The current workforce is one of the most diverse in history. There are five generations attempting to work together and succeed. While diverse ages in the workplace is good for most businesses, it can cause some frustration between workers. It is important for business leaders to know how to bridge the generational gaps in their offices to ensure that everything runs smoothly and tensions do not run high.
Part of the frustration that arises between multi-generational teams stems from misunderstanding. However, business leaders can eradicate some of this by creating a mentorship program. It gives older employees the opportunity to vet new hires and show them the lay of the land. In turn, it gives younger employees a chance to learn from experienced individuals. The newer workers may even be able to teach their elders something new about technology or analytics. Mentorship programs are great for team building and for helping to close the generational gap.
When an age group feels like they are less skilled at a certain thing than others, this can cause ill feelings and widen the gap. Before this happens, identify areas of weaknesses among the generational workers in your office. For older workers, it may be a lack of understanding of technology. Younger workers may need help adjusting to corporate structure. If you can identify and correct these weaknesses, you may lessen the divide between generations.
Hold training sessions
If you hold office-wide training sessions, it is more likely that all your employees will feel like they are on a similar playing field in terms of skills. Online training courses, such as MasteryTCN’s “AWESOME: A New Generation at Work, Engaging Generation Y,” can help you address specific topics with your workers. Another strategy is to have a different employee lead the training each week. This helps encourage older employees to view the newer ones as coworkers instead of subordinates, and it will make younger employees feel like they are taken seriously.
Host employee social events
To really allow your employees to get to know each other and develop feelings of mutual respect, your company should consider hosting social events outside of work hours. This could be an office party, a team building retreat or even just happy hour and appetizers at a nearby restaurant. Companies should invest in events that give employees a chance to mingle and talk outside of a professional setting. Giving your multi-generational employees opportunities to interact and bond can increase understanding and trust.
Discourage age biases
One of the biggest reasons why generational gaps exist is because there is a social hierarchy associated with age. Generally, younger individuals are supposed to respect their elders. While respect is important at any age, older employees should not demand it from their younger coworkers. If employees are on the same professional level, they should treat each other as equals. Additionally, older employees should give adequate respect to workers that may be younger than them but in a higher position.
A multi-generational workplace is beneficial in many ways, but it is only useful if office managers are able to bridge the gaps separating workers of different ages. Encouraging mentorship programs, training and social bonding are all great ways to achieve this goal. With a little extra effort on everyone’s part, your office should be able to close the generational gaps and become more efficient in no time.