Take a look at your staff: what is the age range of your youngest and oldest employee? Have you noticed the different ways in which these two individuals, and the ones around their age, work? Could these differences be related to the generations these employees grew up in?
As a small business owner with a working staff who varies in age, it is imperative to understand how the generational differences impact the way your employees work. When it comes to blending your multigenerational workplace, the bottom line is to approach the challenge with respect—both to the changing times and to your employees as individuals.
Respect Generational Differences
In today’s workforce, it is not uncommon to have a mix of generations on your staff. The Traditionalists/Silent Generation (those born between 1928-1945), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), Millennials (1981-1996), and even the oldest of Gen Z (1996 and beyond), are all of working age and populate today’s workforce. So, when your staff is made up of employees ranging in age from 18 to 80, there will naturally be generational differences. Your older employees may be interested and expectant of formal, structured reviews, while those younger may seek more frequent feedback and acknowledgment of good work.
Part of blending a multigenerational workplace is being conscious of these innate differences, and allowing them to be a part of how you communicate with employees, and
While each of the five generations has their generalizations, it’s just as important to remember that your employees are still individuals. They each come with their strengths and weaknesses that cannot be pre-defined by the year in which they were born. Recognizing and adapting to the ways employees learn and work best can help reduce turn over and encourage employee ambassadorship.
Respect Employee Needs
Similar to respecting the individuality of your employees, a multigenerational workplace can only succeed when you are able to support the needs of your employees. Flexibility, opportunities for employee bonding, and transparency are all things many employees “need” from their employer, regardless of the generation, the employee was born into. Tapping into the things that make employees comfortable and more efficient could also make them more loyal to your business.
Despite the differences that come with managing a multigenerational staff, the bottom line is to remember that creating an adaptive and attentive workplace is the goal. By understanding how employees behave, both in an intergenerational sense and as individuals, you should be able to develop a working environment that is comfortable and accommodating to each and every employee, regardless of age.