Bridging the Gap- Engaging Generational Differences

So what is all this generational talk all about? Slackers, Tech Savvy, lazy, “pay their dues!”, text / IM, fear of change, respectful, job-hoppers, Social Media, lack of loyalty …sound familiar? Today, in most companies, your workforce demographics may include workers from all generations: Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. We work with organizations and individuals who are working to increase their awareness and overcome the challenges they face with variety of generations in today’s workforce.

Who are these Traditionalists? Baby Boomers? Generation X? Millennials? To meet the demands of the competition in today’s job market, companies need to rise to the challenge of creating an atmosphere and business strategy that values differences, is open to new ideas, and ready to embrace customers’ and employees’ rising expectations. Additionally, organizations need to focus on how to enhance their training, development, and investment in today’s workforce, particularly in this competitive environment.

We focus on how to breakdown the stereotypes, myths, and realities of our workforce. Particular attention on how these generations deal with and adapt to change. Leaders and team members need to explore from within themselves how to appropriately educate and influence their thinking around generational differences. Subsequently, challenge their focus on their behaviors to rise to the challenge of creating a workforce that is inclusive, open to new ideas, and ready to embrace today’s expectations. Additionally, committing to improving teamwork, driving increased business results, and influencing your organization on how to begin to understand these differences.

Each generation has a unique personality and behavior style. The day of a “one-size-fits-all” training, leadership style, or retention strategies no longer fits with today’s workforce expectations. In order to remain competitive, companies are faced with updating their recruiting/hiring practices, compensation / benefits packages, and life/work balance opportunities. We are dedicated to helping businesses understand their generational differences and drive improved performance among individuals and teams. We partner with businesses to prepare them for the changes and transitions within today’s workforce.

The Benefit of Leveraging Generational Differences in the Workplace

“In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”—Eric Hoffer

Do these generation-laden terms sound familiar: slackers, tech savvy, not willing to pay their dues, text messengers, afraid of change, job-hoppers? They are examples of what one generation of workers says about other generations. Unlike workforces in the past, today’s workforce demographics typically include individuals from four distinct generations, each of which has been commonly labeled: Traditionalists (born between 1925 and 1945), Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), Generation X (born between 1965 and 1984), and Millennials (born between 1985 and 2004).

Preparing for Generational Diversity

In the recent turbulent job market, your organization may have all four generations working side-by-side within departments or on project teams. The more you understand what drives and influences each of these different groups, the better equipped you will be to create impactful employee programs for all areas in your organization, such as learning and performance, leadership development, and employee retention and benefits.

Training Considerations

Training is a worthwhile area in which to start incorporating new, generation-friendly strategies. Here are some key points to consider when designing multigenerational learning events.

Know your audience. Understand which generations will use the learning events, and distinguish between the myths and the realities of each generation. Consider the realities when choosing a training medium and subsequent instructional strategies. The best-case scenario is to use multiple methods whenever possible.

Leadership Styles

eadership style is another workplace characteristic that has shown pronounced differences from one generation to the next. Traditionalists lean towards an authoritative model and are apt to insist, “Do as I say and don’t ask why, because I’m the leader.” Baby Boomers tend to be less authoritative as leaders and will expect to be asked why by their followers. Working hard and paying your dues are the keys to success for Baby Boomers.

The Bottom Line

All employees want to feel valued and respected for their talent, skills, and unique experiences. By considering the influences and attributes of each generation, there can be better alignment of worker strengths with the organization’s goals.

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