Different Generations working Together

ipad-820272_640.jpgIn the past the work environment use to be a lot less intricate as it mainly consisted of the old-timers and the know-it-all, young hotshots. Today, the workplace mix is a lot more complicated. For the first time in history, there are four generations working side by side: the Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964), Generation X (born 1965-1976), Generation Y (1977-1995), and the Centennials (born after 1996).

At work, generational differences can affect everything, including recruiting, building teams, dealing with change, motivating, managing, and maintaining and increasing productivity. Millennials and Gen X represents talent, while Baby Boomers represent skill. A younger group brings fresh ideas, but the older colleagues have the expertise to bring those ideas to execution. The benefits of a multi-generational workplace can only be realized when each generation realises and starts to appreciate what the others bring to the table.

When you have to work with colleagues from different generations there can be challenges as different age groups have different ways of doing things. Here are some tips to help you work alongside people from all ages.

Communication style
Typically the older generations prefer talking face-to-face or on the phone, and the younger generations are much more use to text-based messages like email and instant message. When you have to work with somebody from a different generation understand their preference. You are more likely to get cooperation when you use a communication method that they prefer and feel comfortable with. 

Cultural expectations
We all see the world through our own generational filter.  The experiences of our youth shape our points of view. 
Research has shown that Baby Boomers values personal growth and team involvement. They are labelled as the “me generation”, privileged to be able to focus on themselves. Boomers identify with accomplishments and with achievements that were obtained at work, and personal gratification. They are ambitious, highly-educated, and multi-taskers with a willingness to work long hours. This generation grew up in organizations with large corporate hierarchies, rather than flat management structures and teamwork-based job roles.

On the other hand Generation X has learned to be sceptical of just about everything. So when you have to work alongside this generation be straightforward with them – don’t try to sugar-coat anything. Do not expect them to “give their life to the job” and refrain from giving them too much extended hands-on supervision. 

Finally, the millennial employee is interested in feedback on their performance. More than any other generation these individuals like to understand if they are doing their job well and will work much better alongside you if they are being coached rather than managed.  

The key to teamwork with colleagues from different age groups is to always try and find the commonality. If too much emphasis is placed on differences, there is a risk of not bridging the generational gap due to a lack of leveraging commonalities that bring employees together.

All generation feel that trust is important and that it must be earned. People need to show that they know what they are talking about (credibility), do what they say they will do (reliability), and keep the other person’s interests at heart (sincerity).

Employees from all three generations desire many of the same things in the workplace, including respect, flexibility, fairness, and the opportunity to do interesting and rewarding work.

Recognising and understanding generational differences can help everyone learn to work together more effectively and transform your workplace from a generation war zone to a productive team.

Communicate Recruitment is a specialist recruitment agency, with the very best recruiters. We have placed thousands of top candidates over the last five years at some of the most sought after employers in the country. Communicate Recruitment connects Great People with Great Careers. If you are looking for Finance jobs,  IT jobs, Engineering jobs, or Supply Chain and Freight jobs view our vacancies and apply today.