Workplaces today can potentially employ staff ranging in age from 18 to 80, which has implications for employers in terms of managing the needs and expectations of Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z. Generational differences are affecting the workplace and employers need to create a strategy to address this. We’re typically afraid of what we don’t know or understand and these generational differences are often misunderstood, leading to conflicts in the workplace. Communication is the primary leadership trait in dealing with workplaces involving various generations. It is difficult to communicate with someone unless you understand how that person receives information, which is often filtered through generational markers such as culture, economic status, social unrest, war technology shifts and more.
In order to overcome these barriers you must demonstrate some degree of flexibility among different age groups who have different personal and professional goals, needs and aspirations. Make sure to create a workplace that is open and flexible encompassing differring ways of working and work attitudes. Managers must learn to use multiple communication channels when addressing their direct reports. This can include different meeting formats, style of personal communication and use of digital media. As various generations bring different expectations to the workplace, frequent feedback, evaluation, and encouragement will be increasingly important for managers to include as part of their daily work routines. Most importantly, companies must create a space for knowledge sharing. Let older and more experienced generations of employees act as mentors for the younger generations, while at the same time creating an environment where younger generations can inspire older workers with new, innovative, solutions and ways of working.