of thinking. This must be recognized and dealt with so all employees feel equal and will be productive. An employer must be proactive and learn how to manage everyone, this might mean attending seminars on relevant topics.
A boss comes from a generation and probably thinks and feels the way others the same age do. Because of this, attending seminars and learning to be aware of differences will allow the boss to understand how others think. A boss will then be able to identify the perceptible generational differences immediately and can adjust the way they manage them. This is beneficial because upper management starts to really know their teams and assigning projects becomes easier.
It is apparent of the different things each one knows, take for example how and where Kennedy died. The Veterans and Baby Boomers will tell you the gunshots were in Dallas Texas. When you ask the Generation Xers, they will tell you about a plane crash near Martha’s Vineyard, Mass and the Millennials will have no idea who you are talking about! With all these different perceptions how can everyone collaborate effectively?
It is the responsibility of upper management to learn how to communicate with everyone. Not only should management attend seminars and training programs but it is a good idea to have the whole company attend them. These seminars and training programs will teach employees to understand differences among the workplace. It should help with co-workers communicating among one another, thus productivity increases.
Truly, there are many benefits when upper management participates in these programs beginning with communication. Don’t keep it one sided, encourage each generation to share knowledge of work ethics. The more people know about each other, the more knowledge everyone has and the key is to put it to good use. New ideas will pop up because of employees sharing what they know and this can really give a company an advantage.
A company must decide how having four different generations in one workplace is going to work. Without any type of structure there will surely be a collision; meaning productivity won’t be up to its potential. Collaboration is what a company needs for success so addressing these noticeable generational differences is key.