Managing a multigenerational workforce can be a challenging, yet rewarding experience. Each generation has its own sense of normalcy, so issues are bound to arise when people from different age groups are thrown together on the same team.
As the boss, it’s your job to help employees acclimate to and embrace one another. When this happens, your team has a competitive advantage, due to the wide range of knowledge represented. Here’s some advice to help you effectively manage workers of all ages.
Don’t Make Age-Based Assumptions
Each generation is known for having a common set of strengths and weaknesses — e.g., millennials excel at technology, while baby boomers may struggle with it. There’s certainly some weight to these generalizations, but they don’t represent everyone. Instead of jumping to conclusions about areas where different employees should and shouldn’t excel, get to know each individual person. In many cases, you’ll find they don’t adhere to their generational stereotypes.
Recognize Their Differences
Many values and ideas of workplace norms are unique to each generation. Take the time to identify these differences, so you can better relate to your employees. For example, baby boomers tend to prefer face-to-face conversations, while millennials favor email and chat. Knowing the best ways to relate to each individual allows you to be a more effective manager.
Play to Their Strengths
Employees from different generations often have different strengths. Identifying and using these abilities makes your team a force that can’t be stopped. Take care to assign each person work that’s best suited to their unique skill set, as this will help the team thrive, while creating higher levels of job satisfaction.
Use the Buddy System
Create a mentoring program to facilitate knowledge sharing between employees from different generations. Each person has the opportunity to learn and grow, while building a stronger bond. When employees can see one another in their element, they learn to better understand and respect one another.
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