The multigenerational nature of today’s workforce has become the focus of countless articles and even books on management. With three generations of workers already present in the workforce and a fourth generation set to start graduating from high school in the next two years, managing presents challenges it has not presented in past decades.
Here are four tips to help you manage your multigenerational workforce:
- Understand each generation’s communication style. For boomers, communication is an art form. For Gen Xers, it’s a means to an end. For millennials, communication can become a distraction due to its speed – texting, Snapchat, and messaging all move at a pace that letters and emails did not. Millennials in particular are more likely to see short communication as efficient, while older workers may see it as blunt or even rude.
- Pay attention to how each generation relates to technology. For the oldest workers, technology still has a “wave of the future” feel to it. While millennials are generally seen as the “tech generation,” in many companies, it’s the Gen Xers who really know their way around the system – they grew up programming their own computers, while millennials grew up as end-users. Utilize each generation’s tech strengths, and appoint people to support one another’s weaknesses.
- Set clear expectations. Regardless of the generation they’re from, every worker needs clear expectations and an understanding of how their work contributes to the overall success of the organization. Therefore, managers need clarity of understanding, as well as skill in breaking down expectations into clear, concrete steps. This work pays off. When staff share a common interest in doing their best, they can trust each other despite generational differences.
- Exploit strengths. Grab the strengths from each generation and use them to move your company forward. For instance, encourage workers of different generations to collaborate on communication in order to incorporate some of the elegance of Boomer communication, thoughtful content of Gen Xer communication, and the speed of millennials. Millennial’s commitment to transparency often plays well with boomers, who value collaboration and teamwork.
In order to help your multigenerational workforce thrive, it is important to understand what makes each generation unique, and then adjust your management style accordingly. This same approach can also be helpful as you hire and onboard staff so they can be successful in their new role from day one.
At TERRA Staffing Group, we strive to connect our clients to the best talent available – every single time. To learn more about our strategic staffing services in Phoenix, Seattle and Portland, contact us today.