Today’s workforce is more generationally diverse than ever before. It smacks me in the face every time I enter a client’s workplace. Experienced employees of retirement age just keep going – not ready to lead leisure lifestyles or launch encore careers (Helloooo, I was one of them). Since 2015, Millennials (aged 18-34) have become the largest percentage of workers, comprising one third of the workforce. Most established businesses have employees spanning all the generations: that means most businesses benefit from unique advantages and face unique disadvantages.
Understanding the skill sets, values and traditions of each generation can help leadership to communicate better, optimize teams, and retain the best talent.
Volumes have been written about the generations in today‘s workforce, and as a reader of leadership principles you have likely read many. So let me illustrate my point with a simple recommendations:
- Be guarded about making assumptions about your employees based upon generation. Yes, you should understand the general characteristics of each generation but even more important to understand each person’s strengths and limitations.
- Find common ground and treat every individual as a person.
- Encourage collaboration between the generations and foster open communication.
- As with any working or project group, establish expectations early and whenever possible identify solutions that appeal to all the players/generations.
I’d like to hear from you – what experiences have you had in multi-generational workplaces? What leadership tools have helped you to embrace ALL the generations? And let me know if you’d like to learn more about leadership coaching in New York, Connecticut, and the Berkshires of Massachusetts.